- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2005

Newsweek. Amnesty International. Jimmy Carter. Dick Durbin. The Guantanamo Bay-bashing continues.

In a rant published Tuesday, the Minnesota Star Tribune actually castigated Mr. Durbin for “caving in” on his slanderous remarks comparing U.S. treatment of detainees at Gitmo to torture and genocide by Nazis, Soviets and Pol Pot. The paper wrote Mr. Durbin shouldn’t have apologized and decried the entire operation as a “hellhole.”

But it’s not just unhinged liberals who keep piling on.

“Maverick” Sen. John McCain echoed one of the left’s most oft-cited and erroneous Gitmo complaints on NBC’s “Meet The Press” this weekend — that detainees have been denied trials:

“The weight of evidence has got to be that we’ve got to adjudicate these people’s cases, and … if it means releasing some of them, you’ll have to release them. Look, even Adolf Eichmann got a trial.” (Can we put a lid on the Nazi analogies already? A Knight-Ridder reporter was too smitten to be bothered by the Eichmann-invoking hyperbole: “McCain is emerging as a voice of conscience and nuance on the stay-or-go Guantanamo issue.” Nuance?)

Sen. Lindsay Graham, South Carolina Republican and another newly christened “maverick,” appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last week, lodging similar allegations about the lack of trials for Gitmo detainees:

“We need a procedure and process that will allow us to determine who an enemy combatant is, interrogate them to make us safer in a humane way, and set up trials for the worst offenders and repatriate those who — who don’t meet the category of a threat. That, to me, would look good to the world. It would make us safer.”

My friend, Judge Andrew Napolitano, made a similar assertion on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor” last week: “The government is not giving them those trials.”

And now, the facts:

Every single detainee currently held at Guantanamo Bay has received a hearing before a military tribunal. Every one. As a result of those hearings, more than three dozen Gitmo detainees have been released. The hearings, called “Combatant Status Review Tribunals,” are held before a board of officers, and permit the detainees to contest the facts on which their classification as “enemy combatants” is based.

Gitmo-bashers attack the Bush administration’s failure to abide by the Geneva Conventions. But as legal analysts Lee Casey and Darin Bartram told me, “The status hearings are, in fact, fully comparable to the ‘Article V’ hearings required by the Geneva Conventions, in situations where those treaties apply, and are also fully consistent with the Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld case.”

Treating foreign terrorists like American shoplifters — with full access to civilian lawyers, classified intelligence, and all the attendant rights of a normal jury trial — is a surefire recipe for another September 11. That is why the Bush administration fought so hard to erect an alternative tribunal system — long established in wartime — in the first place.

The few critics who acknowledge existence of the tribunals argue they aren’t sufficient. They “provided due process in form, but not in substance,” as Newsday put it. That view is shared by a Carter-appointed liberal judge, but an earlier decision by a Bush-appointed judge upheld the tribunals. In the end, courts will almost certainly affirm the legality of the Gitmo tribunals, which, as noted, were modeled after the due process standards described in the Hamdi decision.

That ruling, may I remind you, addressed detention of a U.S. citizen as an enemy combatant. As former Attorney General William Barr noted last week in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Obviously, if these procedures are sufficient for American citizens, they are more than enough for foreign detainees.”

Do John McCain and the anti-Gitmo gang actually believe otherwise, or are they too clueless to realize the implications of their gulag-Pol-Pot-Nazi-Eichmann-hellhole harangues?

Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist.


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