It's been a few days now since Benjamin Wittes and Jack Goldsmith wrote their op-ed in the Washington Post calling the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed "dispensable" and proffering that "the politically draining fight about civilian vs..... military trials is not worth the costs."
Their proposal: "Instead of expending great energy on a battle over the proper forum for an unnecessary trial of Mohammed and his associates, both sides would do well instead to define the contours of the detention system that will, for some time to come, continue to do the heavy lifting in incapacitating terrorists."
Benjamin Wittes is a senior fellow and research director in public law at the
Brookings Institution. Jack Goldsmith teaches at Harvard Law School and served as an assistant attorney general in the Bush administration. Both are members of the Hoover Institution's Task Force on National Security and Law.
After all the kerfuffle and back-and-forthing concerning where KSM would be tried and by whom, the Wittes-Goldsmith approach seemed sufficiently outside the box to at least warrant some further exploration.
So I contacted some of the brainiest civil rights lawyers I know to ask their opinions. Here's what some of them told me: