Arrest the American Islamic State Fighter



Supermax is the appropriate punishment.

Photographer: Bob Daemmrich/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has to decide what to do with an American who was fighting for Islamic State, captured by Kurdish forces in Syria and handed over this week to the U.S. military. The best solution is also the simplest: Charge him with material support for terrorism, convict him and lock him up in an appropriate U.S. prison for many, many years.

In any sane, nonpartisan world, this decision would be a no-brainer. The other options are all flawed — practically, or legally, or both.

An Islamic State combatant could likely be detained as a prisoner of war, assuming we are at war with Islamic State. That’s probably the case, although it’s worth noting that Congress has authorized war against those who planned the Sept. 11 attacks and against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, but not specifically Islamic State.

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