Obama's 250 Tough Calls

Newsweek
November 15, 2008

What should Barack Obama do with the 250 men who are still locked up in the Guantánamo Bay prison camp? Of the many problems the new president will face, this is one of the most difficult, and one he must get right. Along with it, he must answer equally tough questions about how his administration will deal with suspected terrorists in the future: Where will they be held and what legal rights will they have? Which interrogation methods will President Obama allow-and which will he forbid?He ma

What should Barack Obama do with the 250 men who are still locked up in the Guantánamo Bay prison camp? Of the many problems the new president will face, this is one of the most difficult, and one he must get right. Along with it, he must answer equally tough questions about how his administration will deal with suspected terrorists in the future: Where will they be held and what legal rights will they have? Which interrogation methods will President Obama allow-and which will he forbid?

He made some of the answers to these questions clear in his campaign promises, and he would be wise to announce his intentions on or before Inauguration Day. Obama should and probably will renounce all brutal interrogation methods, not just those that the Bush administration defines as torture. He should and probably will discontinue or overhaul the widely derided and largely failed system of "military commissions" that President Bush created in 2001 to try suspected terrorists for war crimes. And he should and probably will announce a detailed plan to close Guantánamo, possibly within a year.

In my view, that plan should include promptly appointing a bipartisan,...

Continue