Advancing a Free Society

In Defense of Hand-Wringing

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When I wrote my post this morning on the debate over the Shahzad sentence, I hadn’t yet read the New York Times’s editorial insisting that “Supporters of the tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who insist military justice, not the federal courts, is the best way to deal with terrorists, should pay close attention to Tuesday’s events in a United States District Court in Manhattan.” I could poke a lot of holes in this editorial, starting the one Bobby poked: the bald statement that detention without trial at the base is “certainly illegal”–a claim made as fact and endorsed by not a single U.S. court. More broadly, I might point out that it is a grave error to compare the handling of a single captive arrested domestically and against whom one has overpowering evidence to the handling of hundreds of detainees captured abroad against whom the evidence varies enormously. The editorial is a target-rich environment.

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