This is kind of an open post. Gary Gunnels shared this with me on facebook, something I had read about the day before as well. This story has been reported two ways:
"Obama is starting Guantanamo trials again", and
"Obama is reviving indefinite detention".
Two very different spins indeed, and I'm not sure what I make of it. So long as we are engaged in a protracted, major war against al Qaeda and other allied terrorist organizations I see nothing wrong with indefinite detention of terrorists. In World War II we didn't say "well gee, we've been holding you Nazis for a while now - it's 1943 for goodness sake - why don't you go back home". There's nothing about the concept of indefinite detention that bothers me, so long as treatment is humane. The other concern with terrorists, of course, is that unlike Nazis they're not in uniform. So obviously you want reviews and trials to determine whether holding them is just. So when I read the news of restarting the trials yesterday I read it as good news, and if everything was above board with the trials the indefinite detention issue seemed unremarkable to me.
Gary didn't receive it as well.
So I have to claim ignorance to a certain extent (and I'm guessing most of you have to as well, if you're honest with yourselves). What are these trials like? If they were just restarted and reformed how does Amnesty International (whom Gary links to) even know that they're as bad as the Bush administration's trials? My position is it's for people more qualified than me to determine whether these trials are sufficient, but if they are and if they are conducted for all detainees in a timely manner, the detention doesn't bother me. Nevertheless, I'm not uncritically embracing it - I'm contingently embracing it, fully cognizant that that's a lot of "ifs". What are people's thoughts?
Chesterton spinning in his grave
9 hours ago