Yesterday a group of retired military officers demanded the close of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and called for the remaining detainees to be transferred to the U.S. where they would be taken into the criminal justice system. The officers believe that the continuance of the prison at Gitmo gives terrorist organizations a valuable propaganda tool with which to attack the U.S.'s credibility and recruit more members. They believe that all of the detainees should be tried and they adamantly oppose any system which would allow indefinite detention without charges being brought.
Amen to that. Well... kinda. It's pretty clear to those who read this blog that I am opposed to continuing a detention system at Gitmo and I believe that the U.S. needs to exhaust all efforts to bring those detainees to trial. Unfortunately, I also believe that a good number of the remaining detainees cannot be brought to trial with any real chance of actually obtaining a conviction. I also believe it to be a possibility that more than a handful of those who can't be brought to trial are extremely dangerous. I don't want to see those detainees released. That being said I'm also unsure how we can legitimately continue to hold them.
Here is how I see this playing out once they are introduced into the U.S. criminal justice system, as the officers urge. We will have to move expeditiously to charge them with a crime and bring them to trial because it would be their constitutional right. If we lack the evidence to do so we will have to release them. Not only would they be released, but i assume that they would be released here in the U.S. Now the government could try to construct some sort of system where we can administratively detain them without bringing charges against them (Israel has a system like this). However, any such system would be incredibly controversial and may draw the same ire that Gitmo does. In addition, I think that if the government tried to apply an administrative detention system to those detainees it could run up against an ex post facto problem.
This post is really just speculation. I haven't done extensive research regarding the ramifications of any of these potential decisions, but I think that they are legitimate concerns.