It's time for the U.S. government to put an end to this fiasco. The legitimacy of such important terrorism cases as the September 11 attacks is not something to be disregarded, nor is the impact on the victims' families, who have yet to see justice done. All the military commission cases could be reliably tried in the seasoned and successful U.S. federal court system.
So far, a climate of national unity is prevailing in France, just as it did in America immediately after 9/11. But how long will national unity prevail? The scars of colonialism are fresher in France than anywhere else in Europe; the country has Europe's largest Muslim minority; and, with moderates seeming particularly weak and divided, the extreme right is cresting in opinion polls. These ingredients could constitute a recipe for disaster.
I really hope family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks weren't planning on attending the hearings scheduled at Guantanamo Bay this week. It would be completely demoralizing to someone who suffered personally from the heinous mass murders that took place 13 years ago to find that once again, all efforts to bring the five alleged perpetrators to justice had stalled, and once again, no one's allowed to know why.
Critics have expressed legitimate concerns about U.S. conspiracy law, saying it's too easy to convict some people accused of low-level terrorist assistance and sentence them to hard time in highly restrictive prisons. But the claim that the U.S. prison system gives terrorists rights that ought to be reserved for U.S. citizens is simply impossible to support.
I'll never forget the pain and sorrow in the faces of people who posted countless Missing Person signs on the subway station walls. I lost my college roommate earlier that year in a tragic accident, and I still hadn't recovered. "How will an entire city and country ever recover from this?" I wondered.