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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Goldsmith & Wittes renew call for no trials

Following the Ghailani verdict, Professor Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes renew their call for military detention without trial in a November 19, 2010, column in the Washington Post entitled "Ghailani verdict makes stronger case for military detentions."  Goldsmith previously presented this argument in the New York Times on October 8, 2010 in a column entitled "Don't Try Terrorists, Lock them Up."

There are a myriad of columns and articles coming out in response to the Ghailani verdict, but Goldsmith and Wittes are two particularly loud, clear and influential voices.  I recommend reading the full column, linked here, whether you agree with them or not.  It concludes:

Military detention was designed precisely to prevent such fighters from returning to the battlefield. It is a tradition-sanctioned, congressionally authorized, court-blessed, resource-saving, security-preserving, easier-than-trial option for long-term terrorist incapacitation.

This is not, we want to emphasize, an argument that either civilian trials or military commissions are illegitimate venues for terrorist trials or that they should never be used. Rather, it is a pragmatic argument in favor of a lawful alternative whose use, given the difficult events of the past nine years, now makes more sense than trial in any forum for a dwindling group of Guantanamo detainees whose prosecutions are more trouble and risk than they're worth.

Benjamin Wittes is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Jack Goldsmith teaches at Harvard Law School and served as an assistant attorney general in the Bush administration. Both are members of the Hoover Institution's Task Force on National Security and Law.

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