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Pleading guilty at Guantanamo

The effect of 9/11 plotters' confessions on the future of a controversial detention center

Maybe now we can have some "rational debate on Guantanamo," said William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 plotters are saying they want to plead guilty. That, along with recent admissions in the media that closing the U.S. detention center would be a delicate matter, underscores the reality that "the problem is the people, not the place."

If the "chaos" that erupted over the possibility the guilty pleas proved anything, said Jameel Jaffer and Ben Wizner in Salon, it was to "remind the world that the prison should be closed." There are still "some legal experts, and not just those on the right," who think President-elect Obama should follow President Bush's lead and hold suspected terrorists indefinitely without charge or trial, but surely civilian courts can do a better job than "the circus known as 'Guantanamo justice.'"

Judge Steven Henley, an Army colonel, plans to hold hearings, said Daphne Eviatar in The Washington Independent, but it's not clear how far he'll get. "When Barack Obama assumes control of the Justice and Defense departments in January, he is expected to disband the military commissions. What he will replace them with, however, remains a subject of much speculation and debate."

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