The Senate has reversed position on bringing Guantanamo detainees into the U.S., shooting down an amendment that would have blocked funds from being used for that purpose. The Washington Post points out, however, that this is more symbolic than practical. Marc Ambinder points out that the real story is that 75 detainees will neither be charged nor transferred nor released. Jonathan Hafetz, perhaps the best-known lawyer for Guantanamo detainees, says that detention policy remains “essentially lawless.” Steve Aftergood, meanwhile, has posted up records from two House Judiciary Subcommittee hearings on military commissions.
Worried that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other accused terrorists might be acquitted by a civilian jury? Rest assured, Attorney General Eric Holder has “thought about that possibility” and reminds you that, if they are acquitted, they will be put back into military detention. Adam Serwer provides more details; Eric Posner says that this amounts to a “two-tier” system of justice. John Yoo launches another critique, claiming that the trial will provide an “intelligence bonanza” to al-Qaeda. Jack Goldsmith and Jim Comey argue that trial is the right decision, given the problems that commissions and tribunals have faced over the last eight years. David Feige worries that precedents created by the case will impair future detainees from arguing their rights. And Pat Buchanan asks whether this means we are no longer at war.
Many of you know that one of the arguments against military contractors is that their higher pay drains the U.S. military of qualified personnel. USA Today now reports that a similar problem occurs at the top, where generals are often hired back and paid two to three times as much as they were earning while on duty to be “mentors.” Many of the generals have concurrent jobs with defense contractors.
Time put together a story detailing how White House Counsel Gregory Craig found himself shoved out of the White House. Also included is the story of how the Obama administration walked back some of their tough talk on transparency and openness in government.