Almost immediately after taking office, the Obama administration set an arbitrary deadline for closing the secure terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That was the easy part. The hard part is deciding what to do with the hundreds of foreign terrorists detained at Guantanamo who, thus far, have been kept safely away from American communities.

For a substantial number of these detainees — maybe as many as half — the administration aspires to transfer them to the United States and has announced a bias for using civilian courts to try to bring them to justice. The administration and its defenders say that, because we have tried terrorists in civilian court before, we should do so again. And they say there is no problem with our doing so this time because, whatever happens in court, the administration would not release detainees into the United States. Both assertions miss the mark.

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