a damn good start

January 22, 2009

I’m sure this is a common topic today but:

1. transparent gov’t

2. suspension of prosecutions

3. closure of gitmo

a damn good start.


10 Responses to “a damn good start”

  1. Thruhike98 Says:

    …and suspension of torture for really reals this time.

  2. Jeff Says:

    1. transparent gov’t

    “President Barack Obama began dismantling the Bush legacy Wednesday, using his first full day to overturn an order that let ex-presidents seal their papers forever.”

    So it doesn’t apply to the current administration.

    2. suspension of prosecutions

    I thought the goal was to get the people at GITMO before a court and not leave them hanging. Obama has now left them hanging after Congress set up a process for them to go before military courts. This seems like a step backwards to me.

    3. closure of gitmo

    … in a years time. I will believe it when I see it. If he just moves the people to someplace else, it was just symbolic. As Obama has stated, the collection of evidence does not meet normal criminal court requirements. At the same time we know these guys will just return to the battlefield.

    Besides, they allowed themselves an out by saying they go back to the old rules if they capture a high enough target.

    So what has changed? Nothing really.

  3. jef spaleta Says:


    I agree that we need to learn more about the gitmo closure plan and what happens to the detainees after gitmo closes.

    I personally would hope that the plan is to follow Colin Powell’s recommendation from late 2007 and that the detainees will be prosecuted in the standard US legal system instead of the military courts.


    Does it suck that this sort of policy change is coming so late, yes. But that’s not exactly the current administrations cross to bear.

    But if the military courts are not protecting the rights of the accused in an equitable manner, then letting those military court proceedings go on is not necessary the best option either. And the new President certainly doesn’t have such political capital that he could just release the detainees without a proceeding to determine guilt.

    Nothing about the gitmo situation is easy. This policy deserves scrutiny to be sure, and the new administration needs to be hyper-sensitive to any delays they cause in equitably prosecuting the alleged crimes. I think its perfectly appropriate to demand a time table as to how long individuals are to be detained before brought before a court of law and to continually remind them that there are people being held for years without their day in court.


  4. Jeff Says:

    @jef spaleta

    “I personally would hope that the plan is to follow Colin Powell’s recommendation from late 2007 and that the detainees will be prosecuted in the standard US legal system instead of the military courts.”

    Powell is obviously no legal scholar. As Obama himself has pointed out, they cannot be prosecuted in standard legal courts. The collection of evidence does not meet US legal standards. They also were not read their rights (violation of Miranda rights ruling). We don’t expect our solders to worry about building a case in a battlefield. This is why, traditionally, solders are never put before normal courts. The procedure is to setup military courts who decide whether to release the people back to their country of origin. We have released quite a few people at GITMO to their country of origin, only to capture them, yet again, in the battlefield.

    In answer to a question from a reporter today, Obama admitted there is now no stated procedure to handle these people. This is a step backwards.

  5. Seth Vidal Says:

    Jeff and Jef,
    I tend to be of the IBIWISI perspective on life. Which is why I titled this entry “a damn good start”.

    I didn’t say things had changed. I said it was a start.

    There’s a lot of things to fix – and starting is the only way to do that.

  6. Jeff Says:

    “I didn’t say things had changed. I said it was a start. ”

    Since when is going backwards a start? You would think Obama, who was part of the Senate, would already have an idea on how to process the people at GITMO. All he said today is that they are going to setup a process. The process has already been setup and approved by the Senate month and months ago.

    You’re getting caught up on symbolism. There is absolutely no substance to any of the Executive Orders today.

  7. Thruhike98 Says:

    Damn, on day two he only announced his plan for how they will proceed – he didn’t undo eight years of crap in the first 48 hours. I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.

    Come on Jeff. Just say you don’t like the guy ’cause he’s a liberal, or a Chicagoan, not a “real” American, he snubbed the Fox News guy, or he has a funny name.

    To give this type of critique before the first week is over is a just a little quick, dontcha think?

  8. Jeff Says:

    I’m just pointing out that people are a little bit giddy over a guy that hasn’t done anything yet. I am a bit surprised that he didn’t have something a little more substantial today with regard to GITMO. It is not like this wasn’t one of the more talked about issues over the past year. This issue has always been how to process people at GITMO and it appears that the new administration is further away from an answer than the previous administration. Since when is *holding up* processing these people a *good* thing? The whole point was to get them processed so they could be convicted or released. Now these people are going to sit around even longer with no change in their status.

  9. Thruhike98 Says:

    Of course he hasn’t done anything more yet. We are now just beginning day four, and day one was full of inauguration activities. That leaves the 48 hours of Wednesday and Thursday. Not too much time, huh?

    I believe the giddiness you perceive is from the vastly different rhetoric coming from the White House. While a couple of days is too short to change anything, we are hearing of plans to do vastly different things than we have heard over the last several years. That difference is the source of the giddiness. I think “Close GITMO within one year” is a big step. It isn’t something that could actually be closed on day three, but it is possible to start closing it on day three. (You couldn’t remove the construction materials from GITMO in three days, much less prisoners.)

    As for the prosecutions, they are being temporarily suspended, not for the sake of suspending them, but for the fact that they have real problems associated with them. Um, evidence obtained through torture? Kinda need to address issues like that, and the fact defendants are unable to provide any defense to “secret” evidence their attorneys are unable to see. It is prudent to stop a process that is so flawed, to try to address these issues before wasting the time and resources of all involved by going through a legal charade.

    To criticize an administration for lack of results after 48 hours, 16-18 working-hours, in office appears disingenuous. This is an oddly-high standard to hold an administrations to, and to do so broadcasts one’s dissatisfaction with the individual, rather than his results. Think about it.

  10. Jeff Says:

    The processes was approved by Congress. This issues has been discussed over and over again for years now. Enough talk! All Obama said that they are getting people together to talk about what to do. More talk! There has been plenty of talk about what to do just like there is plenty of talk about what to do with the economy. Obama is moving on the economy, but he punted the GITMO thing. I get the feeling this panel will be like the panels that Congress puts together so Congress can’t be blamed for the answers. “We’re just implementing the finding from the commission. Don’t blame us.”

    Yes, it is a difficult question. Simply putting these people before domestic courts is not the answer. I suspect the answers from this panel will not be able to satisfy everyone. Just like the answers so far have not been able to satisfy everyone. Obama is just delaying the existing approved process which was getting these people in front of a court.

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