Bag for Obama
Submitted By Todd on May 23rd at 7:53am
President Obama’s proposal for a new legal system in which terrorism suspects could be held in “prolonged detention” inside the United States without trial would be a departure from the way this country sees itself, as a place where people in the grip of the government either face criminal charges or walk free.If W. was a story of an incompetent war criminal, then is O. to be the story of a thoughtful, professorial war criminal?
Mr. Obama chose to call his proposal “prolonged detention,” which made it sound more reassuring than some of its more familiar names. In some countries, it is called “administrative detention,” a designation with a slightly totalitarian ring. Some of its proponents call it “indefinite detention,” which evokes the Bush administration’s position that Guantánamo detainees could be held until the end of the war on terror — perhaps for the rest of their lives — even if acquitted in war crimes trials.Is the Moveon.Org crowd to be viewed as anything more thoughtful than a Red Sox fan screaming "Yankees Suck?" Are they just hypocrites who nurtured a blaze of anger over the practices of the Bush administration not because they were morally compelled to, but, instead, because they wanted their team to win?
Closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and holding detainees domestically under a new system of preventive detention would simply “move Guantánamo to a new location and give it a new name,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates suggested this month that as many as 100 detainees might be held in the United States under such a system.Will we put the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp on a barge and relocate it to Boise, leaving the mythology of the "great stain" on our nation's reputation wrongly imprisoned, indefinitely, back in Cuba?
Other countries, including Israel and India, have had laws allowing indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, said Monica Hakimi, an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan who has written about the subject. But, she said, few provide for essentially unending detention, and several European countries have restricted preventive detention to days or weeks. Mr. Obama’s proposal, Professor Hakimi said, appears to be “an aggressive approach that is not commonly taken in other Western developed countries.”In an interview on WRKO this week, I asked Madea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war women's group Code Pink, what ever happened to the anti-war crowd. While she criticized others in the anti-war movement for folding up shop upon the election of Obama, she also cut him lots of slack - saying her group will give him time, perhaps another year, before labelling the President a War Criminal. You can hear the interview here.
In a letter to the president on Friday, Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, said he was not sure Mr. Obama’s idea would prove constitutional, and added that “such detention is a hallmark of abusive systems that we have historically criticized around the world.”Madea said there are two kinds of anti-war groups - those who are against the war, and those who are against the war as a way to propel their candidate into office.
“If they cannot be convicted, then you release them,” said Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union. “That’s what it means to have a justice system.”Which is another way of admitting that the daily pounding of the Bush Administration was a ruse, based on a faux moral revulsion over 43's policies.