The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that it will prosecute the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States, and four accused conspirators, in a New York City courtroom. That decision has triggered a firestorm in the United States, with critics complaining that the move is a mistake that will undermine the war against terror.

The critics are wrong: A public trial is a key step in the U.S. effort to regain the moral high ground in this fight.

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