Graham still pressing for military tribunals

South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham says that if President Obama agrees to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad and his four co-conspirators in military tribunals, he will urge Republicans to vote to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday morning, Graham admits he will need a lot of help to get his fellow Republicans to go along with his proposal.  “I’m going to need General Petraeus, Admiral Mullin, people not in public office. I’m going to need people from the Bush Administration who tried to close Gitmo to put aside partisanship, rally around this president, stand by his side, and say let’s close Gitmo safely. With that kind of help we can assure Americans that we’re making a good, logical decision.”
Graham is suggesting that at least five military tribunals be used to try Mohammad and the four 9/11 co-conspirators. Beyond Mohammed’s case, Graham says ultimately a new legal framework is needed to deal with the most dangerous detainees at Guantanamo. “The President is getting unholy grief from the left. I think we are at war and I don’t think Khalid Sheik Mohammad robbed a liquor store, he is the mastermind of 9/11. We’ve used military commissions before. I’m a military lawyer and I have a lot of faith in the military legal system. I’m willing to give robust do process, there is a place for civilian court, but I will stand by my president to make rational detainee policy. We have 50 people at Gitmo that are too dangerous to be let go, that will never go through a normal criminal trial. Let’s create a new legal system so they will have their day in court.”
Graham says scrapping Attorney General Eric Holder’s plan to try the alleged 9/11 terrorists in civilian court would be seen as an act of leadership by the public.
Graham says it used to be when the nation was at war especially, politicians from both sides of the aisle would find reasons to work out compromises on issues, but today political polarization, conservative vs. liberal, Democrat vs. Republican, is running rampant. Graham says as he seeks middle ground on certain issues like the closing Gitmo, he is getting heat from the G.O.P. and some constituents.
“I’m getting a lot grief because I do believe it’s best to close Gitmo safely,” said Graham. “What I told the President is now you are my Commander-in-Chief, detainee policy in this war is hard, it’s complicated, but we must get it right. We would be better off as a nation if we could close Gitmo safely, start a new prison that he could use that the world could see as a better way of doing business.”