Obama Confirms Intent to Use Military Commissions, Indefinite Detention

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Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 12:21 pm

While everyone’s railing about the incredibly nasty speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney this morning — who takes credit for preventing terrorist attacks against the United States by using “enhanced interrogation techniques,” even as he neglects to mention that he and President Bush could have but did nothing to stop the attacks on September 11 about which they had specific warnings — I thought it might be worth mentioning a couple of highlights of President Obama’s fair and reasoned speech, which stands in sharp contrast to Cheney’s.

Though cloaked in much more elegant language and inspiring pride in the loftiest aspirations of the U.S. Constitution, President Obama did indeed confirm that he intends to revive the military commissions — albeit with additional safeguards, he says — and that he believes there are some people who cannot be tried in any sort of court but are still too dangerous to be released. As much as those determinations will disturb civil liberties advocates, you could see in his speech that Obama is taking pains to find a legal justification for his actions, and — the good news — he acknowledged the need to submit all such actions to the oversight of Congress and the federal courts.

As I wrote yesterday, a recent federal court decision confirms his power to detain those at war with the United States, but defined who those people actually are more narrowly than the Obama administration has previously.

Comments

19 Comments

RM
Comment posted May 21, 2009 @ 10:25 am

Since Obama has been constantly ragging the Bush administration, it's great that Cheney has decided to let the American people know what's really going on. Cheney has been there for 8 years; Obama still has the training-wheels attached.


Hawaiian style
Comment posted May 21, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

WAR criminals are traditionally held to the end of hostilities, and then tried and inprisoned, or released and sent home.

War is defined as armed conflict between nations. Terrorism is a philosophy not a nation. Terrorists are international criminals engaged in crimes against humanity. Terrorists are not citizens of the nation of terrorism. You can't legally have a war on terror or terrorism. They should be treated as criminals by all law abiding nations. The parallel in history is pirates. In days of old every nation had an obligation and a right to capture pirates on the high seas and punish them. The same applies to terrorists.

Further if we were at war, the Geneva conventions apply. Whether we are at war or not the laws against torture and our Constitution apply. Permanent detention without trial is simply illegal. It is also un-American. In America those who would impose permanent detection without trial is the act of those who exercise un-Constitutional power. It is the act of people that are afraid of the consequences of their responsibilities and of history. It is the act of a dictator.

Either way, whether we are at war or not, our Nation is obligated to pursue terrorists and prosecute them.

In the US the number one law enforcement officer is the Attorney General. Mr. Holder has said he wants to get politics out of his department. Obama has said he wants politics out of the Justice Department.

So…Mr. Holder stand up and be a great Attorney General. The alternative is to play politics and don't investigate, charge and prosecute the torturers.

Mr. Holder, stand up and declare that the US court system is safe, competent, and able to try terrorists from Gitmo or elsewhere as it has demonstrated in the past.

Mr. Holder, stand up and show the world that regardless of what actions or non actions the President and Congress take we are a Nation of Laws under you as Attorney General. That all men are entitled to their day in court. A real court not a ginned up military “tribunal” with some rights.

Mr. Holder, stand up and tell the truth that if we need to create a “new” court to try a certain group of defendants that in reality we are just railroading them. We are going through the motions that will never fool the world, but will further blacken the reputation of the US as a nation of laws.

Mr. Holder, sir, it is within your power, yours alone, to show the world we are a nation of laws. That we are not afraid to admit and correct our national errors. That we have the best justice system the world has ever known. We are not afraid of terrorists, and we are not afraid to apply our system of justice to terrorists and we want the world to know it. Further the same applies here in the United States to those that commit crimes. Crimes like torture.

Mr. Holder by prosecuting torturers you will ensure that the United States will never again engage in torture. If you don't do this someday after the inevitable next 9/11, some one will say, “This is outrageous. This act of terror will not go unpunished. We will do EVERYTHING is our power to catch those responsible and to prevent this from ever happening…” And, we will torture humans again.

Mr. Holder… ???


dbgypsy
Comment posted May 21, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

Associating terrorism with philosophy is pretty weak. If you want to get into “defining”, the word terrorism it is “the use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce, the state of fear and submission”—an ACT of terror. Whereas philosophy is “thought and ideas”–no act is committed in philosophy.

And a terrorist isn't always an international criminal….they can live right next door to you. Example, the terrorists who were just arrested in New York planning to blow up a temple and National Guard planes!

There is so much political corruption and greed for power and/or money in our government–all levels of it, that it has become totally insane! Yeah, let's follow the laws and our Constitution FOR ONCE! Our government has been on a slippery slope for years getting further away from serving the citizens of the United States of America. They are the biggest perpetrators in violating our laws and constitution!!! All this crap the politicians spout about torture, waterboarding, who's at fault, I'm going to make it better, yada, yada, yada. It's all political driven to GET YOUR VOTE and using any issue at hand TO SWING YOUR VOTE because the majority really don't care about the issue itself or the people of America. Some politicians are just smoother and sneakier….beware of eliquent speakers and hidden agendas.

Yeah and let's me nice to terrorists, who TORTURE, MUTILATE, DECAPITATE, KILL anyone they consider their enemy while at the same time they're blowing up anyone and anything in their way including the World Trade Center that killed over 3000 INNOCENT PEOPLE. Let's follow the law and prosecute the LAWLESS TERRORIST who doesn't give a damn about any law. Oh yeah, and let the politicians fall back on our Nation of Laws when it suits their purpose and agenda, like they tend to do when it suits their needs or wants.

They only rational reason someone would think we are closing in on dictatorship would be because we, the citizens, are gradually getting stripped of our LIBERTY, FREEDOM, and RIGHTS so the government (dictatorship) can control, control, control until we're nothing but a mass of pathetic humanity with no will of our own.

War has been and will always be contraversial and BAD THINGS happen during war even with the best of intentions and when the “powers to be” think they are doing it for the right reason and for the good of all. Too much power leads to tyranny which goes hand-in-hand with dictatorship and the rest will follow.


May 22, 2009 « Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?
Pingback posted May 22, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

[...] positively furious about his “reconsideration” of preventive detention, the revival of military commissions, rendition, JSOC-style assassinations, denial of habeas corpus, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Not to [...]


Steven L.
Comment posted May 22, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

That's the problem. Obama *always* cloaks his specific actions in “elegant language and inspiring pride.” But those are used as a smokescreen to conceal the fact that Obama has no major policy shifts to propose. Strip all the high-flying rhetoric out of Obama's speech, and what is left is an admission that Obama still doesn't know what to do about Gitmo. If he did, he would have sent such a plan to Congress, as they have demanded.

We should have gotten wise to Obama's trick with his “elegant” speech on Reverend Wright. Let's learn to just filter out the soaring rhetoric and *especially* Obama's personal biographical details (which he feels compelled to inject into every major policy speech)–and just focus on the specific policies. Then you will notice how few those are.


Why Liberals Love Obama — will to truth
Pingback posted May 22, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

[...] positively furious about his “reconsideration” of preventive detention, the revival of military commissions, rendition, JSOC-style assassinations, denial of habeas corpus, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Not to [...]


Steven L.
Comment posted May 22, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

That's the problem. Obama *always* cloaks his specific actions in “elegant language and inspiring pride.” But those are used as a smokescreen to conceal the fact that Obama has no major policy shifts to propose. Strip all the high-flying rhetoric out of Obama's speech, and what is left is an admission that Obama still doesn't know what to do about Gitmo. If he did, he would have sent such a plan to Congress, as they have demanded.

We should have gotten wise to Obama's trick with his “elegant” speech on Reverend Wright. Let's learn to just filter out the soaring rhetoric and *especially* Obama's personal biographical details (which he feels compelled to inject into every major policy speech)–and just focus on the specific policies. Then you will notice how few those are.


Why Liberals Love Obama : Josiah Garber
Pingback posted May 23, 2009 @ 6:08 am

[...] positively furious about his “reconsideration” of preventive detention, the revival of military commissions, rendition, JSOC-style assassinations, denial of habeas corpus, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Not to [...]


US Holding 27,000 Secret Prisoners Around the World « The Reasoned Review
Pingback posted March 14, 2010 @ 6:11 am

[...] Administration, who has already endorsed the practices of kidnapping, interrogation by torture, and indefinite detention, that these practices are illegal via the Supreme Court’s Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision, which [...]


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