Hamdan Taken Out of Bush's Hands

| Thu Aug. 7, 2008 4:57 PM EDT

Salim Hamdan, convicted earlier this week of providing material support for terrorism (a.k.a. being Osama bin Laden's driver), has been sentenced to five and a half years. Because he'll get credit for time served, he could be released in as few as six months. The government asked for 30 years of prison time.

The Bush Administration, which plays by a set of rules that exist only in its collective brain, made it clear before the verdict that it was prepared to continue detaining Hamdan even if he was found not guilty. Presumably, a Bush White House would keep Hamdan locked up well past the six month mark. But half a year of jail means that Hamdan is essentially John McCain or Barack Obama's responsibility — statements from both explaining how they would handle Hamdan's detention would be very interesting.