Although the number of prisoners at Guantanamo has dwindled, the number of detainees could rise again under legislation passed by Congress last year.

The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act purports to be a reaffirmation of the Authorization of Military Force passed by Congress to target the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. In fact, its reach is broader, authorizing military detention of individuals who belong to or support not only al-Qaida but also “associated forces.” Such individuals can be put on trial or detained without trial until “the end of the hostilities.”

Could that include U.S. citizens?

To ensure that U.S. citizens aren’t subjected to indefinite detention, President Barack Obama should press Congress to pass the Due Process Guarantee Act, which would clarify that a declaration of war or authorization to use military force “shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”

As for foreign detainees, the administration needs to make more of an effort to arrange the repatriation or resettlement of individuals no longer considered a threat.

— Los Angeles Times, Sept. 25

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.