There are 450 of these guys down there. Some, if not most, are probably terrorists who were fighting and trying to kill U.S. military personnel...
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.
President Bush commented to reporters, ÂTo the extent that there is latitude to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court, we will do so,Â he said. ÂThe American people need to know that the ruling, as I understand it, wonÂt cause killers to be put out on the street.Â
In his majority opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, ÂIndeed, Congress has denied the president the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessaryÂ.
Look, I'm all for detaining the guys who pose genuine threats to American personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are 450 of them, some probably are not actual terrorists, though all are at least sympathizers, and just got caught up in the terrorists sweeps. The question then is, for how long can we keep these guys at Club Gitmo without dispatching their cases one way or another? It's not a humanitarian question for me, I couldn't care less about these radical Islamic vermin, for me it's a question of constitutionality and economics.
As I understand it, constitutionally, the President cannot order foreign militants captured on the battle-field to stand trial before a military tribunal without prior consent from Congress. Bush didn't have consent and so the trials cannot go forward unless he gets that permission. That fact brings us to the question of should he try to get consent like Lindsay Graham suggests he should, or should he keep them penned up at Gitmo indefinitely or should he send these guys back to Iraq or Afghanistan or whatever God-forsaken litter-box they came from?
The first option, getting consent from Congress, seems like a long-shot to me. With all the negative political pressure from liberals at home and allies abroad, how popular and therefore willing would Congress be to grant permission for military tribunals, if that means 450 separate circus trials covered by the liberal, Bush-hating press, who would be sympathetic to the jihadists. We would be treated nightly to tender, warm-hearted, personal profiles of each jihadist, as he took his turn before the tribunal defended by the ACLU of course, and his family weeping inconsolably in their cave in the Afghan hills. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to endure that for all the money in the Jersey Girls' bank accounts.
The second option, keeping them penned up at Gitmo indefinitely, seems to be too big of a political problem. I oppose this particular option for two reasons: first, as a taxpayer, I don't want to continue to fund their excellent standard of living in tropical paradise any more than I want to continue funding our military operations in Iraq for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Second, those guys have been there for over 4 years...either dispatch their cases, send them home, give them weekend furloughs in Dukakis' neighborhood, kill them...but do something. We can't torture them for information (a pity) so what purpose do they serve being supported by taxpayers very comfortably at Club Gitmo?
The third option, sending them home, is probably what will end up happening at some point. The problem with that is which ones will simply return to the battle-field to suicide-bomb Americans and Iraqi soldiers, and which ones were never really jihadists to begin with? Nobody knows, which brings us back to option #1.
There is no good answer for what to do with 450 suspected terrorists. I agree with many conservative bloggers that the President is somewhat limited, constitutionally, as to the keeping of military combatants in jail without a timetable for trying them. Bush can't just have the taxpayers fund their detention indefinitely. He needs to either fish or cut bait on this one.
Here's a possibility; start dropping hints to the press that finally, we have worn the detainees down and they are talking, that they are giving us information on Al-Qaeda, Bin-Laden, whatever, and when they finish cooperating, they'll be sent home. Then start shipping them back home a few at a time and making a very public showing of them getting off the C-130, happy and well-fed, carrying their souvenir Club Gitmo prayer rug, a Gideon's stamped copy of the Qaran, and a wad of money to help get them back on their feet. With any luck, they'll be shot by their own people for being traitors and caving in to the infidels. Repeat weekly until Gitmo is empty.