March 09, 2011
NYC Letter: The Incapable Messiah VI -- Hope And SAME! Redux
Day 778 of CHOPE
While we're at it, we're going to close Guantanamo. And we're going to restore habeas corpus. ... We're going to lead by example, by not just word but by deed. That's our vision for the future.
then-candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination,
finger-snapping Gitmo away just like [SNAP!] that
SAN ANTONIO June 24, 2007 (WaPo)
More on yesterday's "Hope and Same" EO. First, the table-setting quote, condescending, cloying, and, as actions prove out, utterly empty.
A few years ago, I gave a speech in Boston that people talk about from time to time. In that speech, I spoke about why I love this country, why I love America, and what I believe sets this country apart from so many other nations in so many areas. I said:
That is the true genius of America--a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. ...
... The bottom line is this: Current procedures under the CSRT [scil., Combatant Status Review Tribunal] are such that a perfectly innocent individual could be held and could not rebut the Government's case and has no way of proving his innocence.
I would like somebody in this Chamber, somebody in this Government, to tell me why this is necessary.
then-freshman senator from Illinois pleading
for the perfectly innocent individuals at Guantánamo Bay
FLOOR STATEMENT ON THE HABEAS CORPUS AMENDMENT
WASHINGTON September 27, 2006 (obamaspeeches.com)
At the time it appears Mr. Obama was unaware that America was at war and the perfectly innocent individuals had been classified enemy combatants. This circumstantial but crucial context escaped him throughout his campaign for the presidency. As president he has since gotten up to speed on the issue.
March 8, 2011 (WaPo) - President Obama signed an executive order Monday that will create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who continue to pose a significant threat to national security.
... The executive order recognizes the reality that some Guantanamo Bay detainees will remain in U.S. custody for many years, if not for life. The new system allows them the prospect of successfully arguing in the future that they should be released because they do not pose a threat.
... The announcements, coming more than two years after Obama vowed in another executive order to close the detention center, all but cements Guantanamo Bay's continuing role in U.S. counterterrorism policy.
[Sputter.] The man's shredding the Constitution! It's nothing less than the death of habeas corpus!
The president has now succeeded where no one has before. He’s managed to kill the writ of habeas corpus. Tonight, a special investigation, how that, in turn, kills nothing less than your Bill of Rights.
... Still, getting the Military Commission’s Act to the president so he could immediately mull it over for two weeks was so important, some members of Congress did not even read the bill before voting on it. Thus, as some of its minutia escaped scrutiny.
One bit of trivia that caught our eye was the elimination of habeas corpus, which apparently use to be the right of anyone who’s tossed in prison to appear in court and say "Hey, why am I in prison?"
Oh. Wait. That's Keith Olbermann back in 2006 shredding Mr. Bush.
President Obama proved to be a quick study of Bush/Cheney executive legal theory. Here is Glenn Greenwald, four months into Mr. Obama's transformative presidency, recounting, with a heavy heart, the transformation of candidate Obama, the cvil libertarian, into president Obama, Karl Rove minion.
It was once the case under the Bush administration that the U.S. would abduct people from around the world, accuse them of being Terrorists, ship them to Guantanamo, and then keep them there for as long as we wanted without offering them any real due process to contest the accusations against them. That due-process-denying framework was legalized by the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Many Democrats -- including Barack Obama -- claimed they were vehemently opposed to this denial of due process for detainees, and on June 12, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, ruled that the denial of habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees was unconstitutional and that all Guantanamo detainees have the right to a full hearing in which they can contest the accusations against them. ... Here is what [candidate] Obama said about [Boumediene] in a statement he issued on the day of the ruling:Today's Supreme Court decision ensures that we can protect our nation and bring terrorists to justice, while also protecting our core values. The Court's decision is a rejection of the Bush Administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo - yet another failed policy supported by John McCain. This is an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus.
... Back in February, the Obama administration shocked many civil libertarians by filing a brief in federal court that, in two sentences, declared that it embraced the most extremist Bush theory on this issue -- the Obama DOJ argued, as The New York Times's Charlie Savage put it, "that military detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there, embracing a key argument of former President Bush’s legal team."
... Last month, a federal judge emphatically rejected the Bush/Obama position and held that the rationale of Boumediene applies every bit as much to Bagram as it does to Guantanamo. Notably, the district judge who so ruled -- John Bates -- is an appointee of George W. Bush, a former Whitewater prosecutor, and a very pro-executive-power judge. ... In the wake of Judge Bates' ruling that foreign detainees shipped to Bagram at least have the right to a hearing to determine their guilt, what is the Obama DOJ doing? This:The Obama administration said Friday that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release.
... The Obama DOJ is now squarely to the Right of an extremely conservative, pro-executive-power, Bush 43-appointed judge on issues of executive power and due-process-less detentions.
... To recap: Obama files a brief saying he agrees in full with the Bush/Cheney position. He's arguing that the President has the power to abduct, transport and imprison people in Bagram indefinitely with no charges of any kind. He's telling courts that they have no authority to "second-guess" his decisions when it comes to war powers. But this is all totally different than what Bush did, and anyone who says otherwise is a reckless, ill-motivated hysteric who just wants to sell books and get on TV.
Of course, had Mr. Greenwald and fellow liberals thought to look behind candidate Obama's applause lines, they might not be so shocked today to find that Mr. Bush's policies have filled the vacuum of Mr. Obama's promises.
Hope and Same. What's that again? Mushed together?
The transformative presidency, um, transformed.Posted by Damian at March 9, 2011 11:45 PM