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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Obama's GITMO Policy Gets More Complicated

On Friday evening, we received this from the administration.

Obama administration officials, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, are crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that an order, which would bypass Congress, could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.

Now, try and put all of this into perspective. President Obama signed an executive order in his second day on the job committing to closing GITMO within a year. He did this because GITMO was, in his view, a total rejection of our values and morals. Yet, now, he's on the verge of, by executive fiat, holding some folks indefinitely, without charge or trial. Now, how does that square with his view that GITMO was an aberration to everything we believe.

Let's set some more context. Some folks that were in GITMO are now enjoying the beaches of Bermuda. Soon, they will open up a restaurant. Other folks in GITMO will stay incarcerated indefinitely with no charge or trial.

Whatever you think of Bush's policy, he, more often than not, made decisions based on the safety and protection of the citizenry. With Obama, there's really no underlying thread to his GITMO policy. If this is all about due process and giving our enemies constitutional rights, how does that square with keeping some indefinitely with no charges? If this is about protecting the citizenry, why are some terrorists free in Bermuda?


Anonymous said...

I thought they were sent to Bermuda because they were never found to be terrorists to begin with, they just couldn't release them for so long because nobody would piss off China by accepting them.

mike volpe said...

No, they were proven not to be a threat to the U.S. They were trained at a terrorist camp in Afghanistan run by Al Qaeda. People don't just happen to wind up in GITMO.