Digby addresses the strange situation we find ourselves in, where a special class of criminals who are simply "too dangerous" to be tried in our court system demand that we create an entirely separate legal system:

This is looking more and more like "don’t ask don’t try" — except this is actually much worse than the don’t ask don’t tell policy. These people are being imprisoned indefinitely, which is the ultimate Kafkaesque nightmare.

I just don’t get this. Is it really their feeling that these particular people are so much more dangerous than the many thousands of muslim extremists who are out there plotting as we speak? Are they so dangerous that it’s worth it to give those same crazies a rallying cry, further compromise what little moral authority the US has left and tie our foreign policy up in knots?

Unless we’ve been teaching these people to make nuclear weapons down in Gitmo, the idea that they are too dangerous to take a chance on a trial is absurd. In fact, it’s so absurd that one can’t help but suspect that they don’t want to try these people because to do so would expose some of the horrors that have been perpetrated by the US government — which leads us right back to where we started.

When the circus erupted around a former Gitmo detainee who purportedly went on to become an "Al Qaeda chief" after his release, you could smell the fear.  Not from the danger of a terrorist strike, mind you, but from political fallout.  Once ersatz Jack Bauer after another warned that if Guantanamo Bay were closed, and anyone who was released went on to take part in terrorist activity, the decision to let them go would be hung around the necks of those responsible.

And so we have a class of prisoners, some of whom may have done nothing at all and don’t deserve to be held under any law that an American court would recognize.  But the chance that one of them might be righteously pissed off about having been held captive and tortured for years despite their innocence, and go on to do the things that you might well imagine someone would do as a result of those circumstances, presents too much political risk for our legal system to responsibly handle.

I don’t recall anyone mentioning this fragility of our legal system in junior high civics.

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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