Finally, Light At The End of the Island
I'm sure there are persistent critics of President Bush's policies who will declare today's stunning news about high-level terror detainees to be just "politics as usual." Those critics are wrong. Whatever motivated the White House to bring in from the cold 14 high-level terror detainees, including the infamous Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, and prepare them for trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is largely irrelevant. What is important is that the men now are measurably closer to facing justice under American law. This is an absolutely good thing. Good for us as a nation and more importantly good for the tens of thousands of 9/11 victims and survivors who already have waited nearly five years to get their "day in court" against someone who actually had something to do with the worst crime in American history.
The White House's trifecta-- bringing the terror big-shots in from those secret CIA prisons, transferring them to Gitmo, and compromising on the rules that would be used at their military tribunals-- immediately changes the legal and political dynamic in this area of the war on terrorism. It puts Congress on the defensive and under the gun to promptly accept the Administration's tribunal procedures-- despite their still-obvious shortcomings-- or risk being tarred as the only branch of government that is standing in the way of seeing men like Binalshibh and Mohammed prosecuted. And if the Congress does strike a deal with the White House over tribunal procedures, the fact that the men already are at Gitmo and ready to be prosecuted, makes it more likely that the Supreme Court, finally, will accede to the wishes of the other two branches. Maybe trifecta is the wrong word. Maybe "triple bank shot" is more like it.
Although military officials Wednesday afternoon were talking about trials starting as early as January 2007, the fact is that the men won't be prosecuted soon. Even if Congress makes the deal the terms will be reviewed by the federal courts and that will take some time. And there is still strong opposition in the Senate to the Administration's reluctance to allow the defendants broader access to classified material that might help in their own defense. But by any calculation we are closer today to seeing some sort of resolution to the Gitmo mess than we were yesterday. The detainees deserved to be tried fairly-- and the White House clearly is moving in the right direction. The victims of 9/11 deserve to have those trials take place quickly-- and that's now at least a possibility. And the rest of us deserve to know that our political leaders have the brains and the courage to recognize their errors and move to fix them. You can check that off the list, too, on this day of great movement and promise for an issue that has seen far too little of either lately.
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Posted by: JimPreston | September 6, 2006 06:36 PM
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Posted by: Light @ The End of The Lie, Man | September 6, 2006 11:00 PM
Posted by: Constitutionalist | September 7, 2006 05:43 AM
Posted by: Dave, Freeport, IL | September 7, 2006 07:43 AM
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