The More Things Change

The more they don’t really at all:

The Obama administration said Friday that it is abandoning one of President George W. Bush’s key phrases in the war on terrorism: enemy combatant. But that won’t change much for the detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba — Obama still asserts the military’s authority to hold them. Human rights attorneys said they were disappointed that Obama didn’t take a new stance.

The Justice Department said in legal filings that it will no longer use the term “enemy combatants’ to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

“This is really a case of old wine in new bottles,” the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been fighting the detainees’ detention, said in a statement. “It is still unlawful to hold people indefinitely without charge. The men who have been held for more than seven years by our government must be charged or released.”

One of the Cornerites quipped “Maybe President Bush should have just changed the name of Guantamo,” and the truth hurts. I wasn’t one of the wild-eye Obama supporters who thought everything was going to be different the moment he took office, and I still think it is far to early to judge the overall policy of Team Obama, but it sure looks like they are dropping the ball on many of these issues. It really is infuriating.

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92 replies
  1. 1
    donovong says:

    Uh, John…doncha think it’s a little early to be disappointed? I mean, really. It’s been what – fifty fucking days?

  2. 2
    Ash says:

    If Guantanamo is going to close, what does it matter though? Because eventually all the people held there will be dealt with in some way. I’m obviously missing something.

  3. 3
    Josh Hueco says:

    How is this a War on Drugs post?

  4. 4
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I bet it is infuriating for you. That’s three presidents in a row now you’ve voted for who think they have the power to detain an individual indefinitely without charging him with a crime.

  5. 5
    Tax Analyst says:

    Yeah, this one is disappointing, at least so far. I’d like to see some progress at getting Gitmo closed up and either trying those they have a legit case against and releasing those where there is none. I guess the problem is the detainees that no one else will accept into their country. The answer has to be found somewhere within the Rule of Law, or else we’re really all about just bullshit and nothing but bullshit.

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    @donovong: I’m a Democrat now. I reserve the right to be disappointed whenever I choose.

    @Josh Hueco: Wrong tag.

    @Just Some Fuckhead: One in a row for you, drunk.

  7. 7

    I’m not a legal expert, but the nagging question that’s been bothering me about all of this is this; does the United States actually have the power to bring charges in US courts against people for actions alleged to have occured outside of this country? And if we actually are asserting the right to undertake criminal proceedings against people for plotting acts of terrorism in other countries, isn’t that also a pretty radical claim to national power on the part of the United States? I mean, I don’t think we’d take very kindly to Iran bringing criminal charges against, say, Max Boot for "plotting to overthrow the Islamic government of Iran" or whatever.

  8. 8
    Shalimar says:

    And what are they good at so far? Competence? Isn’t a competent government doing all the shit Bush did incompetently what we were scared to death of for the last 8 years? I know they have gotten some things right, but on the big issues of secrecy and executive power the Obama administration has been lots of empty posturing to cover over the same old crap.

  9. 9
    sgwhiteinfla says:

    Im holding my power until they actually finish their "top to bottom" review of GITMO. After that I will judge them on their plans going forward, and thats my same opinion on the Afghanistan strategy. I would have loved for everything to have been laid out immediately upon President Obama taking office but unfortunately it wasn’t. I had enough over the last 8 year or a President using his gut to make decisions. I know its fucked up for the people who are detained right now that might be innocent but the truth is none of us REALLY know if they are. I am sure some of them are and some of them aren’t so I am going to let the situation play out and then decide whether or not to be dissappointed. It doesn’t help that in point of fact President Bush seemed to have it ass backwards and several of the detainees he released ended up on al Qaeda videos. Now mind you nobody is making that much of a big deal about those but you can bet your ass that if President Obama releases even one guy who ends up the lowest man on the totem pole in a terrorist group its going to be the biggest "I told you so" moment in recent history. Id rather give him a little time than have a snap decision that comes back and bites him in the ass. And I should also point out by the way that civil libertarians ALWAYS think something should have been done yesterday so their impatience really shouldn’t be a surprise nor a lightning rod.

  10. 10
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @John Cole: Only one of us is whining about it, fathead.

  11. 11
    Comrade Stuck says:

    dropping the ball on many of these issues. It really is infuriating

    Friday night is always good for a little left baiting/

    Pluk Pluk WherrrreARRREYOUUU!

  12. 12
    DeadlyShoe says:

    John & co, I think you are being unduly pessimistic.

    They arn’t making a blanket change, no. But IIRC the administration does want to release people who made ‘insignificant’ contributions or only provided ‘logistical support’ etc. etc. presumably to be decided on a case by case basis. This is different from where we are now where every detainee is classed as ‘terrorist, bloodthirsty’.

    Getting away from ‘enemy combatants’ does have non-propoganda value. It is a legal term and the Bush Administration used it so they could sweep taxi drivers and janitors into a ruleset designed for major wars. It would be absurd for Nazis captured in WW2 to appeal to courts right?

  13. 13
    anonevent says:

    NPR talked about this on All Things Considered, and what Obama did change was that he was holding them under the powers granted by Congress after 9-11 and under the Geneva Conventions. This might sound like splitting hairs, but Obama following these means that Congress can change the rules if they wish. Also, it’s not just Obama making the decision. Each detainee will be reviewed separately:

    Holder said a task force of Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, the State and Defense Departments, the office of the director of National Intelligence and the Joint chiefs of Staff is reviewing disposition of individual cases and will make recommendations to senior-level officials.

  14. 14
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @anonevent:

    Cole is just trying to spoof a little flame war.

  15. 15
    bago says:

    @Comrade Stuck: He’s pulling a Shep?

  16. 16
    JR says:

    Unfortunately, you can’t just open the gates and shout, "You’re free! You’re free! Fly away!"

  17. 17
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @bago:

    That’s my guess.

  18. 18
    Hyperion says:

    Each detainee will be reviewed separately.

    and then?
    some uighurs (not all) were cleared and then sat at gitmo for years before being flown by night to albania. so even if someone is "released" now, where will they go? albania won’t take anymore now that china has complained about the release of "terrorists".

    IMO there is only one country that can and should agree to take any gitmo guy found not to have been a threat to us.
    and that’s the good old USA. at some point we have to make amends.

  19. 19
    Comrade Stuck says:

    I’m a Democrat now. I reserve the right to be disappointed whenever I choose.

    Hee hee

  20. 20
    Jon H says:

    It still seems like a very gradual unwinding. Names are presumably easier to change than policies with complex legal implications, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they change at different paces.

  21. 21
    KRK says:

    Wasn’t there a vow sometime in the recent past not to form opinions (and blog posts) based on an AP story about how the Obama administration isn’t really doing anything differently from Bush? I swear we’ve been here before.

  22. 22
    Leo v.2.0 says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    does the United States actually have the power to bring charges in US courts against people for actions alleged to have occured outside of this country?

    Probably, we do. IIRC, jurisdictional principles in international law are fairly amorphous, but as long as the detainees are accused of actions that are more or less universally regarded as wrong we’re able to plausibly claim jurisdiction. Any country can try an accused mass murderer, regardless of where the crime occurred.

    In any event, we have the people now, and we need some process to deal with them. The important thing is that that process respects basic principles of proof, evidence, and fairness. The problem, of course, is that the fuckwits in the previous administration seem to have never bothered to keep even the basic records that would be needed to start such a process.

    If that’s the case, I don’t know what the hell we do. We can’t keep them at GitMo for obvious reasons, we can’t try them in order to regularize their prisoner status (and release the innocents) because we fucked up the evidence, we can’t send them back where they came from because those countries don’t want them, and, at least politically, releasing them all in this country is a non-starter.

    What a damned mess. Heckuva job, Bushie.

  23. 23
    Phaedrus says:

    Yeah, said all this shit a couple of days ago, but I was a Clintonite, republican troll.

    Guess timing is everything.

  24. 24
    JL says:

    Assuming the former enemy combatents had their heads bashed in, how exactly should the new President proceed.
    Jose Padilla was convicted of terrorism charges and because of torture his psychologist reported that he could not assist in his own defense.

  25. 25
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Phaedrus:

    A landed fish.

  26. 26
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Leo v.2.0:

    What a damned mess. Heckuva job, Bushie.

    Exactly. We should release them in Houston.

  27. 27
    anonevent says:

    @Hyperion: I agree, there are going to be a large number of them that are going to be hard to deal with. Imagine the prisoner who shouldn’t have been captured, but cannot be returned to his own country. I’m specifically thinking of what to do about those whose home country is China. For his own safety, can you release him in America, even if you his psychological profile indicated that he’s happy to be in America and he personally would never do any harm.

    In a prior post, John did point out that Bush hadn’t really left Obama a really good choice. He could either hold onto them forever, or watch the courts throw each case out because of the way the prisoner was treated.

    I have an idea: Return Gitmo to the Cubans right now. Just pack up the Navy and Marine personnel and leave. Make them Raul’s problem. Yes, I know we like having the base to protect our shipping routes, but this might make up for it.

  28. 28
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Thread Theme song

    I’ll be quiet now.

  29. 29
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    Yawn.

  30. 30
    Jody says:

    Truth be told, Obama could be on the side of angels on 90% of the things George the Lesser inflicted on this country and that would still leave a laundry list of things he’d be doing wrong.

    See, the difference is, we as his supporters actually CALL HIM OUT on his bullshit, instead of insisting it’s ice cream and begging for more. The other side never got that, and never will. That’s why they kept flogging the Obamessiah crap. They assumed we’re as idolatrous as they.

  31. 31
    Cat Lady says:

    Fucking Bush and his evil minions left so many booby trapped messes behind, it’s like trying to disarm bombs with 100 different colored wires that go to 100 different hot contacts while wearing boxing gloves. Some significant percentage of evil minions are still burrowed into the DOJ/JAG apparatus, doing their evil minion deeds as we speak. It’s just going to take more time before we understand where Bush ends and Obama begins. It sucks, and its frustrating, but Bush didn’t just clear out and leave town. Most of the detainee shit was run through Cheney’s shop, and it’s going to be years before we understand how much of a sick evil fuck he is.

  32. 32
    AhabT'Pooner says:

    @anonevent: Snicker. I can see the look on both Castros’ faces

  33. 33
    anonevent says:

    Actually, I don’t even like my solution. Instead of Cuba, and Houston, I believe Bush’s new house here in Dallas is big enough for all of them.

  34. 34
    osmond says:

    so hes saying we can hold detainees but we wont call them enemy combatants. hes going to close it in a year its been 52 days. its alot going on. ill admit its disappointing but he has changed all of bush policies. hes already released the one guy to london i believe and the other guy was finally charged after 5 years. so just saying lets just be patient

  35. 35
    gizmo says:

    I’m in the same camp with Brien Jackson above. Let’s imagine that another nation was holding hundreds of Americans in detention, subjecting them to torture, denying them proper legal counsel, and not even bringing specific charges against them. The United States would go batshit crazy over such a state of affairs, and the conservatives would be leading the charge. WTF?

  36. 36
    Cris says:

    @Phaedrus: Yeah, said all this shit a couple of days ago, but I was a Clintonite, republican troll.
    Guess timing is everything.

    Tone counts too. Compare and contrast:

    John Cole: " it sure looks like they are dropping the ball on many of these issues. It really is infuriating."

    Phaedrus: "I’m a big time liberal and I have very little good to say about [Obama]… he’s simply "Bush-lite" with some domestic progressive window dressing"

  37. 37
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Obama has made it clear what his position is on all the lawless shit the Bushies created. These on-going law suits are a legalese kabucky with political booby traps as you say. It will take time to disarm them in a way that doesn’t look like Obama is throwing the uniformed military to the wolves.

    Most of it is just kicking the can down the road until congress moves on legislation that will codify a new way of handling prisoners and will also undue the current law suits (by getting the feds out of them with the state secrets nonsense), in a way that leaves the CiC mostly out of it. In fact, there is a bill that does this waiting in the wings on dealing with things like torture, rendition and legal rights of prisoners. It has been submitted by Leahy and when the economic crisis stuff is done, I suspect it will come to the floor for action.

  38. 38
    mr. whipple says:

    I’m a Democrat now. I reserve the right to be disappointed whenever I choose.

    Too bad you didn’t become a *liberal* so you could be disappointed in Obama pretty much *every minute* of every day.

  39. 39
    JasonF says:

    Off-topic, but holy shit — Michael Eric Dyson just demolished Andrew Breitbart on Bill Maher’s show. If you’ve got HBO, be sure to catch this episode.

  40. 40
    osmond says:

    im glad this conversation is taking place though. no one held bush accountable and we are not allowing the same with barack i hope this continues. but its a lot of shit hes got to do and if he messes up let him have it but lets not overlook the great moves forward either.

  41. 41
    Shygetz says:

    I disagree that this is a distinction without a difference. The biggest complaint I had with the "enemy combatant" crap was that the President claimed a pre-existing authority to detain whoever he damn well wanted. Here’ Obama is clearly saying that he has that power under American and international law. So, he has placed his actions firmly under both Congressional and Judicial scrutiny, as he admits his authority rests on their laws and not on war powers. It’s a huge difference.

  42. 42
    JoyceH says:

    I think people are giving up on Obama mighty quick. Cleaning up the mess at Gitmo and elsewhere is going to take a heck of a lot longer than 50 or 60 days! The thing to consider is that the Bush administration wasn’t just corrupt and evil, they were also incompetent. On television I saw one of the prosecutors that quit rather than run these kangaroo courts, and he said he’d asked for the original paperwork for a particular detainee to find out what the basis of his detention was – and nobody could find it anywhere and nobody had the slightest idea why this particular person was being held.

    The Bush administration lied through their teeth in their continual claims that the people at Gitmo were ONLY ‘the worst of the worst’ – we’ve learned already that a lot of random shepherds got turned in for bounties. But SOMEWHERE among all those shepherds and foot soldiers ARE ‘the worst of the worst’.

    Untangling the mess Bush left is going to be complex enough that I’ll be surprised if they can get through it in the promised year. While that is ongoing, I would hope and expect that the Obama administration is treating the detainees humanely and in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

  43. 43
    kevin says:

    i may be just one small voice of reason in this Obamabot web site but firstly, Bush had historical precedent in holding them without habeas corpus–namely Obama’s erstwhile hero Abraham Lincoln. Secondly I hope you koolaid drinkers will think long and hard when these murderous Muslims come back after release by B. Hussein Obama and kill more innocent American citizens. I for one will hold Obama responsible for such murders

  44. 44
    JasonF says:

    I’m not quite ready to be disappointed yet. The DOJ release says that the government’s position now "draws on the international laws of war to inform the statutory authority conferred by Congress. It provides that individuals who supported al Qaeda or the Taliban are detainable only if the support was substantial." I haven’t seen the filing itself, but if the release is to be taken at face value, this is not simply a case of changing the name of what we are doing — it is an actual change in the standard under which we are permitted to detain people.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    wilfred says:

    Welcome to the Great Society Conundrum, as predicted. In order for Obama to get through a fraction of the social programs/changes he wants, he’ll have to bomb Hanoi, metaphorically speaking.

    That, as the pukes endlessly intone, is POLITICS. It’s up to the citizenry to challenge what is a false dilemma.

  47. 47
    Charles says:

    There’s a very simple name change that would solve the problem: declare them to be Prisoners of War.

    That would give the Red Cross access, permit them to correspond with their families (after a suitable period of isolation and debriefing to prevent military information from being transmitted), and most importantly, make their detention f–king legal.

    You’d think a Constitutional law professor could reason this out.

  48. 48
    Jon H says:

    "Fucking Bush and his evil minions left so many booby trapped messes behind, it’s like trying to disarm bombs with 100 different colored wires that go to 100 different hot contacts while wearing boxing gloves."

    It’s War Crime Jenga.

  49. 49
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    we as his supporters actually CALL HIM OUT on his bullshit,

    That would be just totally fascinating, if it were connected with any truth.

    What is going on in this thread’s context is not bullshit, it’s the methodical unraveling of a bowl of (inherited) dysfunctional spaghetti involving some dangerous characters, and some serious human rights issues.

    What Obama is doing strikes me as being just exactly right. He has set the stage for dealing with Gitmo, he is setting the legal table for later rearrangement of the affairs of various of the detainees, and he is being careful, as we would want him to be.

    Meanwhile, people with nothing to do and less to say, are barking like hyenas about all this as if they any clue on earth what was really going on behind the scenes. Let’s check in in a year or so and see where we are with this story, shall we?

    Nothing ruins a neighborhood more than a bunch of neighbors whose dogs spend all night barking at the moon. Tough to sleep then.

  50. 50
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    @mclaren:

    Spoof.

  51. 51
    robert w says:

    This and many other things Obama has put in play show me that he really wants to let as many of these terrorists as the public will allow, to be set free so they can kill more Americans. Then he will blame Bush, once again, for turning these good people into terrorists.

  52. 52
    AhabT'Pong says:

    It’s War Crime Jenga.

    Stealin’ it.

  53. 53
    robert w says:

    In response to #41; Shygetz, you and all your socialist, I mean liberal cohorts always say the same thing over and over. If a republican does it, it’s wrong. If a democrat does the same thing, it’s right. Come on, think things through.

  54. 54
    The Moar You Know says:

    Wait till this top-secret IP treaty goes through and middle-class Americans start getting thrown in prison for downloading a couple of Britney Spears CDs…

    @mclaren: One can only hope. This would be such a clear benefit to our society that it sickens me that you’d be against it.

  55. 55
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    This and many other things Obama has put in play show me that he really wants to let as many of these terrorists as the public will allow, to be set free so they can kill more Americans. Then he will blame Bush, once again, for turning these good people into terrorists.

    Your sarcasm-fu is intriguing.

  56. 56
    TenguPhule says:

    It’s War Crime Jenga. Operation.

    And the funnybone has been taped inside by that fucker Gonzales.

  57. 57
    bago says:

    @AhabT’Pong: I’m in yr thread, stealin ur memes.

  58. 58
    Ash Can says:

    Based on everything he’s done and said up to now, it simply makes no sense that Obama would be sticking to the let-’em-rot/hang-’em-high attitude (I repeat, attitude) of the Bush administration. Therefore, for him to stick to the let-’em-rot policy of the previous administration — at the present, anyway — as opposed to the more personal and more deeply rooted attitude, makes me believe that there’s more here than meets the eye. The fact that the changes and announcements dribbling out about Guantanamo, detainees, etc. all indicate movement away from executive power and control to legislative power and control is encouraging. I have a hard time believing it will all stop at a dead end.

    I recall hearing stories not too long ago of the paperwork on the Guantanamo detainees being in such disarray that lawyers trying to sort out the facts of the individual cases were basically living a nightmare. That can’t be at all helpful in expediting the clean-up of this mess. In addition, given his background and proclivities, Obama strikes me as the lawyer’s lawyer. If it takes covering every last bit of minutia to get a case constructed right, he’ll do it, and nothing and no one can rush him. On top of everything, he seems to be a little distracted with other things right now, like the economy imploding.

    It stands to reason that the Center for Constitutional Rights would want to see this whole issue resolved yesterday, and I wish that were the case myself. Personally, I’m not convinced that things can’t happen any faster than they are. But neither do I have any reason to believe that Obama is personally siding with Bush on this issue. Siding with him legally, perhaps, for the time being, for as long as it takes to get this whole sorry mess cleared up the right way, i.e. once and for all, carved in stone, so it never happens again. But for Obama to treat the detainees with the same disregard — sadism, even — that Bush and Cheney exhibited simply does not compute.

  59. 59
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Ash Can:

    It stands to reason that the Center for Constitutional Rights would want to see this whole issue resolved yesterday,

    It’s how the adversary game is played out publicly in Washington. Demand everything to happen yesterday to maintain pressure. Basic bargaining 101.

  60. 60
    donovong says:

    "@donovong: I’m a Democrat now. I reserve the right to be disappointed whenever I choose."

    @The Right Honorable Mister Cole: What The OfficialHatOnMyCat said.

    It took your (former) Republican friends 8 years to fuck things up, and it will take more than 7 weeks to clean up that bag of shit in Cuba. Obama is going to walk very slowly and carefully thought the minefield (it’s a metaphorfest!). If he did anything faster, your (former) friends on the right would launch a world class shitstorm. If he did anything slower, you might have kittens. You lose.

    I can definitely live with that.

  61. 61
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    But for Obama to treat the detainees with the same disregard—sadism, even—that Bush and Cheney exhibited simply does not compute.

    Absolutely.

    Try to imagine Obama in two famous Bush scenes:

    One, "boo hoo, please don’t kill me" schtick, when talking about the execution of Karla Faye Tucker.

    Two, the "Where are those darn WMDs? They aren’t under the sofa cushions ….. hahahahaha" schtick he did about the failure to find WMDs in Iraq.

    To me, those two episodes tell me all I need to know about Bush. The man is a pig.

    Obama is the opposite of Bush in this regard.

  62. 62
    Punchy says:

    This SNL flunky-turned-showhost is WICKEDLY unfunny

  63. 63

    […] more bitterness on the left. Slightly off topic, but here’s the potty-mouthed communications instructor also known as John Cole whining about the semantics of Guantanamo. One of the Cornerites quipped “Maybe President Bush […]

  64. 64
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @robert w:

    If a republican does it, it’s wrong.

    Of course. SATSQ

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Charles:

    As Nedra Pickler has done her usual bang-up job of concealing the story, it’s impossible to tell what they’re now being called. For all we know, they are officially POWs now, but the Pickler doesn’t think we need to know little details like the information that her entire freaking story is supposed to be based on.

    God, I hate Nedra Pickler.

  66. 66
    Comrade Kevin says:

    That Breitbart yahoo is on Real Time tonight. What an eejit. Within 5 minutes he mentioned Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, and I changed the channel. Fucking tool.

  67. 67
    Paul says:

    Guantanamo is a legal, ethical and yes *political* minefield. Baby steps are in order. That is all.

  68. 68
    Paul says:

    Although Jimmy Fallon followed by Carson Daly should be prosecuted as torture to the fullest extent of the law.

  69. 69
    Texas Dem says:

    Obama is a pragmatic politician. He’s making changes where he can and compromising where he must. Unwinding the horrors of the Bush years will be a gradual process. Anyone who expected Obama to simply sweep all of it away in only a few months, given the enormous influence the Bushies and the GOP still have in the media and the Washington establishment, will be disappointed. But anyone who wants to complain about how Obama is doing his job should just imagine how truly disappointed they would be right now if McCain were president. We should save our fire for the REAL enemy, the GOP. Unless we support the administration it will fail. And we’ll end up with President Sarah Palin and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. Then we’ll really have something to complain about.

  70. 70
    BombIranForChrist says:

    I am giving him some benefit of the doubt.

    Putting on my best rose colored glasses, I think he’s trying to keep his powder dry until he can get this economic disaster behind him.

    Right now, on economic issues, Republicans have absolutely 0% credibility, so Obama’s in the cat bird’s seat, as much as you can be when threatened with the economic collapse of your country.

    But if he starts stepping into this Guantanamo mess, he starts giving Republicans something to play with. The Republicans can use the quagmire of Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. etc. etc. to shift focus away from the fact that they have 0% credibility on the most important pressing issue, the economy, and start getting into the brain stem topics of "Murka!" and "National Security!" and etc.

    Personally, I think Republicans have 0% credibility on Guantanamo as well, but I am not so sure some of Obama’s more conservative supporters agree. I think some people still think that the Republicans are better for "national security" and they see Guantanamo as a "national security" issue, even if that belief is delusional. Obama still needs those folks if we hope to get some of this economic stimulus through, ESPECIALLY the health reform stuff. I think that’s his calculation. It’s callous, because it’s essentially trading the lives of those in Guantanamo for economic mess created by a bunch of over-privileged and corrupt capitalist elite, but it’s politics, which is ideologically corrupt at its core, because a person cannot get elected to the office of a country as multi-cultural as ours based on ideological purity.

    So I am willing to wait. I will wait until the end of this year, to put on arbitrary date on it. If he’s still holding water for the Bush administration at that point, I am going to be pissed.

  71. 71
    JenJen says:

    @Jules Crittenden » Finger To The Breeze:

    …here’s the potty-mouthed communications instructor also known as John Cole…

    ZOMG! John, Jules Crittenden says you’ve arrived! Again!

  72. 72
    liberal says:

    @kevin:

    …but firstly, Bush had historical precedent in holding them without habeas corpus—namely Obama’s erstwhile hero Abraham Lincoln.

    LOL!

    Yes, Lincoln and Bush faced the same set of circumstances. Uh huh.

  73. 73
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    I’m not a legal expert, but the nagging question that’s been bothering me about all of this is this; does the United States actually have the power to bring charges in US courts against people for actions alleged to have occured outside of this country?

    Yep, pretty much.

  74. 74
    anna missed says:

    Every day it looks more and more like Obama’s real strategy was always one of, rhope-a-dope.

  75. 75
    bago says:

    Re: Brietbart. I would say he was schooled, but that might imply he learned something.

  76. 76
    Napoleon says:

    This is one of the only issues I would be willing to cut Obama a years worth of slack to figure out (assuming he is not adding to the people they are holding with no intention of charging).

    He truely has nothing but bad choices facing him, none of them really less bad then the others.

  77. 77
    Montysano says:

    @Comrade Kevin:

    That Breitbart yahoo is on Real Time tonight. What an eejit. Within 5 minutes he mentioned Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, and I changed the channel. Fucking tool.

    And the other panelist, whats-iz-name Dyson, basically filibustered. Not a great Real Time. Thank god for Sarah Silverman at the end; she’s adorable.

  78. 78
    Svensker says:

    @mclaren:

    If you like that one, you’ll love this: Obama has declared the text of the upcoming international IP protection treaty a state secret, so it can’t be divulged.

    And how the heck does THAT work?

    So far, the transparency that Obama talked about seems pretty DOA.

  79. 79
    Svensker says:

    @TheOfficialHatOnMyCat:

    What Obama is doing strikes me as being just exactly right.

    What any leading Dem does strikes you as being "exactly right". Anyone who criticizes the beloved Dem is charged with being a howling wolf. I got news for ya, baby….whoooooooooooooooooo.

    Worshiping at the feet of any politician, even ones we pretty much like, isn’t gonna do it.

    Aaaaaaaaawhoooooooooooo.

  80. 80
    Svensker says:

    @TheOfficialHatOnMyCat:

    Spoof.

    Link?

  81. 81
    Jason F says:

    @Montysano:

    And the other panelist, whats-iz-name Dyson, basically filibustered. Not a great Real Time. Thank god for Sarah Silverman at the end; she’s adorable.

    Were we watching the same show? I thought Dyson took Breitbart apart two or three times. Of course, Breitbart is so god-awful stupid that he kept right on going, but I can’t imagine anyone in the audience walking away and not recognizing, for example, Breitbart’s contempt for "black studies" for what it really is.

  82. 82
    Cyrus says:

    Obama is clearly saying that he has that power under American and international law. So, he has placed his actions firmly under both Congressional and Judicial scrutiny, as he admits his authority rests on their laws and not on war powers.

    Agreed, and I’ve been thinking for a little while now that this is the important part. If Obama simply closed Guantanamo by presidential fiat, would that solve anything?

    The problem isn’t that the rules let Bush do something bad; the problem is that Bush broke the rules. If Obama just fixes it himself, the next president could do something similar just as easily. But if the courts clean up Bush’s mess, it’ll be much harder for any president in the future to do something like that again. It’s that separation of powers thing – relying on one president to check the next is stupid, we need to get the courts to do their jobs again. (Or rather, make it easier for them to do their jobs.)

    I know, I know, Obamabot grasping at straws etc.

  83. 83
    media browski says:

    John,

    It was just a couple months ago that you were amazed at how fast dems turn on their own, especially when a pet issue is involved.

    Welcome to the Party! You are one with us now!

  84. 84
    valdivia says:

    The AP as a source will always give anything Obama does a republican analysis. There is something deeply smart about what Obama is doing here. Like everything else he does he is methodically putting together a legal basis for changing the mess the Bushies left and making sure that in undoing it there is no doubt about what the legal logic is going forward and why the previous rules were unconstitutional. What to many may seem a vapid switch of nomenclature is actually a change in legal logic which will result in a complete change in how the army, the govt, the judiciary can deal with the Guatanamo mess. This is no small thing. If he just waved a wand he would be no better than Bush, the fact he did this is what makes him completely different. He is now grounding our actions in international law. Just saying ‘no more torture’ was important, this is the legal equivalent of this. You critics should be excited not freaking disappointed!

  85. 85

    This is a filing in a single court case. It’s a mistake to try to draw a complete picture from such a filing – lawyers argue whatever they want at any moment in any given case.

    The true test will be the results of the Gitmo review.

  86. 86
    D-Chance. says:

    I wasn’t one of the wild-eye Obama supporters who thought everything was going to be different the moment he took office, and I still think it is far to early to judge the overall policy of Team Obama…

    BOLMAO!

  87. 87
    Tsulagi says:

    Appears Obama is arguing authority to hold detainees indefinitely comes not from presidential war powers, but from the 2001 AUMF passed by Congress. Last month before the 9th Circuit argued damning or potentially exculpatory evidence was a state secret. And that any cases in which the administration claims state secrets should be dismissed by a court without evidentiary hearings.

    Repackaged Bush. John Yoo would be proud. Probably soon will start strutting, get a head bob thing going while saying “Who’s your daddy?!”

  88. 88

    Aaaaaaaaawhoooooooooooo.

    Warren Zevon? Love it.

  89. 89

    Apparently, the renunciation of the doctrine that the President has inherent authority as Commander in Chief to detain people isn’t such a big deal after all.

    For a few years, people were writing about it as if it was a big deal. I seem to remember Mr. Cole writing a piece or two to that effect.

    But I guess it’s not such a big deal after all.

  90. 90
    gwangung says:

    Appears Obama is arguing authority to hold detainees indefinitely comes not from presidential war powers, but from the 2001 AUMF passed by Congress.

    In other words, re-asserting checks and balances and shared authority.

    How is that repackaged Bush?

  91. 91
    Screamin' Demon says:

    @KRK:

    Wasn’t there a vow sometime in the recent past not to form opinions (and blog posts) based on an AP story about how the Obama administration isn’t really doing anything differently from Bush? I swear we’ve been here before.

    If this story came from a journalist I respected, perhaps I might feel the way John feels about it. But it doesn’t.

    Nedra Pickler. Associated Press.

    ‘Nuff said.

  92. 92
    Tsulagi says:

    @gwangung:

    How is that repackaged Bush?

    By the Yoo-ianesque interpretation of that AUMF.

    I recall a line in Obama’s inauguration speech something along the lines of “Americans need not sacrifice their ideals to ensure security.”

    More walk, less transcendy talk please.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] more bitterness on the left. Slightly off topic, but here’s the potty-mouthed communications instructor also known as John Cole whining about the semantics of Guantanamo. One of the Cornerites quipped “Maybe President Bush […]

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