Saturday, November 15, 2008

Closing Gitmo

Our president-elect says he intends to close the detention center for jihadis at Guantanamo Bay. Well-intentioned actions like closing Gitmo often lead to unintended consequences.

What to do with the nogoodniks held there is an interesting question. If trying them in civilian courts is the answer, most are likely to be set free because the combat forces who apprehended them were not police collecting evidence to support convictions, preserving chains of custody, etc.

If the jihadis are let go, a very clear unintended message will be heard by our combat forces in Afghanistan: don't take prisoners. I don't suppose Obama's intent in closing Gitmo is to make the war on terror more bloody, but that is likely to be the outcome.

Perhaps we could declare the internees to be prisoners of war? Prisoners of war are not tried in courts, they are held until the war ends. This has been wisely called "the long war." If this war doesn't end in their lifetime, then they will die of old age in captivity.