In his first weeks as defense secretary, Robert M. Gates repeatedly argued that the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had become so tainted abroad that legal proceedings at Guantánamo would be viewed as illegitimate, according to senior administration officials. He told President Bush and others that it should be shut down as quickly as possible. Mr. Gates’s appeal was an effort to turn Mr. Bush’s publicly stated desire to close Guantánamo into a specific plan for action, the officials said. In particular, Mr. Gates urged that trials of terrorism suspects be moved to the United States, both to make them more credible and because Guantánamo’s continued existence hampered the broader war effort, administration officials said.
Mr. Gates’s arguments were rejected after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and some other government lawyers expressed strong objections to moving detainees to the United States, a stance that was backed by the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, administration officials said.
As Mr. Gates was making his case, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice joined him in urging that the detention facility be shut down, administration officials said. But the high-level discussions about closing Guantánamo came to a halt after Mr. Bush rejected the approach, although officials at the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the State Department continue to analyze options for the detention of terrorism suspects.
The base at Guantánamo holds about 385 prisoners, among them 14 senior leaders of al Qaeda, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who were transferred to it last year from secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency. Under the Pentagon’s current plans, some prisoners, including Mr. Mohammed, will face war crimes charges under military trials that could begin later this year.
“The policy remains unchanged,” said Gordon D. Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
Even so, one senior administration official who favors the closing of the facility said the battle might be renewed.
“Let’s see what happens to Gonzales,” that official said, referring to speculation that Mr. Gonzales will be forced to step down, or at least is significantly weakened, because of the political uproar over the dismissal of United States attorneys. “I suspect this one isn’t over yet.”
Pressure mounts on another front, but the prezdent will just go for a bike ride while Dick handles it (meaning he's reloading his shotgun). These people are mostly impervious to this sort of thing.
But I don't think Dick has enough birdshot to stave this one off.
Abandoning habeas corpus and torturing "detainees" are war crimes, plainly and simply. And a couple of this administration's vilest criminals understand that. They will be pursued by rogue elements of democratic justice for as long as they live, long after this administration is removed from power.
But like every other roach in the cupboard, they'll run and hide as long as they can.
Or as long as we allow them to.