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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama's Bold and Dangerous GITMO Move

President Barack Obama made his first significant foreign policy decision today.

The new Obama administration circulated a draft executive order Wednesday that calls for closing the controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year and halting any war crimes trials in the meantime.

The order circulated as the judge in one war crimes case agreed to Obama's request to suspend proceedings pending a 120-day review.

Now, this does several things to the Obama administration. He has done the easy part. He has made his claim that GITMO will close and close soon. What he hasn't yet done is formulated a plan for how it will be closed as the article indicates.

While some of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo would be released, others would be transferred elsewhere and later put on trial under terms to be determined.

In other words, the Obama administration knows it wants to close GITMO, but doesn't know what to do as an alternative. Well, they will have to come up with something in the next year since that's the executive order.

Frankly, an alternative to GITMO is the minor problem in this order. Obama also ordered to halt of five GITMO trials of such individuals as Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, mastermind of 9/11. KSM and his co defendents were ready to plead guilty in a likely attempt to speed up martyrdom.

As such, any new trial will not be used to determine their innocence from their perspective. Any new trial will be used for propaganda and spectacle purposes. Most importantly, any new trial will have to be facilitated in 120 days and little more. Rather than simply allowing KSM and his co defendents to take their pleas and their punishments, the Obama administration allows them the publicity of an open trial in America to spew propaganda. This is exactly the spectacle created by Zacarias Moussaoui in the only federal criminal trial associated with 9/11. KSM could use the opportunity of a trial to spew propaganda about the treatment at GITMO. If so, he would put the Obama administration in the inenviable position of defending a policy that they themselves have attacked.

Also, there is the issue of how classified material will be presented. Will the Obama administration simply allow for classified material to be presented in open court? If not, how will they create safeguards while protecting classified material? Also, will fellow terrorists be forced to testify in open court against their compatriates? If so, how will we ever get any other terrorists to flip when they know that their families will be threatened when it is revealed they flipped?

Finally, while the Europeans and Human Rights groups applauded the ruling, one group against it were members of the families of the victims of 9/11. It's not necessarily wise to go against that group. Look for victims families to be all over cable news condemning this decision. The passion and sympathy they will receive will not help Obama at all. By doing this, he will force victims' families to go through years of more trials. The pain this will cause the victims' families will now be on full display all over cable news.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The closing of GITMO is like rubbing salt in the wounds of the poor 9/11 families that suffered great losses.

It was an arrogant and selfish move on Obama's part and hope it comes back to bite him.