In any normal case, in any ordinary court, judges hold preliminary hearings to narrow the issues and move the case closer to trial. But there is nothing ordinary about the prosecution of the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. And the military commission at Guantanamo Bay, where the case is being heard, is no ordinary court. Instead of bringing the case closer to trial, each preliminary hearing in Guantanamo seems to move it further away.
Though questions have been raised about whether the Obama administration should have exchanged five Guantanamo detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, one thing is clear: The decision shouldn’t impede U.S. efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Twelve months ago today, Barack Obama gave a landmark national security speech. We were promised drone memos. And a case for legal targeted killing. And no more Guantanamo. A year later, none of these promises have been met.
TJ. Hargrave was killed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. More than a dozen years later, his brother Jamie was chosen in a U.S. government lottery to attend a week of pre-trial hearings at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for the five men accused of plotting the attacks. These may rank among the most important legal proceedings in American history, but news of them made hardly a ripple.