Today, an all-time epic edition of it sucks being right. When last we checked in the Bush torture regime left Obama with a cute sophie’s choice between keeping even one guilty “war on terror” prisoner in custody and respecting the Constitution. Obama has an instinct for technically elegant middle ground solutions that often serves him well, but it will do nothing for him here. This is one of those cases where either you are pregnant or you are not. The way we treated virtually every muslim prisoner will annul any legitimate trial whether we hold it in the conventional courts or under the UCMJ.
In fact the truth is worse. While we tortured ordinary prisoners and denied them due process, the breathtaking abuse that we heaped on legitimate threats like Khaled Sheikh Mohammed makes them the most protected under American law. America put Japanese and Germans to death for significantly less than we did to any high value detainee in an orange jumpsuit. Clawing America back to Constitutional legitimacy will force the President to make decisions that will hurt a lot more than any part of fixing our truck-flattened economy.
Despite all that, and even granting that Obama hates to rock a boat, the President has a halfway decent staff, especially at DoJ, and he makes more tough decisions than most leaders. The optimist in me guessed that the Constitution has a fifty-fifty chance; the realist figured that at least I don’t have to listen to Sarah Palin all the time.
But the new administration faced a February 20 deadline to tell U.S. District Court Judge John Bates whether it would “refine” the Bush administration’s position on four men being held at Bagram who have filed suit against their detention.
In a brief filing with the court on Friday, the Justice Department said it would stick to the previous government’s position, which argued the four men — who have been detained at Bagram for over six years — had no right to challenge their detention in a U.S. court.
Hey, look at Sarah Palin being stupid. Ha ha. Sigh.