“The Bush team got its wish,” said the San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial. With the conviction of Salim Hamdan, who was once Osama bin Laden’s driver, the administration has its first conviction “in a military court of a terrorist grabbed on the Afghan battlefield five years ago.” But the “near wrist-slap sentence of six additional months in the Guantanamo brig” made for a “muddled ending” that won’t end the controversy over the Pentagon’s process for handling terror suspects.
Hamdan’s trial was “neither a model of justice nor a kangaroo court,” said USA Today in an editorial. But the independence of the judge and jurors, along with the reasonable sentence Hamdan received, proved that civil libertarians were wrong to say that the military commissions would “rubber stamp” anything the prosecutors wanted. That alone was a “triumph.”
A “show trial” cannot, by definition, be a triumph for anybody, said the Toledo Blade in an editorial. Regardless of the outcome, Hamdan’s prosecution stained “America’s reputation for justice.” He only received five and a half years in prison, but the Bush administration has the power to keep him locked up as an enemy combatant indefinitely. That’s hardly “playing by the rules.”
The only mistake the Bush administration made was giving Hamdan a trial in the first place, said Andrew C. McCarthy in National Review Online. There is no reason to automatically give a trial to every enemy combatant captured in war. By bending over backwards to be fair, the Bush administration will have to explain itself if it decides to continue holding a man who transported weapons for al Qaida when his absurdly light sentence runs out.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- The secret to Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing grilled cheese sandwiches
- Why Halbig and the conservative war on ObamaCare will fail
Subscribe to the Week