TERRORISM

Can Obama Handle Detainees?

Even though Ahmed Ghailani will spend the next 20 years, at the very least, behind bars, his acquittal on more than 280 other charges is raising serious doubts over President Obama’s strategy of trying Guantánamo detainees in civilian court. Ghailani was the first to face a civilian trial, but critics are arguing with renewed vigor that Guantánamo detainees should be a matter for military tribunals. "This is a tragic wake-up call to the Obama Administration to immediately abandon its ill-advised plan to try Guantánamo terrorists” in federal civilian courts, said Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who is set to become House Homeland Security Committee chairman. “We must treat them as wartime enemies and try them in military commissions at Guantánamo.” But those siding with Obama pointed out that many of the arguments against civilian trials—like security costs, raising the defendant’s profile, and disclosing classified information—were not factors this time around.