McCain, Graham: Congress Must Help Craft Detainee Policy

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) give their take on how to handle suspected terrorist detainees in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Critical points: let civilian judges hear habeas motions in a designated national security court and take into account the notion that some detainees still pose a threat, meaning they don't need to be either tried or released.

Congress, they say, should play a role in crafting detainee policy. At present, the Department of Justice is reviewing detainee policy and is expected to come up with a set of proposals, as mandated by the president on the day he announced the pending closure of Guantanamo. And so far, there has been no major push in Congress to lay out a comprehensive detainee policy, one that gets into the weeds, policy-wise, of how the military and the executive should handle detainees. If there's a question as to whether it's Congress's place to assert that control over the executive, McCain and Graham have given their answer.

It's worth noting that If McCain and Graham's point is taken, some of the onus would be removed from President Obama. The previous administration crafted detainee policy unilaterally in the executive branch; while Obama is an electoral answer to Bush on this and other issues, he and Attorney General Eric Holder may not have to come up with the answers on their own.