U.S. editorial excerpts -5-.
Selected editorial excerpts from the U.S. press:
THE GITMO SUICIDES (The Wall Street Journal, New York)
The suicide of three prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has elicited another chorus of anti-U.S. rhetoric from the self-styled ''human rights'' crowd. Sigh.
The dead men were among the most irredeemable jihadists, which is why they were still there this long after the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Many other Gitmo detainees have long since been released, although getting other countries to accept their return hasn't been as easy as their champions would have you believe. Guantanamo guards have also gone to extraordinary lengths to keep many of these people alive, force-feeding hunger strikers and thwarting what the press has reported to be 41 suicide attempts already.
If there's any scandal here, it's that anti-U.S. activists have made it so difficult to handle al Qaeda prisoners in a more efficient manner. On the one hand they complain of the ''incredible despair'' (Human Rights Watch) of indefinite detention. On the other, they have done their best to prevent the U.S. from processing them through the military court system that President Bush authorized in late 2001. The Supreme Court is due to rule on one of these challenges -- Hamdan v. Rumsfeld -- later this month.
The activists shouldn't be allowed to have it both ways. Either the Gitmo detainees are legitimate prisoners of war, in which case they can't be prosecuted but can be held for the duration of the conflict as in all previous wars. Or they are unlawful combatants (because they fought out of uniform and targeted civilians), in which case there should be no issue at all about moving ahead and trying them in military tribunals.