The Magazine

To Have and To Hold

A long overdue rethinking of detention policies in Afghanistan.

Aug 3, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 43 • By MAX BOOT
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But assuming that the Supreme Court doesn't simply take charge of the entire detention operation, the other problems are hardly insuperable. The United States can dual-hat American troops to give them the authority under Operation Enduring Freedom to hold detainees indefinitely, as occurred in Iraq. We can also work with the Afghans to boost their own capacity to adjudicate cases and to hold terrorism suspects.

The bad news is that during the seven-plus years we've been fighting in Afghanistan these steps still have not been taken. The good news is that the new leadership team--General Stanley McChrystal in Kabul, General David Petraeus at Central Command, and Admiral James Stavridis at NATO--understands the place of detention operations within a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy and is starting to address the problems. Better late than never.

Max Boot is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.