Stung by reality

After months of incriminating the Bush administration, the Obama team may be about to imitate it instead.

The military commissions that the Bush administration sought to prosecute terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay -- a process that candidate Obama decried and criticized -- may not be such a bad idea after all, Obama administration officials now admit.

Turns out it's problematic, even for bleeding-heart liberals, to try most terror suspects in U.S. federal courts.

It was a silly notion to begin with. Foreign terrorists don't deserve the protections afforded American citizens. And the rules of evidence are totally different. Should we, for instance, require soldiers to give enemy combatants Miranda warnings? Should our troops be worried that American criminal defense attorneys will be scrutinizing their every move on the battlefield?

"During the presidential campaign," reports The New York Times, "Mr. Obama criticized the commissions, saying that 'by any measure our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure,' and declaring that as president he would 'reject the Military Commissions Act.'"

Well, the president seems to be making an about-face.

"The more they look at it," the Times quoted an Obama administration official, "the more commissions don't look as bad as they did on Jan. 20."

It's good to see Obama administration officials coming to their senses. But it's too bad they were either too naïve or too disingenuous to do so earlier.

But that's just about the military tribunals. Closing Gitmo is a whole other hornet's nest.

Largely as a public relations gesture to the world, President Obama has announced he will close the terror detainee holding facility.

Yet, what will he do with the dangerous brood that Mr. Bush could not?

Other countries have yet to step up to voluntarily accept the prisoners. What now?

Concerns are spreading across the country that the Obama administration has painted itself into a corner -- and will have to transfer terror detainees from Guantanamo to civilian prisons around the United States.

One Montana town offered up their empty jail -- but that state's congressional delegation quickly snuffed out the idea.

"Not on my watch," says Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat.

"We need the administration to step it up and cover our flanks more," another Democrat told the Los Angeles Times .

Indeed, Democrats seem unwilling to provide the Obama administration the $80 million it wanted for closing Gitmo.

Mr. Obama bitterly denounced the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay -- which were structured by an act of Congress, by the way -- and condemned the very existence of the facility.

He's now having a tough time living without both.

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