IN OTHER WORDS : Away with it

Ever since President Bush rammed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 through Congress to lend a pretence of legality to his detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, we have urged Congress to amend the law to restore basic human rights and judicial process. Rulings by military judges this week suggest that the special detention system is so fundamentally corrupt that the only solution is to tear it down and start again.

The Congress should shut down Guantánamo Bay, as called for in bills sponsored by two California Democrats, Representative Jane Harman in the House and Senator Dianne Feinstein in the Senate. Both lawmakers are intimately familiar with the camp and have concluded it is beyond salvaging. Their bill would close Gitmo in a year and the detainees would be screened by real courts. Those who are truly illegal combatants would be sent to military or civilian jails in the US, to be tried under time-tested American rules of justice. The Guantánamo camp was created on a myth — that the American judicial system could not handle prisoners of “the war against terror.” It was built on a lie that the hundreds of Gitmo detainees are all dangerous terrorists. And it was organised around a fiction — that Bush had the power to create this rogue system in the first place. It is time to get rid of it. — The New York Times