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Questions about Gitmo

So the New York Times is following Tom Friedman's lead in calling for the military prison at Guantanamo Bay to be shut down.

Fine. I'm just back from vacation and not in an argumentative mood. But putting aside questions of the veracity of certain allegations of abuse, as well as the wisdom of releasing military prisoners before the end of hostilities, I have some questions of a more practical nature.

I think it's pretty clear the majority of these detainees do not belong in the American criminal justice system. I think it's equally obvious that repatriating them to their country of origin will likely mean an instant death sentence for many of them.

Given that, what do the AI types at the Times recommend we do with them, exactly? Also, what would closing the current detention system actually accomplish? It would necessarily be replaced by another battlefield detention system which would be equally prone to the same kind of allegations and rumor-mongering, would it not? We know that Islamist jihadists are trained to allege systematic abuse and torture at the hands of their captors. If we cave in and shut down Gitmo based on the admittedly unproven allegations of the AI crowd, what reason is there to believe that the same pattern won't repeat itself with the inevitable acquisition of future battlefield detainees?

These are questions that need to be answered before we raze Camp X-Ray in a knee-jerk response to the administration's critics. I'll admit I'm inclined to take Tom Friedman's recommendation a bit more seriously than that of the editorial staff of the Times. The Times' editorial can be easily dismissed as merely the latest installment in its reflexive, ankle-biting carping and bitching over every single initiative the Bush Administration has undertaken from Day One. Friedman, on the other hand, has a proven track record of taking this war seriously. As a result, his proposal deserves to be taken seriously. Still, it seems to me that his proposal is based largely on emotion, and that he hasn't thought this one fully through.