The Washington Post, January 11, 2012
In a decade of policy experimentation at Guantanamo, some efforts have succeeded, some have failed tragically and some are still in process. But far more interesting than the past 10 years is what the next 10 will look like. And that subject seems oddly absent from the current conversation.
Make no mistake: There will be another 10 years of Guantanamo. (Even if Guantanamo itself miraculously closes, we’ll have to build it somewhere else.) Our forces already hold more detainees than they can safely release or put on trial before any tribunal to which this country would attach its name. And in any future conflict against non-state actors, our forces are likely to capture more of such people, and they will have to put them somewhere. If the United States is lucky, we may be able to reduce the number of detainees further than the combined efforts of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations have so far managed. But we will not eliminate it, and even if we could, we cannot guarantee that we will not replenish it all of a sudden in some future, spasmodic set of military operations abroad.
America needs principles for Guantanamo’s next decade — principles that might form the basis for a national policy that commands support from a wide swath of our political system. Here are three suggestions toward that end.
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