IN OTHER WORDS : Right step

Two months before a Congressional election in which voters are expressing serious doubts about the Republicans’ handling of national security, President Bush finally has some real terrorists in Guantánamo Bay.

Bush admitted on Wednesday that the CIA has been secretly holding prisoners and said he was transferring 14 to Guantánamo Bay, including some believed to have been behind the 9/11 attacks. He said he was informing the Red Cross about the prisoners, placing them under the Geneva Conventions, and asking that Congress — right now — create military tribunals to try them. Those are just the right steps. If Guantánamo Bay has any purpose, it is for men like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, considered key players in 9/11. But Bush’s urgency was phoney, driven by the Supreme Court’s ruling, not principle. This should all have happened long ago. If the White House had not wanted to place terror suspects beyond the reach of the law, all 14 of these men could have been tried by now, and America’s reputation would have been spa-red some grievous damage. The nation needs laws governing Guantánamo Bay, not just for the 14 new prisoners, but also for many others who have been there for years without due pro-cess, and who may have do-ne no wrong. — The New York Times