The Obama Straddle

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Marc reports on the military commission tribunals:

This point has been overlooked in the first round of coverage about President Obama's decision to use military commission tribunals for some of the Gitmo detainees: according to an administration official, most of the remaining 241 detainees will be afford Article III trials -- that is,  fully-fledged, regular trials, unless they're released without trial. Some of them might be shunted to a newly-created national security court, if the administration and Congress team up to create one. The remaining detainees -- presumably dangerous folks who the administration wants to detain but who haven't had the right type of evidence accumulated against them -- will be tried by the military. The AP says about 20 military commissions will be held.

He asks some important questions here. Greenwald is on the case. I'm much more sympathetic to Obama's compromise than Glenn. Once you remove torture, and allow for real legal defenses, and avoid hearsay, the worst of the Bush-Cheney system is eliminated. And it remains my belief that the conflict with al Qaeda is much more like war than criminal enforcement. Finding a way to provide some of the nimbleness and expedition of war-powers without the inhumane dimension of the Cheney era is not easy. But it strikes me that the president is making a thoughtful effort to get the balance right.

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