Imprisoned In Guantanamo

Dahlia Lithwick, who’s probably my favorite writer working today, has a great piece explaining why the Bush administration insists on trying Jose Padilla and keeping innocent people imprisoned in Guantanamo:

But Guantanamo stays open for the same reason Padilla stays on trial. Having claimed the right to label enemy combatants and detain them indefinitely without charges, the Bush administration is unable to retreat from that position without ceding ground. In some sense, the president is now as much a prisoner of Guantanamo as the detainees. And having gone nose-to-nose with the Congress over his authority to craft stripped-down courts for these "enemies," courts guaranteed to produce guilty verdicts, Bush cannot just call off the trials.

The endgame in the war on terror isn’t holding the line against terrorists. It’s holding the line on hard-fought claims to absolutely limitless presidential authority.

Think about this for a moment. The objective of the war on terror isn’t defeating the terrorists: it’s weakening democratic accountability and empowering the executive. No wonder we’re losing.

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

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