He is either an idiot, or an idealist who doesn’t care about our safety. Or both.
…”In ordinary criminal investigations, we leave suspects at liberty until enough evidence has been amassed to make out a prosecutable case. Terrorists, however, are plotting mass-murder, not fraud or some other mundane offense. We can’t afford to let them play out the string. We know some of them mean us grave harm — 9/11-type harm — because of intelligence that cannot be revealed in court lest precious sources be compromised. We know others pose equal peril thanks to interrogation statements that can’t be relied on at trial — not, as Lefty lore has it, because of “torture,” but simply because the statements were not elicited after Miranda warnings (making them inadmissible under the criminal-friendly warping of the Fifth Amendment favored by the type of jurists Obama promises to seed throughout the federal bench).”
“Whether Gitmo is closed or not, President-elect Obama is going to have to decide what to do with the detainees — to say nothing of future combatants who may be lethally dangerous but non-triable. His decision should be informed by comprehensive, accurate information. In his haste to make good on campaign posturing, Obama must not move detainees into the U.S. and consign all of them to the criminal justice system only to learn afterwards that a paltry percentage at best can be successfully tried. That would bring discredit to him and his Justice Department when they should be establishing credentials for competence and counterterrorism seriousness. It would embolden our enemies and endanger our country.
“Finally (at least for now — there is so much more to say about all this), President-Elect Obama must not merely repeat his trope about our commitment to the “rule of law.” He must come to terms with what that ideal really means. The phrase is not the equivalent of “trial by jury in federal court.” It means doing what is lawful — a critical distinction for the commander-in-chief responsible for our security.
“The rule of law includes, and has always included, detention without trial for wartime captives. Leaving its common sense aside (how do you win a war if you keep releasing the other side’s fighters?), such detention has long been proper under the laws of war. Furthermore, it was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi case — a ruling that approved the wartime detention without trial of an American citizen combatant.
“Holding combatants until the conclusion of hostilities, or at least until they can be repatriated in a way that renders them no longer a threat, is not just appropriate; it has been the default state of affairs in every war ever fought by the United States.
“There is much to debate, and much work to be done, over the process due to combatants who are held but not tried. Neither our military nor ordinary American citizens want us to be detaining innocent people. But let us not start from the premise that we are doing something wrong by capturing and holding our enemies. That’s backwards.”