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I realize there are many gray and unexplored areas with how this whole thing came about, and who these people really are, etc. But the decision to create an extra-judicial island prison was a disaster on every level. Had the Bush administration decided to go the legal route by putting these people on trial we'd be done by now.

Or for example, simply declaring them as POWs, then they could have safely warehoused them for essentially ever if needs be. That's perhaps not justice, but it would have been legal.

I don't disagree that it was a disaster to have done it. I merely disagree that we have options today, now that we have done it. We didn't declare them POW's (because we didn't want to give them the rights of POW's). We didn't treat them as criminal suspects (because we didn't want to give them the rights of criminal suspects). So now that we have created this nether category of "detainees," we can't just easily import them into the domestic criminal justice system. If you don't follow the criminal justice rules when you start off, you face a nontrivial chance that a judge will make rulings that result in acquittal (even of the guilty).

So for many (perhaps most) of these detainees, it's either indefinite detention or release. It is quite possible that for some (perhaps many or most) that neither of those is a just outcome. That's why it's such a problem, without it necessarily being a current state of cowardice or discomfort.

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