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Via Patrick: the Pentagon has asked the White House to figure out a way to keep detainees in custody indefinitely without a trial. Note the chain of requests carefully — if the article’s accurate, the Pentagon instigated this. I see three possibilities, only one of which has any silver lining.

It could be exactly what it looks like: the Pentagon chipping away at civil liberties. It could be the White House asking the Pentagon to ask them for ideas, so that the White House can claim it was the Pentagon’s idea and they’re horrified — plausible deniability. Or, and I’m not saying this is what’s going on but I think it’s possible, the Pentagon could be sick and tired of holding these guys without trial and they could have done this as a way of forcing the White House’s hand.

“Hey! Hey, Mr. President! What do you want us to do with these prisoners you’re holding illegally? HEY, OVER HERE!”

The bit where the Pentagon was going to ask Congress for $25 million to build a prison kind of tips me in that direction, since I have trouble believing that the career guys in the Pentagon would ever think that would go through. Then again, it might have been a Rumsfeld special.

The leak is effectively spotlighting the situation, whether or not that was the intention. Senator Lugar has called it a “bad idea,” and you can expect more of that this week.

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