Linda Chavez

So what will the Obama administration do with KSM and the others at Guantanamo? If the military commission established to try these men will no longer do so, will they be turned over to criminal courts in the U.S.? If so, it is likely that many would be acquitted on the basis of "tainted evidence" and lack of due process alone. Then what? Do we put them on airplanes and ship them home? Or will human rights groups protest that countries like Saudi Arabia or Egypt might torture these men so we must not send them there? Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero has offered his support and help in closing Guantanamo to President Obama, but is he willing to take any of those prisoners deemed too dangerous to release and put them in Spanish jails?

In his inaugural address, President Obama promised "for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you." But actions speak louder than words. We'll see if he means it. As President Obama no doubt has figured out, closing Guantanamo while preserving national security will take more than a stroke of the pen. He risks alienating the leftwing base of his party if the barbed wire doesn't come down immediately. But the stakes are much higher if he lets terrorists loose on the world.

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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