Monday, February 18, 2008

So long, Gitmo, hello America

Remember the story about the six high-value Guantanamo detainees up for the death penalty? Anybody wonder where the candidates came down on that as well as the future of how we deal with captured terrorists? After all, one of them will be responsible for the place in less than a year.

Well, someone finally asked. Here's Hillary's plan:
Feinstein said that Clinton would ask her Justice Department to consider two possible alternatives to the military commissions: Indictments in federal courts, as some al Qaeda captives have been, or trial by regular courts martial in the military system.
In other words, essentially her husband's method with a military tribunal thrown in as a spicer. It's not clear whether classified information would be protected doing it her way, which is really the crux of the matter.

As to McCain, he's well known for wanting to "close Gitmo" but he's a lot more conservative on the process than Hillary, basically saying he'll stay with military tribunal commissions, just not in Cuba.

Barack weighed in:
Obama was less specific though he, too, questioned the military commissions. "As a candidate to be the next commander-in-chief ...I think it's important to be careful about commenting on specific cases pending before the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay ," Obama said in a statement.

"As I have said in the past, I believe that our civilian courts or our traditional system of military courts martial are best able to meet this challenge and demonstrate our commitment to the rule of law."
Notice he didn't say he'd outright close the facility, just move selected bad guys into the court system. At least that's what he appeared to be saying--sometimes it's hard to say. But no doubt he said it well.

Meanwhile back on the front, a reader pointed out a story I missed regarding the temporal convergence of the surge, lowering causualty rates in Iraq, and that fruitcake 2007 NIE that said Iran was now officially harmless:
The Iraqis who spoke about the talks said they believed the release of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate in December was a quid pro quo to Tehran for it having turned its back on the Mahdi Army.
Hmm, under that scenario wouldn't a drop in violence pretty much prove Iranian meddling in the affairs of Iraq and the killing of US troops? The story suggests that while the guns have gone cold, they haven't stopped networking, suggesting the Bush administration was perhaps more interested in a short-term solution to get through end of term. While not entirely convincing, there's no doubt some realpolitik is being practiced right now, something many people just can't seem to comprehend. Just think Cheney and Kissinger.

The wildcard might be how any of the above tied in with the Mughdiyeh hit in Syria. Maybe somebody figured now was the time to act with the Iranians/Hizballah temporarily frozen, if indeed they are. Of course, that's assuming the Big Spring refinery blast and the South Texas pipeline blast were accidents. Oh, right, of course!

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