Obama should use Osama Bin Laden’s death to declare victory and end the legal war on terror

Dahlia Lithwick in Slate:

110502_JURIS_osamaTN The Bush administration's extra-legal exploits in the months and years after 9/11 have already been credited, in some quarters, for the killing of Bin Laden. That was to be expected. In a statement released earlier today, for instance, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said: “I congratulate President Obama and his team for this significant accomplishment. I also congratulate President Bush who carried the War on Terror to our enemies and adopted the legal framework for that effort that continues today.” That's code for the claim that it was years of Bush-sanctioned warrantless eavesdropping, coercive interrogation, and indefinite detention that led to this victory. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, went one better, tweeting, “Wonder what President Obama thinks of water boarding now?”

There are reports that it was ultimately Guantanamo detainees who disclosed the identity of the trusted courier who, along with his brother, might have been protecting Bin Laden. Thus, the argument goes, Guantanamo is in fact an intelligence godsend that should be kept open indefinitely. And already some of America's most zealous torture apologists are taking the position that without the torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libi, all of this valuable information could never have been obtained and that we should be thankful that the “enhanced interrogation program” was in place all along.

More here.