Ever since enemy combatants in the "war on terrorism" were detained at Guantanamo prison, a debate has raged between those who believe Guantanamo prison and the legal limbo it represents is a necessary evil in this new age of spectacular terrorism and those who believe it is an erosion of our Constitution and the due process rights it affords.
Steadily, the civil libertarians have been winning the argument. According to the International Herald Tribune, the Bush Administration may push legislation that will legally shut down the Guantanamo prison. To do this, the 375 detainees at Guantanamo would be split into three categories:
The one that would call for legislative action would include detainees like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, and others whose trials would risk exposing intelligence operations. This group, estimated at two dozen to 50, would be placed indefinitely in military brigs on U.S. soil.
A second group would also be moved to the United States, to most likely face trial in military courts, but perhaps with more legal guarantees than in the current military tribunal system.
The third, and largest, group would consist of detainees to be released to their home countries.
Add this to the recent decision of the Supreme Court to review the legality of holding detainees in Guantanamo indefinitely without any judicial review, and it's clear that whatever enthusiasm there was for the Bush Administration's Guantanamo policy is waning.
However, the Bush Administration could face a firestorm from U.S. congressional districts where the detainees are transferred to according to MSNBC.com.
Nevertheless, the Bush Administration may not have much choice.