You Can Go Your Own Way

Greg Sargent documents the WH pushback against the Republicans and Joementum, and makes an interesting point:

The White House is pushing back hard on Joe Lieberman and select Republicans, who are seizing on the thwarted terror plot to renew calls for Guantanamo to be kept open, saying in no uncertain terms that the facility will still be closed because it remains a “national security imperative” to do so.

***

But a senior administration official emails that plans to close the facility haven’t changed — and that the administration is sticking to its scheme of releasing some detainees and trying or indefinitely holding others.

***

Again, what’s striking here is how alone the White House is in making this argument. Congressional Dems have balked at providing key funding necessary to facilitate the tranfser of some detainees to rural Illinois.

What’s more, with Republicans using the thwarted plot to amplify their critique of Obama’s broader counter-terrorism efforts, Dems are refusing to step forward and defend the administration’s general approach. Nor are they making the case that the official made above: That even with the thwarted plot, closing Gitmo isn’t a threat to our security.

More of the same. Once again the WH is going it alone, with their “allies” nowhere to be found or, as is the case with Feinstein, working against them. About the only thing missing from this narrative from the rest of the year is the left flank vocally attacking him for not caring about civil liberties enough. I’m sure that will be coming shortly, as well as new ActBlue accounts and fundraising letters.

And meanwhile, lost in the whole process, is that the WH is cleaning up yet another mess not of their creation. This is yet another one of George and Dick’s Augean stables.

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178 replies
  1. 1
    tamied says:

    I keep thinking that Obama is going to get so disgusted with everything he’s just going to quit!

  2. 2
    Seebach says:

    So, if Obama was attacking Iran, this wouldn’t have happened, according to Newt? Or… are we supposed to attack Nigeria now?

    I get so confused since just using the FBI and CIA to catch terrorists is not acceptable.

  3. 3
    SGEW says:

    This is yet another one of George and Dick’s Augean stables.

    I’m just hoping that the correct legendary analogy is indeed Hercules and not, as I fear, Sisyphus.

    Also, @tamied: I’ve been linking to this Onion piece a lot, but one more time won’t hurt.

  4. 4
    Zandar says:

    I love Double G to death, but you absolutely know his Salon column will be “Don’t be fooled by Obama’s continued failures on Gitmo”

  5. 5
    Pliny_the_Elder says:

    I think there is a pretty big difference between “not caring about civil liberties enough” and “adopting and expanding the Bush/Cheney ‘state secrets privilege’ to prevent any court from even holding a trial involving rendition, torture, or indefinite detention”. The fact that a constitutional lawyer who promised to end these despicable Constitution-shredding abuses is instead embracing them really is a valid reason to attack him, and I can’t see any reason to excoriate anyone who does so.

  6. 6
    slag says:

    @SGEW:

    Also, @tamied: I’ve been linking to this Onion piece a lot, but one more time won’t hurt.

    As is always the case with the Onion, that title was brilliant.

  7. 7
    Mayken says:

    @Seebach: Yemen. I know, hard to keep track without a play bill, isn’t it?

  8. 8
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    The White House is pushing back hard on Joe Lieberman and select Republicans

    Wow, helping Lieberman get reelected and hold on to his chairmanships was such a good idea. Someone should have warned Obama that this could backfire on him.

    the left flank vocally attacking him for not caring about civil liberties enoug

    Yeah. About that: If anyone gets moved from Gitmo to Illinois, are they going to be given fair trials and released? Nope. They will be held indefinitely, just in case. Because that’s the American way, it seems.

    Dems are refusing to step forward and defend the administration’s general approach

    What a shame! Because Obama’s approach is so different from Bush’s. Bush sent our military overseas to blow up goatherders so terrorists wouldn’t attack us here, whereas Obama is sending our military overseas to blow up goatherders so terrorists won’t attack us here.

  9. 9
    seabe says:

    I’m undecided. Spencer Ackerman made a point the other day that there’s no need to transfer them if you just give them all trials; if that’s the case, then I’d join in blocking the transfer.

    http://attackerman.firedoglake.....mmissions/

  10. 10
    slag says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.:

    Wow, helping Lieberman get reelected and hold on to his chairmanships was such a good idea. Someone should have warned Obama that this could backfire on him.

    OK. At this point, I think it would be nice if we’d all just agree to start moving forward through time. If you’re not going to prosecute him for his crimes, you’ve got to forgive.

  11. 11
    Zifnab says:

    Again, what’s striking here is how alone the White House is in making this argument. Congressional Dems have balked at providing key funding necessary to facilitate the tranfser of some detainees to rural Illinois.

    An illustrative case in point. Whatever bad thing that is sad about the President can be said a hundred times over of the Congress.

    Obama really must be the liberal boogie man the right wing paints him as if funding a supermax prison in a rural reddish state to hold suspected terror suspects is “too liberal” for the current Congress.

    This is the same Congress that – thanks to a handful of Blue Dog holdouts and a goosestep lockstep Republican opposition – couldn’t pass a public option.

    And it’ll be the same Congress that thwarts a progress agenda straight through the elections in 2010. I’m really not even going to regret seeing some of those Conserva-crats lose their jobs next November.

  12. 12
    Mary says:

    About the only thing missing from this narrative from the rest of the year is the left flank vocally attacking him for not caring about civil liberties enough. I’m sure that will be coming shortly, as well as new ActBlue accounts and fundraising letters.

    This. And I would dearly like to know where all that money has been going.

  13. 13
    Corner Stone says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.: Listen, we’re bombing Yemen just the fast as we fucking can!
    It takes a couple hours to re-route those damned drones away from the Paki border you know. They don’t grow on trees!
    We just can’t be bombing those Yemens any damn faster!

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    @Zifnab:

    Whatever bad thing that is sad about the President

    I thought this bore repeating, in blockquote form.

  15. 15

    Didn’t Joementum chastise Dems for not supporting a war time President? Teh Google knows.

    “It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril,” Lieberman said.

    And as for the rest of the Dems? Spineless is as spineless does.

  16. 16
    Waynski says:

    I’m surprised Jim Webb isn’t out there defending the closing of GITMO. Seems like he’d be the perfect candidate. Although after nine months of trying to smack down daily Republican lies about healthcare, I can forgive them all for wanting a bit of a break. Unfortunately, teh crazy never takes a day off.

  17. 17
    wilfred says:

    Uh-oh. Something tells me we are in for a strong but measured response carefully crafted to deter any future attacks.

    What’s the over and under on dead Muslims before the State of the Union address?

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.:

    Yeah. About that: If anyone gets moved from Gitmo to Illinois, are they going to be given fair trials and released? Nope. They will be held indefinitely, just in case. Because that’s the American way, it seems.

    Even the Bush Admin was willing to release select Gitmo prisoners – abet entirely too slowly and after several SCOTUS decisions.

    I think if you’ve got a court willing to verify a prisoner is no longer a threat, you’ll have a White House willing to release him. If you’ve got a guy without sufficient evidence to convict who has spent the last six years writing “Die, America! Die!” on his cell wall with blood and feces, you’d kinda be nuts to let him out anyway.

    Bush Administration policies have helped radicalize untold numbers of young muslims. All Obama can do at this point is mop up the mess as best as the situation allows. And if Congress can’t even front the funds for domestic prison and trial system for foreign suspects, what kind of luck do you think he’ll have cutting them loose?

  19. 19
    CalD says:

    I’ll make the same comment I made on Sargent’s blog. There’s a syndrome called Learned Helplessness that’s common in mistreated animals and often a factor in clinical depression. But it’s also what makes shock collars work for animal training (leaving aside the question of how humane that is). Once an animal learns that every time they go near an antenna they get an electric shock, you can take the collar off and they still won’t go near it — unless you bodily drag them there repeatedly to prove it’s OK.

    I note that Democrats in congress have a lot of recent experience getting the shit kicked out of them on the subject of national security. And you’re certainly correct that no one on the left can ever be too confident anyone has their back if they do step up. We do seem to love eating our own.

  20. 20
    Corner Stone says:

    @Pliny_the_Elder:

    I think there is a pretty big difference between “not caring about civil liberties enough” and “adopting and expanding the Bush/Cheney ‘state secrets privilege’ to prevent any court from even holding a trial involving rendition, torture, or indefinite detention”. The fact that a constitutional lawyer who promised to end these despicable Constitution-shredding abuses is instead embracing them really is a valid reason to attack him, and I can’t see any reason to excoriate anyone who does so.

    Quoting all of this because it is entirely true. Won’t change a damn thing here though. Cole’s set it just right so if you do in fact have an issue with any aspect of “civil liberties” re: Obama you will be mocked and slammed endlessly for saying so.
    You will then be challenged to find the votes in Congress to make something enter the art of the possible.

  21. 21

    @seabe: Whether or not they get trials is beside the point. The closing of Gitmo is important from a PR standpoint. War crimes were committed there and it’s closing is a clear signal that those days are now over. Sure it’s symbolic, but it is an important symbol.

  22. 22
    Zifnab says:

    @Corner Stone: Typo nitpicking bastard.

  23. 23
    Corner Stone says:

    @Waynski:

    Although after nine months of trying to smack down daily Republican lies about healthcare, I can forgive them all for wanting a bit of a break.

    Like 3 of them did that. I don’t recall ever seeing Webb or Tester or any number of a bunch of others piping up too much.

  24. 24
    Faux Outrage says:

    About the only thing missing from this narrative from the rest of the year is the left flank vocally attacking him for not caring about civil liberties enough.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....=122043015

  25. 25
    Corner Stone says:

    @Zifnab: God, it is so true.
    I did enjoy the false humor in it to imagine the President haz a sad.

  26. 26
    gbear says:

    More of the same.

    It could be sooo much worse.

    ::cough:: President McCain ::cough::

    We’re very lucky that the guy being targeted with all this bullshit is a reasonable non-petty grownup with an eye on the future. Not perfect, but man it could be soo much worse.

    That said, I agree that it would be a treat to see a couple of democratic legislators actually rally behind the guy. wtf

    -gbot

  27. 27
    Ash Wing League says:

    You forgot about how Rahm’s to blame for all this because Obama is just his puppet and how they really hate all lefties because they haven’t done everything they promised in one year!

  28. 28
    Lolis says:

    Democrats just can’t seem to support Obama when he does right. As many commentators here prove they just want to bring up another issue where he hasn’t been perfect to excuse themselves for not supporting him now.

    As for Lieberman, if he had become a Republican he’d have a more powerful voice than now. He would show how liberal Obama is that Obama drove out the Democratic VP candidate. As much as I despise Lieberman, it is strategically better to have him on our side.

  29. 29
    John Cole says:

    @wilfred: That is already happening. 49 Yemeni civilians were killed earlier in the week by either their own or the Saudi air force.

  30. 30
    ajr22 says:

    Drama, drama, drama. The village is similar to a 19 year old girl who thinks her boy friend is cheating on her. They are super paranoid, attack without getting the full story, and if your an outside observer they are annoying as HELL. I just wish we had adults who lived in DC.

  31. 31
    John Cole says:

    I was under the impression that Obama supported Lamont once he was the nominee. He only supported Lieberman in the primary.

    Not that this will get in the way of the haters.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    @wilfred: See mine @ 13.

  33. 33
    Jack says:

    @tamied:

    One hopes.

    Then again, he’s got a few water carriers left, so maybe he is long distance encouraged to continue ruining the liberal brand.

  34. 34
    John Cole says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.: How about you back him up once in a while and provide him some maneuvering room?

    Nah, fuck it. WORSE THAN BUSH is so much more fun.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @Lolis:

    As for Lieberman, if he had become a Republican he’d have a more powerful voice than now.

    He would have no power if he were currently caucusing with the R’s. He knows that, we know that. It’s the fact that he’s the Last Honest Man ™ inside the D caucus that gives him his power.

  36. 36
    Jack says:

    @wilfred:

    We’ve already got the Dubya-Obama Admin bombing Yemen. An over/under now seems a bit belated…

  37. 37
    silentbeep says:

    “About the only thing missing from this narrative from the rest of the year is the left flank vocally attacking him for not caring about civil liberties enough. I’m sure that will be coming shortly, as well as new ActBlue accounts and fundraising letters.”

    Oh this has been brewing for awhile. The Nation had Julian Sanchez a libertarian write for them about civil libertarian failures in the new administration, and this is also one of the favorite subjects of Glenzilla.

  38. 38
    kay says:

    Senators only make public statements about policy they support.

    I know that obvious answer belies all the feverish conspiracy theory about Obama’s ulterior motives, on everything from health care to civil liberties, but if the silence and outright opposition by Democrats in Congress to any practical measure that actually moves toward closing that prison isn’t a clue, I would suggest you’re hearing hoofbeats and looking for unicorns instead of horses.

  39. 39

    I really don’t get the fascination with Gitmo. Build a wide moat around the Supermax and put sharks in it. Problem solved. And it’s shovel-ready!

  40. 40
    Waynski says:

    @ Corner Stone — Thinking back on who spoke out on healthcare, I think you’re right. I remember Rockefeller, and Brown in the Senate the most and really only remember Weiner from the House. Point taken.

  41. 41
    MBunge says:

    “I think there is a pretty big difference between “not caring about civil liberties enough” and “adopting and expanding the Bush/Cheney ‘state secrets privilege’ to prevent any court from even holding a trial involving rendition, torture, or indefinite detention”.”

    Yeah, looking at the past year of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, continuing ugliness in Iraq as we hope to withdraw, having no sword for the Gordian Knot that is Afghanistan, facing the need for even more economic stimulus in the near future and wanting to get to other issues like financial re-regulation and immigration reform not long after that…I can’t imagine why Obama doesn’t want to add a years long death struggle over criminally prosecuting members of the Bush Administration to his “to do” list.

    Mike

  42. 42
    Ash Wing League says:

    @John Cole:

    It was Harold Ford who supported Lieberman during the general election. And for all his trouble, Lieberman said absolutely nothing when Ford was attacked with all those racist ads. Some loyalty there, Joe.

  43. 43
    Jack says:

    @MBunge:

    It’s much simpler than that: you don’t prosecute your predecessor for things you yourself continue to do.

    See how easy to use is Master Ockham’s Razor, when you put down the buckets of water?

  44. 44
    Ash says:

    And meanwhile, lost in the whole process, is that the WH is cleaning up yet another mess not of their creation.

    But even you, John Cole, have stated that you’re upset they haven’t closed Gitmo fast enough, despite having no backing and no funds.

  45. 45
    Tomlinson says:

    @Ash Wing League:

    You forgot about how Rahm’s to blame for all this because Obama is just his puppet and how they really hate all lefties because they haven’t done everything they promised in one year!

    If Obama actually walked on water, the teabaggers would ban water, the more normal republicans would claim that it was a trick! and the far left would say the water wasn’t deep enough to count.

    And somebody would blame Rahm for something.

  46. 46
    wilfred says:

    A few days ago I posted a link to a NYT propaganda piece on YEMEN>AL QAEDA>GWOT, etc. Then we get this terrorist incident and it’s already set in stone – YEMEN>AL QAEDA, etc.

    Color me skeptical. We’ve already gots lots of advisors there, and death squads ferreting out suspected terrorists withs strong links to Osama bin Laden and the movement to restore the Caliphate and kill white people. Time to go deep.

    I’m guessing cruise missile strikes to ‘take out senior al Qaeda leadership’ responsible for the testicaterrorist plot.

  47. 47
    beltane says:

    @John Cole: You can tell them this until you’re blue in the face and it just doesn’t matter. There are plenty of so-called progressives who are as averse to facts as your average wingnut.

  48. 48
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Ash Wing League: That’s unfair–Joe Lieberman is 100% loyal to his party. The Connecticut for Lieberman party. He loves that party so much he would fall on his sword to help its candidate.

  49. 49
    Martin says:

    @Seebach: I think we’re supposed to attack the Netherlands, actually. Remember, most of the 9/11 guys were Saudi, but we didn’t attack them. It’s the Netherlands that looked the other way while a terrorist could have smuggled a nuclear bomb in his ass, therefore they need to be overthrown. Besides, that’s where the World Court is, and they threaten US sovereignty.

    I think Cheney would have totally nuked their ass over this.

  50. 50
    The Moar You Know says:

    @ajr22: Soooooo….the village is this chick, then.

    “You’ve ruined my life! I’ll never be on TV any more.”

    Indeed, no worse punishment for a Villager. Or a whore. But I repeat myself.

  51. 51
    danimal says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Can we equip the sharks with lasers on their heads? If yes, we’ve got a deal.

  52. 52
    scudbucket says:

    @seabe: I’m undecided. Spencer Ackerman made a point the other day that there’s no need to transfer them if you just give them all trials; if that’s the case, then I’d join in blocking the transfer.

    The transfer to civil courts is part of the process to re-establish the rule of law: fair trial, evidence, all that. It also signals, to some extent, that the US is moving away from over-reliance on the enemy combatant/indefinite detention/military tribunal model, which is legally questionable (even tho Obama apparently hasn’t rejected that model outright). On what grounds do you advocate blocking the transfer?

  53. 53

    @danimal:
    Done! I’m sure we can get a defense contractor to whip some of those up right away, for $1 billion or so.

    And only slightly OT, but I’m finding this whole GOS/FDL foodfight with FDL people posting at DKos the same things they are posting on FDL just to get into pissing matches to be highly childish.

    If you’re going to have a blog fight, delink, stick to your own blog, fercrissake. It’s dodgeball, not come into your enemies house and piss everyone off.

  54. 54
    Mike in NC says:

    As much as I despise Lieberman, it is strategically better to have him on our side.

    My biggest wish for 2010 is that Lieberman sleeps with the fishes.

  55. 55
    geg6 says:

    I have searched my conscience on this matter and I have to say that his stance on Gitmo is where I become an Obot again. I just don’t know what else he can do and he has taken a practical stance that, other than the teabaggers I know, everyone I’ve discussed this with has agreed is the best of nothing but bad options. Congress is nothing but a buncha cowards, every one of them. I stand behind the President here, not happily but as a pragmatic choice. It’s truly a pile of odious crap. And we have to make some sort of stand, symbolically, of closing Gitmo. It symbolizes too much and we have to at least make the gesture, feeble as it may be.

  56. 56
    John S. says:

    the Dubya-Obama Admin

    This phrase is mind-numbingly stupid, and yet another rightwing frame being used by those on the “left”.

    The line between teabagger and firebagger gets more blurred by the day…

  57. 57
    Davis X. Machina says:

    My biggest wish for 2010 is that Lieberman sleeps with the fishes.

    Republican governor…bad idea. You’ll swap an asshole who occasionally votes with you for an asshole who never votes with you.

  58. 58
    Martin says:

    @Tom Hilton: And yet, in what should be a huge warning to all Connecticut voters, he lost control of Connecticut for Lieberman to John Orman, who has used the party to attack Lieberman every time he steps out of line with the Dem Caucus.

    Joe lost control of a party named after him and with about 25 people in it.

  59. 59
    JGabriel says:

    slag:

    If you’re not going to prosecute [Lieberman] for his crimes, you’ve got to forgive.

    Or keep collecting evidence until you can nail the fucker.

    .

  60. 60
    MBunge says:

    “It’s much simpler than that: you don’t prosecute your predecessor for things you yourself continue to do.”

    What laws is Obama continuing to break and what war crimes is he continuing to commit?

    Mike

  61. 61
    Joe Beese says:

    Do you ever just sit and cry, John, as you contemplate the saintly forbearance Obama must demonstrate as he is viciously attacked by the “progressive friends” he only wishes to help?

    It’s just not fair, I tell you.

  62. 62
    burnspbesq says:

    @Pliny_the_Elder:

    “adopting and expanding the Bush/Cheney ‘state secrets privilege’ to prevent any court from even holding a trial involving rendition, torture, or indefinite detention”

    WTF are you talking about??? Link, please.

  63. 63
    Max says:

    I find great comfort in knowing that the Obama admin is accutely aware of what they are dealing with, i.e. dems and bloggers, and clearly, they are forging ahead regardless.

    Obama’s approvals are the highest they have been in like 2 months, 53%, so it seems the country gets it.

  64. 64
    phantomist says:

    “You’ve ruined my life! I’ll never be on TV any more.”

    Alright, what would actually have to happen to make these words spill from McCain’s pie hole.
    My best guess, David Gregory discovering that Johnny boy has been living without a p-enis for the last 40 years.

  65. 65
    Mike E says:

    It’s starting to get all Orange in here…

  66. 66
    Jack says:

    @John S.:

    “Mind numbingly stupid” is apologizing for bad decisions, just because the person doing so has (D) next to his name, and speaks prettier than his predecessor, with an (R} – despite the fact that all major policy decision are carried about by nearly the same persons, towards the same ends, and with the same class interests in mind.

    Obama may have campaigned on the masterful Hope and Change mythos, but he has governed on Continuity, and done so from day one, and his craven capitulation to Bush Admin holdovers, such as Geithner, Gates and Bernanke.

    But, I guess the apologist temperament is more enduring, Mr. Cole, than the party affiliation.

    Apologize for Bush stupidity, apologize for Obama stupidity – your MO remains the same: carrying water for those in power.

  67. 67
    Jack says:

    @MBunge:

    The failure by commanding authority to prosecute or stop war crimes is, gasp!, a war crime.

    Read your Genevas, and US law, before you toss around the words.

    And killing innocents (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia) in illegal acts of war is still a war crime, even if we no longer follow our own Nuremberg lead.

  68. 68

    @Jack:
    FSM, so we’ve now gotten to the point where Obama is a war criminal too.

    Shoot. Me. Now.

    ETA: Geithner worked for gov’t for a long time before Bush. He was promoted to the NY Fed during the Bush admin, but IIRC, that would have been done by Greenspan.

  69. 69
    Chyron HR says:

    @Jack:

    Water-carriers carrying water, put down the buckets of water.

    I’m not sure I quite understand the metaphor you’re using. Perhaps you should repeat it several more times to clarify your point.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    John Cole says:

    Apologize for Bush stupidity, apologize for Obama stupidity – your MO remains the same: carrying water for those in power.

    So now, by pointing out there are no Democrats supporting Obama when it comes to closing Gitmo, I am apologizing for those in powers?

    Do you think Gitmo should be closed? Yes or no.

  72. 72
    scudbucket says:

    @geg6: Yes. Agreed. Even tho I’m disappointed about some things, overall, the guy really has moved the rock uphill. There has been a tendency on some threads to conflate hating the HCR bill with hating Obama. That’s unfortunate, since I think all of us here (excepting the trolls) really do want to see good Democratic governance lead to more and better Democrats in Congress.

    One small example of this: drug reps. can no longer influence doctors/hospitals to carry their drugs by giving them gifts of any kind, even including lunches and pens. Seems small, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.

  73. 73
    MBunge says:

    “The failure by commanding authority to prosecute or stop war crimes is, gasp!, a war crime.

    Read your Genevas, and US law, before you toss around the words.

    And killing innocents (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia) in illegal acts of war is still a war crime, even if we no longer follow our own Nuremberg lead.”

    Thanks for demonstrating exactly what Cole is talking about. You’re so wrapped up in self-righteous Obama hate that you don’t even sustain an argument for more than 30 seconds before flying off on a different rage-fueled tangent.

    1. You say Obama isn’t prosecuting Bush because Obama is guilty of the same behavior.

    2. Then you say what Obama is guilty of is NOT prosecuting Bush.

    WTF?

    Mike

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Republican governor…bad idea. You’ll swap an asshole who occasionally votes with you for an asshole who never votes with you.

    He’s with us on everything but the war.

  75. 75
    burnspbesq says:

    @Jack:

    Dubya-Obama Admin

    Riiiiiiiiight.

    I am not going to call you stupid, because for all I know you could just be misguided. But you have proven yourself capable of writing incredibly stupid shit in the comments on this blog.

  76. 76
    Corner Stone says:

    @MBunge:

    I can’t imagine why Obama doesn’t want to add a years long death struggle over criminally prosecuting members of the Bush Administration to his “to do” list.

    Won’t speak for Pliny but I read the comment to mean – “we’re treating ‘terror’ detainees the same way as before and not giving them trials but seem to be planning to hold them pre-emptively and idefinitely”
    I didn’t think Pliny meant because Bush isn’t in the stockade right now.

  77. 77
    licensed to kill time says:

    @John S.:

    The line between teabagger and firebagger gets more blurred by the day…

    Teafirebaggers? Fireteabaggers? Teed off firebaggers? Fired off teabaggers? Fried teabaggers? Fire your tea before you bag?

    Hold your tea! Fire your bag! Bag your fire!

    I’m just giddy.

  78. 78
    Mako says:

    @danimal:
    And dancing bears? Cuz dancing bears are fun. Just think how more friendly the average LAPD cruiser would look with a couple of dancing bear decals. They’d still stomp your mexican ass face first into the pavement and beat you with sticks, but it would be a different more friendly and heartwarming experience. Like watching old Captain Kangaroo reruns.

  79. 79
    Gay Veteran says:

    “…About the only thing missing from this narrative from the rest of the year is the left flank vocally attacking him for not caring about civil liberties enough….”

    Oh, like repeatedly using the State Secrets doctrine to protect the Bushies from lawsuits and denying those who were tortured their day in court?

  80. 80
    burnspbesq says:

    @geg6:

    I have searched my conscience on this matter and I have to say that his stance on Gitmo is where I become an Obot again. I just don’t know what else he can do and he has taken a practical stance that, other than the teabaggers I know, everyone I’ve discussed this with has agreed is the best of nothing but bad options. Congress is nothing but a buncha cowards, every one of them. I stand behind the President here, not happily but as a pragmatic choice. It’s truly a pile of odious crap. And we have to make some sort of stand, symbolically, of closing Gitmo. It symbolizes too much and we have to at least make the gesture, feeble as it may be.

    What she said. I do wish they’d hurry up and finish the God-damned file reviews, however. Then we won’t have to listen to idiots like Jack claiming that the Administration is dragging its feet because they really want to keep the place open.

  81. 81
    Pliny_the_Elder says:

    @burnspbesq:

    No problem. Glenn Greenwald has been documenting this policy for as long as the Obama Administration has been using it:

    This entry has a comprehensive overview –
    Obama’s latest use of “secrecy” to shield presidential lawbreaking, and this entry includes more details about a case (Mohamed v. Jeppesen) brought against the Boeing subsidiary which assisted the CIA with extraordinary renditions.

    This paragraph (from the second entry linked) describes the policy succinctly:

    The Obama administration now insists that courts must dismiss lawsuits alleging presidential lawbreaking whenever the CIA Director claims the lawsuit would jeopardize state secrets; or, as the <a href=”http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/radio/2009/12/15/wizner/aclu.pdf”>ACLU Brief puts it, “torture victims must be denied a day in court based on an Affidavit submitted by their torturers.” The Obama DOJ has gone on to invoke that same Bush-created version of the secrecy theory to demand dismissal of numerous other cases alleging various types of lawbreaking by the Executive Branch.

  82. 82
    Midnight Marauder says:

    I posted this elsewhere, but I figure who am I to deprive the masses of such happiness?

    OT, but this is too good not to share:

    Lamebook – Facebook Fails, Wins, LOLs, and More

    Obviously, there are some things that are probably NSFW. But it’s so full of awesome, you probably won’t even care.

    Unless you get fired, in which case, that might change things.

  83. 83
    kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    “Seem to be planning”. I love the quality of the evidence that “civil libertarians” rely on to make these bold, sweeping, preemptive indictments.

    You gave up on the cause, closing the Cuban prison, the moment it encountered delay and opposition. Now you’re going to rely on the excuse that it doesn’t actually matter because we “seem to be planning” an inferior process when we move the detainees to the theoretical prison, state-side.

    You’re the lamest advocates for those detainees on the face of the planet. You’re actually harming their individual cases with this incessant excuse-making for your inaction. Do them a favor. Move on to the next outrage. You’re killing them with kindness.

  84. 84
    Cat says:

    @John Cole:

    Do you think Gitmo should be closed? Yes or no.

    If you mean by ‘Gitmo should be closed’ that we’ll release everyone who can’t be tried in a civilian court using legal evidence, then Yes.

    What the administration means by “Gitmo should be closed” is that they’ll move them from Cuba to somewhere in the US and try people in civilian court if they have legally obtained evidence. They’ll try them in non-civilian courts if the evidence is tainted or hold them indefinitely if they think they are a threat.

    We’ll still have Gitmo, they’ll have just changed its name and location.

  85. 85
    Tecumseh says:

    Wouldn’t the simple answer here be for the WH to compile a list of Democrats who’ve campaigned and/or went on TV saying that Guantanamo must be dismantled, compile a huge video of them doing so, and then threaten to release it to the press as a way of outing them for being the complete spineless wusses that they are? I’m willing to bet that out of all those “silent” Democrats, a whole bunch of them were all for dismantling Guantanamo up until the very moment they actually were able to do so.

  86. 86
    slag says:

    @JGabriel:

    Or keep collecting evidence until you can nail the fucker.

    Can’t disagree with that as far as Lieberman is concerned. But I’ve already prosecuted and convicted Lieberman in my mind. There’s no forgiveness there. And I will defend him only if honesty absolutely requires it. Luckily, the chances of that are pretty slim.

  87. 87
    burnspbesq says:

    @Pliny_the_Elder:

    Still not clear on what your position is. Are you saying that there shouldn’t be a state secrets privilege at all? Or are you saying that the way the state secrets privilege is administered should be reformed?

    If the latter, we are in complete agreement. I’ve been saying that for years, going back to my misguided youth when I hung out at FDL (and for the record, I have been a member of the ACLU since the 1970s and fully agree with its litigating position in this case).

    If the former, you really need a reality check.

  88. 88
    kay says:

    @Cat:

    Cat? They’re individual defendants, not a cause on a list.

    Perhaps you should ask them whether they want to be moved stateside and have their cases reviewed. I know it offends your principles, but we’re talking about individual human beings.

    Is you position that you’ll block their transfer unless you get some guarantee of consistent process for every detainee? Is your position that a review does not matter to those individuals?

    I mean, that’s breathtakingly arrogant. Hey. Did you check with them? Or do they have any role in your outrage?

  89. 89
    John Cole says:

    What the administration means by “Gitmo should be closed” is that they’ll move them from Cuba to somewhere in the US and try people in civilian court if they have legally obtained evidence. They’ll try them in non-civilian courts if the evidence is tainted or hold them indefinitely if they think they are a threat.

    And we should all push against that.

    But even that, from the standpoint of international relations and serving as a cause for terrorist recruitment, is better than keeping Gitmo open, as is.

  90. 90
    MBunge says:

    “Glenn Greenwald has been documenting this policy for as long as the Obama Administration has been using it”

    And typically failing to analyze it in anything other than cartoonish terms of good and evil.

    Mike

  91. 91
    mk3872 says:

    Dems don’t back Obama because they see him as too young, too inexperienced and too foreign, just like their Republican counterparts do.

    They’d rather keep their distance and keep their jobs.

    At least, that appears to be their calculation.

    There is no line of deputies out there for Obama like McCain had with Lieberman, Guiliani, Graham …

  92. 92
    Cat says:

    @kay:

    You’re the lamest advocates for those detainees on the face of the planet. You’re actually harming their individual cases with this incessant excuse-making for your inaction. Do them a favor. Move on to the next outrage. You’re killing them with kindness.

    The administration isn’t going to do away with the practices that makes the illegal prison in Cuba the human rights violation it is. They are just going to move it into the US.

    This administration is still going to imprison people who haven’t been convicted of any crime or who were convicted in using tainted evidence.

    Your support of these policies will lead to these peoples continued shameful imprisonment and fuel hatred of many more terrorists to come.

  93. 93
    Pliny_the_Elder says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I have no problem with the state secrets privilege being used to keep classified information used in a trial secret (as it has been successfully used in the past many times), so I think we agree that expanding the privilege to insist that the trial can not take place at all, as the Obama Administration is doing, is abuse.

  94. 94
    kay says:

    @MBunge:

    I think the detainees who are going to move to trial probably want to be moved to trial. There’s a legal argument that they were warehoused in Cuba because holding them outside the US changed their legal status.
    I’m just guessing. Perhaps they want to sit in Cuba for another 4 years while Glenn Greenwald straightens this mess out, on a policy level, but I doubt it.
    I don’t know: isn’t it sort of easy for him to oppose their transfer, on “all for one, one for all” grounds? Considering he’s walking around free?

  95. 95
    Jay says:

    You’re wrong. His decision to continue unconstitutional detentions without trial, albeit in Illinois rather than at Gitmo, have already been criticized harshly and, unless you don’t give a shit about the Constitution, rightfully.

  96. 96
    MBunge says:

    “This administration is still going to imprison people who haven’t been convicted of any crime or who were convicted in using tainted evidence.

    Your support of these policies will lead to these peoples continued shameful imprisonment and fuel hatred of many more terrorists to come.”

    And if Obama releases those folks and they commit acts of terror that kill Americans or other people…you’ll do what? Chop off a hand? Put out your eye? Shoot yourself in the head? What exactly will be the consequence to you if your course of action results in death on a small or large scale?

    Mike

  97. 97
    Gay Veteran says:

    some of you posters need to ask yourselves a fundamental question: would I be supporting Obama on this issue if he was Bush instead?

    Sorry, but having a “D” after your name doesn’t earn my automatic support.

  98. 98
    burnspbesq says:

    @John Cole:

    And we should all push against that.

    Agreed. If we can’t convict them in the United States District Court with the admissible evidence we have, they should be cut loose. Period, Full Stop.

  99. 99
    Jay says:

    @John Cole: Gitmo wasn’t a problem because of location. That’s nonsense.

  100. 100
    Jay says:

    @MBunge: Cowardly words from a scared little person. As someone who lives in a terrorist target (Chicago) you can keep your cowardice. I’ll take the Constitution back please.

  101. 101
    Tsulagi says:

    No one could ever predict in their never ending fear of the R-baggers getting mad at them and calling them names congressional Dems would side against the president on Gitmo. As grandpa would say, politicians are as worthless as tits on a nun.

    IIRC, when President Obama announced in January he would close Gitmo within a year some on this blog bitched at the length of time. I said it would be a quick pace to do so in a year’s time. And it would have been. Given the opposition and foot dragging within his own party, got no problem with Obama in that obviously it’s going to take longer than a year.

    However, would like to see him a little more forceful at least with his own party. Instead of what was floated last week supposedly from an admin source that they were considering revisiting the Thomson purchase or similar facility in 2011. After the midterms.

    Wouldn’t mind Obama telling congressional Dem leadership to get it done or he’d do an end run around them before the midterms. While he can’t use funding specifically allocated to Gitmo (not that that would have stopped the previous admin; see siphoning off hundreds of millions of OEF funding for advance planning and logistical needs for their upcoming Iraq wetdream), DoD has funding not specifically earmarked that can and is used for contingencies. Obama could direct some of those funds be used for the Thomson supermax purchase or lease as CIC in the GWOT. Then let the R-baggers, or even the Dems, try to get a SCOTUS ruling he isn’t.

  102. 102
    Mike E says:

    @mk3872:
    Obama as Country Club usurper fits better here. Except that Lieberman is somehow a member — what Groucho said.

  103. 103
    Cat says:

    @John Cole:

    But even that, from the standpoint of international relations and serving as a cause for terrorist recruitment, is better than keeping Gitmo open, as is.

    Oh, I’m sure the closing of Gitmo will be a PR win for everyone who wants to believe the closing of Gitmo actually ends our human rights abuses. Everyone wants to believe the crazy uncle is back on his meds for good.

    But I have a hunch there might be a foreign news network or two out there who will see through the PR stunt and continue to point out the closing of Gitmo was just a gesture and we are still continuing on with our human rights abuses.

  104. 104
    kwAwk says:

    More of the same. Once again the WH is going it alone, with their “allies” nowhere to be found or, as is the case with Feinstein, working against them. About the only thing missing from this narrative from the rest of the year is the left flank vocally attacking him for not caring about civil liberties enough. I’m sure that will be coming shortly, as well as new ActBlue accounts and fundraising letters.

    Aye ye ye……..

    Once again the White House is going it alone? You’ve got to be kidding?

    Need we remind you that it was the President’s allies in Congress who got the Stimulus Passed, passed the Ledbetter Act and worked for months to get what Healthcare Reform passed that we did get passed?

    I applaud Obama for finding a backbone on this issue, but had he shown the same amount of backbone on the Public Option his allies in Congress would probably have taken one on this issue for him.

  105. 105
    kay says:

    @Cat:

    I don’t think you know that. I think if you say it with enough certainty it sounds good, though.
    Too, I think, just as a general rule, advocates would do well to check with those they’re advocating for, before making bold and principled decisions on their behalf, decisions that impede their transfer, and might well offer them an advantage as to legal status. As individuals. One at a time.
    We’ll hold them all in Cuba until you’re satisfied with the guarantees of process. Because your satisfaction is what’s important here.
    That also lets you off the hook as far as pressuring Congress to allow transfer, and leads back to that infuriating Barack Obama.
    I knew you-all would bail on Holder when he had to act, based on opposition to something or other. I wrote it here. He knew it too, I’m betting.

  106. 106
    Adrienne says:

    I do wish they’d hurry up and finish the God-damned file reviews, however

    Imagine walking into Gitmo after taking over from the Bush Administration… Do you honestly think they found an orderly, manageable, correct, and complete set of files on each prisoner they held there? If you think “yes” then you can keep complaining about how long it’s taking (and I have some prime beachfront property in SW Pennsylvania I can sell you) but if you think the answer is “no” then you gotta be patient with them. Who knows exactly what type of fuckery went on down there, I do not envy the ppl who have to wade through all the Bush shit to fix their mess.

  107. 107
    burnspbesq says:

    @Pliny_the_Elder:

    No, we don’t agree. What you are saying is bullshit. The Obama Administration isn’t “expanding” anything. In my thesaurus, “expand” isn’t synonymous with “continue.”

    The Obama Administration is continuing bad policies of the Bush Administration. Which is bad. But your argument is plenty strong enough without “embellishing” it with falsehood.

    If you can show me even one filing in which the Bush DOJ agreed to apply the state secrets privilege on a question-by-question or document-by-document basis, rather than in a motion to dismiss, then I will apologize and accept your characterization of what the Obama DOJ is doing. But I respectfully submit that no such filing exists.

  108. 108
    Mike E says:

    @Jay:
    Yep. Human pyramids are the int’l symbols of justice!

  109. 109
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Joe Beese: Hey, you’re this asshole.

    Please go back and shit in your own litterbox, kthxbai.

  110. 110
    Cat says:

    @MBunge:

    And if Obama releases those folks and they commit acts of terror that kill Americans or other people…you’ll do what? Chop off a hand? Put out your eye? Shoot yourself in the head? What exactly will be the consequence to you if your course of action results in death on a small or large scale?

    I’ll mourn them and honor them the same way I do our soldiers who die to protect the US Constitution and our way of life.

    The same way I mourn and honor the thousands and tens of thousands of people who die in the US every year because of the rights we afforded their killers, all who are American citizens.

    I even mourn and honor the authoritarian douche bags who think their life and their rights are more important then some foreigner’s life and rights.

    Its the difference between actually believing in the values of our country and pretending to believe in them as long as they get you what you want.

  111. 111
    kay says:

    And, for anyone who is wondering why every Right winger on the face of the planet is gunning for the head of DHS, check her record on overturning the worst abuses of the Bush Administration regarding how we treat immigrants who seek asylum, at the Agency level.

    Because that’s what that’s about.

    Someone might want to notify Andrew Sullivan. Who was, I believe once an advocate for sanity in immigration policy, until it stopped affecting him directly.

  112. 112
    kwAwk says:

    @Moar You Know

    What does that even mean? Do people not have the right to criticize Obama here?

  113. 113
    burnspbesq says:

    @Adrienne:

    Do you honestly think they found an orderly, manageable, correct, and complete set of files on each prisoner they held there?

    Of course not. Anyone who is paying attention knows that’s not the case.

    I think they under-resourced the effort. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they under-estimated the scope of the project. But still …

  114. 114
    kay says:

    @MBunge:

    They’ll say Holder did a poor job and is incompetent if that happens. And he’ll be out there alone.

    Come on. You know the answer to that. Thankfully, he does too.

  115. 115
    Corner Stone says:

    @kay: What in the ever loving fuck are you babbling about?

  116. 116
    Corner Stone says:

    @kay:

    “Seem to be planning”. I love the quality of the evidence that “civil libertarians” rely on to make these bold, sweeping, preemptive indictments.

    Well I can’t say we “are” holding them idefinitely because idefinitely is an awful long time, and one which I don’t think either of us will be around for.
    I think it’s fair to say we “are” holding “pre-emptive” terrorists who’ve not “yet” committed a crime. Or is that too bold and sweeping for you to accept also?

  117. 117
    Corner Stone says:

    @kay:

    You gave up on the cause, closing the Cuban prison, the moment it encountered delay and opposition. Now you’re going to rely on the excuse that it doesn’t actually matter because we “seem to be planning” an inferior process when we move the detainees to the theoretical prison, state-side.

    And you can shove this right back down your ignorant piehole. Talk about sweeping, sheesh.
    Please show me where on all the intertrons I have said anything like this.
    I think you’re confused.

  118. 118
    Cat says:

    @kay:

    There is a third category,” said Holder, “where [detainees] will be detained in a way that we think is consistent with due process both in the determination as to whether or not they should be detained and then with regard to periodic review as to whether or not that detention should occur…”

    I’m not sure how you can say I don’t “know” this will happen when Holder says to congress that the adminstration will indeed be holding detainees without criminal convictions and/or indefinitely.

    Well, I imagine you want to believe they won’t be doing it even though they continue to say they will be doing it.

  119. 119
    Corner Stone says:

    @kay:

    You’re the lamest advocates for those detainees on the face of the planet. You’re actually harming their individual cases with this incessant excuse-making for your inaction. Do them a favor. Move on to the next outrage. You’re killing them with kindness.

    And I honestly don’t even know what this means. I’d prefer our government follow the Constitution and that makes me lame?
    How have I harmed their cases in any way? Or is it “people like me”, being people who “damage the Obama admin” by asking them to follow the law? Is that what you meant sweetie?

  120. 120
    MBunge says:

    Jay – “Cowardly words from a scared little person. As someone who lives in a terrorist target (Chicago) you can keep your cowardice. I’ll take the Constitution back please.”

    1. Spare me any version of the internet tough guy routine.

    2. This isn’t about cowardice. This is about a sense of responsiblity. You really, really, REALLY don’t want the President of the United States being the sort of guy who says “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall” in this or any other circumstance. It’s not so bad for Glenn Greenwald to be that way, but it’s self-indulgent for him to not recognize that Obama isn’t and shouldn’t be that way.

    Mike

  121. 121
    kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Lame response from a lame advocate.

    I think the detainees probably want to move to hearing, unless they’re radically different than any defendant I’ve ever encountered.

    While I recognize that you have grave concerns about the theoretical quality of process at the prison that isn’t yet open, I just feel strongly that they should have more of a say in this than you, because they have years in this.

    But I’m not counting on you to launch a massive lobbying effort on Congress, or anything, and, well, either are they, so carry on with your principled advocacy.

  122. 122
    MBunge says:

    Cat – I’ll mourn them and honor them the same way I do our soldiers who die to protect the US Constitution and our way of life.

    The same way I mourn and honor the thousands and tens of thousands of people who die in the US every year because of the rights we afforded their killers, all who are American citizens.

    I even mourn and honor the authoritarian douche bags who think their life and their rights are more important then some foreigner’s life and rights.

    Its the difference between actually believing in the values of our country and pretending to believe in them as long as they get you what you want.”

    In other words, you’ll do jack shit but pat yourself on the back over how morally brave and resolute you are.

    Mike

  123. 123
    Five Deferment Dick says:

    the adminstration will indeed be holding detainees without criminal convictions and/or indefinitely.

    We’ll be burying Dick before they release the last of these guys. Always look for the silver lining.

  124. 124
    Pliny_the_Elder says:

    @MBunge:

    If you have some better and more Serious way of looking at the Administrative Branch deciding whether or not to grant a person a trial in a court of law, I’m all ears.

  125. 125
    kay says:

    @Cat:

    Cat, are you deliberately missing the point? My understanding is you oppose transfer of these individuals because you’re worried they won’t get proper process.
    Maybe I should be more clear. I don’t think you have jack-all right to oppose their transfer at all. I think that’s a phony-brave stance, and it ignores the rights of these individuals to get to hearing that might affect their legal standing.
    It is offensive to me that you’re barring their progress (theoretically, of course) based on your objection to what Holder may or may not do. I don’t think that’s principled advocacy. I think you’re grandstanding with the actual lives of other people.
    Look, it really doesn’t matter. I didn’t see any real lobbying effort to close Gitmo and transfer the detainees, on the part of the detainee’s advocates, although I saw a lot of grand pronouncements on the rule of law, so it really doesn’t matter if you’re bailing now, based on your principled objection that hearings don’t matter to them.

  126. 126
    Cat says:

    @kay:

    They’ll say Holder did a poor job and is incompetent if that happens. And he’ll be out there alone.

    Come on. You know the answer to that. Thankfully, he does too.

    I think I’ve seen this martyr narrative before…

  127. 127
    John S. says:

    Apologize for Bush stupidity, apologize for Obama stupidity

    Wow, Jack. You win the prize for most incoherent post of the day. Only in the realm of a teabagger/firebagger can such a person even exist. A Bush apologist that is now an Obama apologist??

    Here’s your abbreviated movie script:

    Teabagger: Can you validate this? (extends hand holding card listing wingnut talking points)

    Jack: Yes I can!

  128. 128
    Pliny_the_Elder says:

    @kay:

    The Justice Department has already stated that the only detainees who will be tried in court are those whose cases the government believes it cannot lose. Those whose cases are not “slam dunks” will be tried by military tribunal, and others will receive no trial at all. It has even gone so far as to state that if, by some miracle, one or more of the detainees was found not guilty at trial or tribunal, they will held indefinitely anyway.

    While it’s good to follow Monty Python’s advice and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, hoping that this policy will suddenly be reversed is quite naive.

  129. 129
    Cat says:

    @kay:
    I don’t recall saying they shouldn’t be transferred, I only stated transferring them isn’t the end of the Gitmo human rights abuses and a PR stunt that will hurt us in the long run as everyone figures out its just a PR charade.

    If transferring them to the US will enrich their lives while we detain them illegally then I say we should do it, but don’t claim its an end to our human rights abuses and how good of a job the administration is doing to end our human rights abuses.

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:

    Sometimes I feel like the only person on Earth who remembers that there is, in fact, an ongoing torture investigation by AG Holder.

    But I guess knowing that there’s an ongoing torture investigation would mean having to admit that maybe, possibly the administration is doing something right, and God forbid that should be admitted.

  131. 131

    Hope no one has already posted this – haven’t read through all the comments yet. There are a few Dem voices out there, but as usual, most of them are big wussies.
    http://hotlineoncall.nationalj.....e_bush.php

    Besides, anyone with a brain would realize Obama wants to lower the hysteria temperature about terrorism. It doesn’t mean he’s not paying attention.

    SNAFU. I’m going back to watching Lord Peter movies on line.

  132. 132
    Cat says:

    @MBunge:

    In other words, you’ll do jack shit but pat yourself on the back over how morally brave and resolute you are.

    If they decide you are a threat I guess you’ll have no problems if they lock you up and coerce a false confession or have you falsely accuse another innocent person as its all for the good of the country, right?

    More likely is you’ll scream how you didn’t do anything wrong and your rights are being violated and how ‘special’ you are and don’t deserve your treatment.

    I guess you didn’t realize you gave up your rights the minute you started supporting the Gitmo style detention policies and you continued support of them just further ingrains into their psyche they can do what ever they want.

  133. 133
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    As a lawyer, I get where Kay is coming from. Let me try to splain.

    Lawyers are conditioned from day one, and our ethical rules say it in words too plain to be misunderstood, that the interests of the client come before everything else. If a particular client wants his or her case handled a particular way, you handle it that way so long as you can do so within the boundaries of the applicable law and ethical rules. And if handling a particular client’s case the way they want it handled interferes with the attainment of some other goal, no matter how laudable that other goal may be, that’s just too fucking bad.

    Capisce?

  134. 134
    Cat says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But I guess knowing that there’s an ongoing torture investigation would mean having to admit that maybe, possibly the administration is doing something right, and God forbid that should be admitted.

    Did you read the article? The investigation will create a precedent that its legal to torture along as you follow the instructions on how to torture.

    The whole article is about how the investigation was framed in a specific way to let almost all of the people who ordered and carried out torture off the hook. i.e. Its not a torture investigation but a cover-up with a few sacrificial lambs to make it look like a real investigation.

    I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t think the administration is doing the right thing here.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cat:

    Did you read the article? The investigation will create a precedent that its legal to torture along as you follow the instructions on how to torture.

    That’s how Greenwald assumes the investigation will go. However, since the investigation is still ongoing and involves classified information, he doesn’t know any better than the rest of us how broad or narrow it is.

    Talk about grasping at straws: “There’s a possibility that the investigation might be too narrow but we have no way of knowing that, so let’s assume while it’s still ongoing that it went in a narrow direction so we can criticize the investigation before it’s even over!”

  136. 136
    Jenn says:

    For some reason, the recurring image in my head as I’ve been going through this thread (and similar ones, of late), is a football game. When we took over in January, we got the ball on our own 1 yard line, right on the edge of the abyss. Most of us agree pretty closely (it seems to me) on the end zone we’re trying to reach, it’s just that one group feels like the small-yardage plays that are moving us in the right direction should be encouraged, and another group feels we’re not moving rapidly enough, and wants the big play to get us over the 50-yard line fast. I’m mostly in the first camp, though sympathizing with the second (ok, really I want a mix of plays, but I’ll take whatever first downs I can get) — I want the same end-game, but I also don’t want our side to get sacked, and I **really** don’t want us to turn over the damn ball. [here endeth the sports analogy]

    kay, fwiw, I’ve really appreciated all the posts you’ve made about the detainees over the past many months. I’ve learned a lot, and have been prompted to use teh google to find out more, and I’ve really appreciated it!

  137. 137
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: And this is the comment that sparked kay’s outrage:

    I read the comment to mean – “we’re treating ‘terror’ detainees the same way as before and not giving them trials but seem to be planning to hold them pre-emptively and idefinitely”

    I have nowhere, ever, suggested the prisoners are better off on Gitmo, or should not be transferred, or their lawyers should make some heroic principled stand. I certainly have never said I understand the individual cases better than their attorneys.
    ISTM, and I think it’s pretty simply stated, that I want my government and my DoJ to follow the law and not hold people without hearing or trial.
    The conflation of the issue of Gitmo and it being the sole center in the universe that houses terror detainees is not my problem, and was never my contention.
    kay brought her righteous incorrectness to bear on me for something I never said, nor implied. I don’t mind getting jumped on but usually it’s for the amazingly insightful things I say.
    My carefully worded “seem to be planning” pissed kay off for some unknown reason because it made her think I wanted everyone to hold up at Gitmo and not be transferred stateside – or something. I’m actually not really sure where she came up with a lot of her invective based on my comment.
    And I think it is more than fair of me to say “seem to be planning” based on the fact that the DoJ is prison shopping stateside and also based on Holder’s own testimony.
    And I’ve been wracking my brain to try and remember but I honestly also believe I have never once criticized Obama on moving forward to deal with Gitmo, or expanding a timeline to do so. IIRC my concerns have been with the idea that the policy of pre-emptive incarceration continues and if/when these individuals receive their process ISTM all of them will have to be let go with no accounting for justice due to the way their situations were handled.
    Gitmo is a hell on earth – and other venues would be highly preferable to hold people, of that I can agree with anyone.
    But it is nothing more than a holding ground, no matter how hellish. My issue is the denial of human rights to those being held under our custody, anywhere in the world.

  138. 138
    Cat says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees.”

    That is a direct quote from the DOJ. Please explain to me how it is a misinterpretation to say the DOJ isn’t going to charge people who tortured but followed the guidelines on how to torture.

    There will be some restrictions though, you can’t say water-boarding, stress positions, or walling aren’t torture. You can’t also posit that the DOJ may decide to change the parameters of the investigation at a later date.

  139. 139
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Thanks for the clarification, because I read your prior comment much the same way Kay did, i.e., that you would not want to see individual detainees taking advantage of the current flawed system to get out if that would hold up dismantling the current flawed system.

  140. 140
    kay says:

    @Pliny_the_Elder:

    Is that really what DOJ said?

    Eric Holder said: “We’ll try only those cases we know we can’t lose”?

    Seriously. Is there any rigor or independent thought out there?

    Making stuff up isn’t advocacy. It’s bullshit.

    How in hell is what you’re doing any different than what conservatives do?

  141. 141
    Jenn says:

    @burnspbesq:

    (re. #133) Yes, God forbid that kay actually care that the detainees’ cases are reviewed. Look, I care (and from everything I’ve read of her posts, she appears to care) about the big picture, too. But why on earth are you snarking like that about someone who isn’t jumping on this topic as a cause-du-jour, but has devoted a lot of time to keeping up to date, and who is looking at an issue at how it actually *affects real people*??

  142. 142
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cat:

    That is a direct quote from the DOJ. Please explain to me how it is a misinterpretation to say the DOJ isn’t going to charge people who tortured but followed the guidelines on how to torture.

    “Good faith” and “within the scope” are terms that give ample latitude for the reasoned exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

    If that’s not good enough for you, you are in effect saying that no one, under any circumstances, can ever rely on the advice of counsel to determine whether their behavior is lawful. Sure you want to go there?

  143. 143
    kay says:

    @Pliny_the_Elder:

    And don’t give me any more Greenwald. I read him too, and I recognize his words.

    He’s one lawyer. He’s interesting, and he knows a lot of theory.

    I would love to hear from more than one liberal lawyer, and I would love to hear from a working defense lawyer, rather than an author.

    Is there some reason that we all have to quote Glenn Greenwald?

  144. 144
    burnspbesq says:

    @Jenn:

    You’ve completely lost the plot. Does “@CornerStone” mean anything at all to you? I was standing up for Kay.

    Sheesh.

  145. 145
    kay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Thanks, and I apologize for how cranky this makes me. I’m touchy on the actual defendants. I don’t want them used.

  146. 146
    burnspbesq says:

    @kay:

    No need to apologize. I completely get where you’re coming from.

  147. 147
    kay says:

    @Jenn:

    he was explaining my position, and he did it well, but thanks for your defense.

    I’m going because this whole discussion feels wrong to me, on an individual detainee level, and I’m having trouble articulating that, without being an asshole, and questioning people’s motives.

  148. 148
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cat:

    That is a direct quote from the DOJ. Please explain to me how it is a misinterpretation to say the DOJ isn’t going to charge people who tortured but followed the guidelines on how to torture.

    That’s a pretty basic prosecutorial gambit: “Give us evidence on the guys above you and we’ll give you a pass.” But, hey, let’s prosecute all of the little fish to the max so the big fish can get away scott free — it’s always a great idea to only prosecute the underlings.

  149. 149
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Thanks for the clarification, because I read your prior comment much the same way Kay did, i.e., that you would not want to see individual detainees taking advantage of the current flawed system to get out if that would hold up dismantling the current flawed system.

    I just re-read my comments in this thread and I don’t see how that could be a possible interpretation without a lot of baggage inference attached.
    But I guess I’ll chalk your reading of it up to the power of the internets communications.

    I’ve never once attempted or said we should use the detainees as pawns to bash on Obama (or Bush for that matter), or make their lives harder just to score some principled stand. And I certainly didn’t say that in this thread.
    I’m happy to take and return fire on any of the things I believe in. This was just off.

  150. 150

    @kay:

    Someone might want to notify Andrew Sullivan. Who was, I believe once an advocate for sanity in immigration policy, until it stopped affecting him directly.

    Ex-actly.

  151. 151
    Pliny_the_Elder says:

    @kay:

    It would be great if I was making this shit up, but unfortunately that is not the case. I must apologize, though, because it was actually William Lynn, President Obama’s Deputy Defense Secretary, who stated what I posted. Here is a letter he sent to Rep Mark Kirk in response to questions about the supermax facility in Thompson, Illinois.

  152. 152
    Jay says:

    @MBunge: Internet tough guy? Actual tough guy compared to scared children willing to shred the Constitution because of a threat. My building is close to the Sears Tower and across from federal buildings. It was evactuated on 9/11. You near a bunch of terrorist targets?

    I really want a President who understand that his oath was to the Constitution. You might not. But that’s because you’re scared.

    But, as you’re advocating something that creates a bigger threat, you’re also confused.

  153. 153
    Jay says:

    @kay: I’m a lawyer who works with the immigrant population and has to sue the gov’t when they violate my clients’ due process rights and Constitutional violations of the sort being carried on by the President are violations of the oath of office of the President and create more risk of terrorist attacks rather than less.

  154. 154

    […] let’s give a big tip o’ the hat to those classically spineless Congressional Democrats for failing to stand up and make the same […]

  155. 155
    Pliny_the_Elder says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I’m sorry, you are right, what Obama is doing with the state secrets privilege is exactly what Bush did (he was the one who “expanded” it). I guess my point should have been that by doing so, he is legitimizing what Bush did, as well as legitimizing the practice for future administrations.

  156. 156
    Cat says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If that’s not good enough for you, you are in effect saying that no one, under any circumstances, can ever rely on the advice of counsel to determine whether their behavior is lawful. Sure you want to go there?

    I’m not sure where you are coming from. Are you are saying its OK to do anything your lawyer says is legal? Or that its ok to do anything your lawyer says is legal that you don’t believe to be illegal.

    The problem with the latter is these people weren’t your average citizens wanting to know if its ok to fart in public. These people were either LEO, intelligence agency personel, or military personel. Every one of them should have reasonably known what they were doing was torture.

    I imagine that is a good reason to think they’ll prosecute all of them, but the wording of Holder/DOJ statement says to me you’ll get a pass if you followed the rules on the memos and can say with a straight face, “I believed what I was doing wasn’t torture and the memo reinforced my belief”.

  157. 157
    keestadoll says:

    @Corner Stone: @kay: …et al…

    whoosh! Where’s my ativan! Now that’s discourse baby!

  158. 158
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cat:

    I imagine that is a good reason to think they’ll prosecute all of them, but the wording of Holder/DOJ statement says to me you’ll get a pass if you followed the rules on the memos and can say with a straight face, “I believed what I was doing wasn’t torture and the memo reinforced my belief”.

    So, in other words, it’s more important to you that we prosecute a bunch of CIA and military personnel rather than give them the opportunity to turn states’ evidence and prosecute up the ladder to the guys who actually ordered the torture.

    And, no, you can’t have both. You can’t throw the book at the guys on the front lines and expect them to turn on their superiors out of a sudden sense of moral responsibility.

  159. 159
    Cat says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s a pretty basic prosecutorial gambit: “Give us evidence on the guys above you and we’ll give you a pass.” But, hey, let’s prosecute all of the little fish to the max so the big fish can get away scott free—it’s always a great idea to only prosecute the underlings.

    WTF???? Who is going to flip if all you have to do to get immunity is to say they believed they were following the law and your lawyers agreed with you.

  160. 160
    Cat says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So, in other words, it’s more important to you that we prosecute a bunch of CIA and military personnel rather than give them the opportunity to turn states’ evidence and prosecute up the ladder to the guys who actually ordered the torture.

    Are you dense? Holder/DOJ have clearly stated nobody who claims they believed they were acting within the law and can point to the OLC memos will be prosecuted. Nobody is going to chance ruining their careers and lives by then getting involved in the DOJ investigation of their superiors.

  161. 161
    Cat says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And, no, you can’t have both. You can’t throw the book at the guys on the front lines and expect them to turn on their superiors out of a sudden sense of moral responsibility.

    OMG I just got it. You are that dense. You expect people who tortured another human being to help the DOJ investigate their superiors even though the DOJ doesn’t think the underling committed any crime just because it would be the moral thing to do.

  162. 162
    burnspbesq says:

    @Pliny_the_Elder:

    Now we’re in complete agreement. And I suspect that we also agree that people who care about civil liberties have to keep yapping about this (and keep writing checks to the ACLU).

  163. 163
    Cat says:

    This is how a real investigation into torture would go.

    DOJ: Torture is a serious offense, anyone who participated, ordered, or failed to report torture is in serious trouble.

    Underling: If you agree to not prosecute me, send me to jail, and/or ruin my life I’ll testify against the big fish.

    Middle Managment:If you agree to not prosecute me, send me to jail, and/or ruin my life I’ll testify against someone who’ll make your career/famous.

  164. 164
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cat:

    Or that its ok to do anything your lawyer says is legal that you don’t believe to be illegal.

    Nope. Didn’t say that. In both criminal and civil law, in order for reliance on counsel to be a defense, that reliance has to be reasonable.

    Every one of them should have reasonably known what they were doing was torture.

    Well, that is (in the words of Frank Zappa) the crux of the biscuit. If you can prove that, the reliance-on-counsel defense fails, and you can get convictions. If you can’t, the defendants walk.

    Every case is different, and every case should be decided on its unique facts. Hopefully the investigation is in the hands of AUSAs who don’t shy away from trying hard cases.

  165. 165
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cat:

    You hope. There is an equally plausible scenario.

    DOJ: Torture is a serious offense, anyone who participated, ordered, or failed to report torture is in serious trouble.

    Underling: Fuck you, DOJ. I got an opinion from OLC that says what I was doing was OK. And I got a big-ass defense fund raised by my new friend Dick Cheney and some hot-shit lawyers. Let’s see what a jury thinks.

    Jury: Your Honor, we are unable to reach a verdict.

    Judge: Ms. AUSA, do you want to retry the defendant?

    AUSA: Hmmm, let me go talk to Mr. Holder.

  166. 166
    Cat says:

    @burnspbesq:

    You hope. There is an equally plausible scenario.

    DOJ: Torture is a serious offense, anyone who participated, ordered, or failed to report torture is in serious trouble.

    Underling: Fuck you, DOJ. I got an opinion from OLC that says what I was doing was OK. And I got a big-ass defense fund raised by my new friend Dick Cheney and some hot-shit lawyers. Let’s see what a jury thinks.

    Its unfortunate that the DOJ has a very large pool of underlings to fish from so I would hope they’d be able to find some one to flip.

  167. 167

    There is fucking Congress and if you choose to hang some more rude adverbs on there I won’t complain. President Obama is not the dictator of Congress whether he’s done as well with his actual role as possible

    Then there is the little matter of the Executive Branch which is his baby, and it is his responsibility. When the DOJ or other pieces of that Branch continue the abuses of the BushCo it is his responsibility. I can see no reason why what I found unacceptable under BushCo becomes something else under Obama. It is not and I don’t now or ever have given a good goddam about the (X) behind a name in that regard.

    Don’t tell me the politics of getting re-elected, the job is what it is and getting re-elected isn’t the job – Congress or President. If doing the job means political suicide, guess what – there are other jobs to do and at least you did yours. You can play political games until the sun goes down and keep getting shitty results on the basis of electoral manuevering rather than doing the job.

  168. 168
    Corner Stone says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Purist!! Where are the votes for it? WHERE ARE THE VOTES??

    /foreshadowing

  169. 169
    Tax Analyst says:

    You Can Go Your Own Way

    Love it when you fit old Fleetwood Mac songs for your thread titles, John.

    Trying to think of one to use in reply, but nothing is coming to mind at the moment.

    Oh Well

  170. 170
    Jenn says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Huh, my mea culpa evidently never actually posted, but to recap:

    1. Gets hit with the Wall of Scorn (alternatively a 2×4 — do you have a preference?).
    2. Scrolls rapidly.
    3. Rereads.
    4. Whacks forehead with palm of hand, resulting in
    5. Groveling.

    Sorry for the misread!

  171. 171
    burnspbesq says:

    @Jenn:

    No big deal.

  172. 172
    burnspbesq says:

    @Tax Analyst:

    nothing is coming to mind at the moment. Oh well.

    Funny man, you are.

    http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=662

  173. 173
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cat:

    You expect people who tortured another human being to help the DOJ investigate their superiors even though the DOJ doesn’t think the underling committed any crime just because it would be the moral thing to do.

    No, that’s what you’re expecting. I’m expecting that the DOJ is using the promise of immunity to break the code of silence and get some of the small fish to break ranks.

    You do remember that the guy who reported the Abu Ghraib abuses had to be essentially put in witness protection because he got so many death threats for breaking the code, right? Or maybe Scooter Libby, who refused to flip on Dick Cheney because he expected to get a full pardon from Bush and was pissed that he “only” got a commutation that meant he never had to serve a day in jail.

    What incentives would you offer when the person you’re offering them to is actually expecting to go to jail in order to protect his superior officers? Saying, “I’m going to send you to jail” isn’t going to do much when that’s already his/her plan anyway.

  174. 174
    Jack says:

    @John S.:

    Your logic is fail. I’m sorry for that. Really, I am.

    Also – learn to read.

    A person can apologize for both Obama and Bush. It really is possible. Especially if that person believes in the continuity of the policies, between both Admins.

    For example – the pursuit of “turrists” in Pakistan.

    For example – the legislative or executive transfer of a portion of the commonweal into private holding, ostensibly to benefit the commonweal, at some undetermined but hoped for future date, but at great immediate and intermediate profit to said private concern.

    For example – the mealy mouthed weasel words (apologies to weasels, so sadly maligned) used by both Admins, to justify torture, rendition and indefinite detention.

    Et cet. ad naus. ad infin.

  175. 175
    Cat says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Jury: Your Honor, we are unable to reach a verdict.

    Your right, if I was a bookie I’d give very poor odds of a jury of their peers convicting any US citizen of torturing a non US citizen.

  176. 176
    Jack says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Liberals are not immune from the afflictions arising from conflict between those who push politics-of and those who advocate politics-for.

    The dispute is a matter of temperament, not ideology. Those who see politics as an end in itself (politics-of), as the Great Game, or as a means to enrichment often have a difficult time understanding those who see politics as a means (politics-for), as a gateway to extra-political outcomes.

    Often enough, the power politics types win politics battles because they are not effectively opposed by people who fundamentally refuse to play on the same terms – but they fail to understand, at the same time, how easily they are undone by larger actors who use them as their own means.

    They condemn the DFH for attempting to reconcile means-and-ends while at the same time apologizing for the actions of politicians who are being used as means themselves, by corporate contributors.

    So, while they vent their various sneering attacks on “purists,” they fail to see that their politician-du-jour is a cat’s paw, though less unwitting than most.

    The very conduct they celebrate as pragmatic (because it preserves power relationships which allegedly might some day result in desired outcomes) is in fact really just someone else’s use of the system to get a desired extra-political end.

  177. 177
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Jack:

    I bet your shit smells like fancy French perfume.

  178. 178
    Jack says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I bet you have a not so secret crush on Caribou Barbie.

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