“Give Them Constitutional Rights or Release Them”
President Obama is fond of labeling things “a false choice.” But his Administration’s terrorist detention policy is the false choice that comes from terrorism being seen primarily as a law enforcement problem:
Bring terrorists to the United States for a civilian trial …
“U.S. to Prosecute a Somali Suspect in Civilian Court”
– New York Times, 7/5/11
The Administration announced last week it had brought into the U.S. a Somali terrorist – Ahmed Warsame – captured overseas. Rather than detaining him at Guantanamo Bay for trial in a military commission, the Administration charged Warsame in federal criminal court in New York, where he will receive the full range of constitutional rights enjoyed by American citizens.
This follows another recent case in which the Obama Administration decided to try in a civilian court two enemy combatants arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who fought against our troops in Iraq. One of them boasted he’d used IEDs against U.S. troops hundreds of times.
… Release them
Adm. McRaven: I think it depends on whether or not we think we can prosecute that [terrorist] in a U.S. court or we can return him to a third party country.
Sen. Graham: What if you can’t do either one of those?
Adm. McRaven: If we can’t do either of those, then we will release that individual.
– Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 6/28/11
Equally troubling, it remains unclear where al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and other high value detainees would be sent if they were captured. When asked by Senator Ayotte where Zawahiri would go, Admiral McRaven, a battlefield commander leading the war against forces commanded by Zawahiri, replied: “I’m really not in a position to answer” that question.
Our military leaders on the front line should not have to struggle under the Obama Administration’s false choice. The obvious choice is to use the prison at Guantanamo and the military commissions we created to handle these types of situations.