Former Homeland Security director/Pa Governor Tom Ridge argues -- in a USA Today op-ed today -- for a third way of trying terror suspects, instead of civil trials or military tribunals:
If you believe as I do that we will be dealing with threats and terrorists for generations, we should conclude the debate by creating an adjudicatory system designed specifically to address the issue of how to try terrorists. This court system would provide a compromise, not a concession, if we construct it properly. It would take into account the legal, political and cultural challenges of detaining and adjudicating terrorists.
If Congress is serious about resolving the conflict, it should examine the proposal offered in Glenn Sulmasy's book The National Security Court System: A Natural Evolution of Justice in an Age of Terror. It's an excellent starting point, if not the answer. It is a hybrid court system — a mixture of law enforcement and law of war paradigms. It is adjudicatory. It does not discard due process. It discards indefinite detentions, which is not the American way.
In creating a court system for accused terrorists, Congress and the administration must resist the temptation to create a new preventative detention scheme — essentially bringing the military commissions into the U.S. but with a different name. Military commissions never were, nor were they intended to be, used as a means of preventative detention. They were courts created to try, in rapid fashion, those who violate the laws of war during armed conflict.
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