Barack Obama can, and must, close "the infamous prison at Guantánamo Bay" as soon as he takes office, said Britain's The Independent in an editorial. The detention camp on America's naval base in Cuba, where about 250 terrorist suspects are still being held today, has "done much to besmirch the reputation of the U.S. around the world." Obama's plan to release some of the prisoners and bring the rest to the U.S. mainland won't be easy, but it's the only way to close this "sad chapter."
The Obama transition team is already mulling the options, said Kelli Arena in CNN online. Obama can try some Guantánamo inmates in existing federal courts, or set up a special national security court to handle cases involving sensitive intelligence information. President Bush's controversial military commissions will be eliminated either way.
Obama is naive if he thinks trying terrorists in civilian courts won't compromise national security, said The Washington Times in an editorial. Testimony in the court trial of the suspects in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing tipped off Osama bin Laden that the U.S. was "on his trail," and the prosecutors' list of 200 unindicted conspirators told al Qaida exactly which of its agents had been found out. Obama should at least be aware that closing Gitmo won't be a "cost-free exercise."