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I'm a Minnesota Girl, living in the south. I tell my friends I try not to talk and think like a Yankee, but sometimes I slip up!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I've broken from the herd a few times so far in the Barack Obama 2009 administration.

I haven't spoken out widely when I disagree. Now is the time.

From the New York Times in November, 2001:

President Bush's plan to use secret military tribunals to try terrorists is a dangerous idea, made even worse by the fact that it is so superficially attractive. In his effort to defend America from terrorists, Mr. Bush is eroding the very values and principles he seeks to protect, including the rule of law. . . .

But by ruling that terrorists fall outside the norms of civilian and military justice, Mr. Bush has taken it upon himself to establish a prosecutorial channel that answers only to him. The decision is an insult to the exquisite balancing of executive, legislative and judicial powers that the framers incorporated into the Constitution. With the flick of a pen, in this case, Mr. Bush has essentially discarded the rulebook of American justice painstakingly assembled over the course of more than two centuries. In the place of fair trials and due process he has substituted a crude and unaccountable system that any dictator would admire. . .

American civilian courts have proved themselves perfectly capable of handling terrorist cases without overriding defendants' basic rights.

To clarify Obama's statement yesterday, that he will authorize the military tribunal commissions to continue prosecuting what is estimated to be 20 of the 241 detainees still at Gitmo, Glenn Greenwald says:

"I suppose that if we're going to have military commissions, it’s better to have “more safeguards rather than fewer, ” but Obama himself has argued that U.S. civilian courts are perfectly capable of delivering swift justice in these cases. Even “kinder, gentler military commissions” tell the world our government is willing to bend the rules when it thinks it can’t convict someone 'under our normal system of justice.' "

Obama, it is said, is having a bad case of "reversal cha cha". Now, all politicians have trouble keeping their campaign promises, but this particular reversal by Obama is dead wrong. In 2007(while running for the Presidency):

....from a speech by Senator Obama in 2007 denouncing "a legal framework that does not work." He also referred to the civilian criminal justice system and courts martial that Democrats then claimed, and many still claim, are the right venues for antiterror prosecutions. After the Supreme Court's Boumediene decision gave terrorists habeas rights, Mr. Obama again laid into the Bush Administration's "legal black hole" and "dangerously flawed legal approach," which "undermines the very values we are fighting to defend."

How do we reconcile this new position with what I believe are his true values? We can't. It's politics. It's criminal.


Kelly said...

I just finished a wonderful book by Robert Harris called "Imperium".

Some things haven't changed much in the past 2100 years.

quid said...

I love Robert Harris, and I loved that book. And, sadly, you are right, Kelly.