Friday, May 15, 2009
In fact, such an approach would be worse than the detentions of the Bush presidency. Why? Because the Bush administration consciously relied upon detaining people indefinitely outside the boundaries of the United States in an attempt to deny the judiciary jurisdiction over the legality of them. Now, Obama would be asserting the power of the US government to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely within the US.
As part of its plans to close Guantanamo Bay, the Obama administration is considering holding some of the detainees indefinitely and without trial on US soil, US media reported Thursday.
President Barack Obama's "administration is weighing plans to detain some terror suspects on US soil -- indefinitely and without trial -- as part of a plan to retool military commission trials that were conducted for prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay," The Wall Street Journal said.
Increasingly, it looks like we have just experienced a second coup. The first occurred in October of last year, when the financial sector required the Democratic Party in Congress, as well as the nominees of both parties for President, to support an ongoing, unlimited bailout. With Obama refusing to comply with a federal district court order to release photographs of tortured detainees, reauthorizing the use of military tribunals to determine if detainees should be released and considering the indefinite detention of detainees on US soil, all the while intensifying US military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the contours of the second one are coming into focus.
What precipitated it? One suspects that it was Obama's decision to release the legal memorandums relied upon to justify the use of torture against detainees. The backlash within the CIA and the Pentagon was immediate. Both had argued vociferously against it. With their allies in the media, they put Obama on the defensive. US troops were being put at risk. All of these terrible enhanced interrogation techniques could now be used on them. Of course, it was absurd, US troops are at risk because they are conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and, furthermore, there is always the risk that captured troops can be tortured, regardless of what some law school professors and aspiring jurists say.
But this isn't about logic, it's about politics and the timidity of a President incapable of challenging his enemies effectively. Or, perhaps, a President who has never had any inclination to do so. He is, however, smarter than Bush, as he knows how to generate memoranda that say one thing, while doing another, in an attempt to avoid criminal sanction.