It’s pretty clear by now that the 9/11 terror trials are going to be a media circus. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the subject today is packed with reporters. But the trial of five 9/11 plotters is, to some extent, a distraction from the larger issue of how we should deal with detainees.
This morning, the Washington Post “appears to have broken a significant news story without really knowing it,” writes Marc Ambinder. The Obama administration will continue to detain as many as 75 terrorist suspects without charge. If they think the ACLU and other civil liberties rights groups will be happy with that, they’re dreaming. But the right is going to slam the administration, too: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alab.) is doing that now, saying that Obama’s moves show that “for the US fighting terrorism is not the priority it once was,” and that the administration thinks “we can return to a pre-9/11 mindset.”
The administration has chosen the worst of both worlds: it’s going to get hammered by the right for trying some terrorists and hammered by the left for not trying all of them. It’s not an enviable position, and it doesn’t seem to make much political sense.