GTMO

I hear “if only Obama would close Guantanamo” a lot, so this is going to be long. Here’s the meat of what he said about GTMO:

As President, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries or imprisoning them here in the United States.

These restrictions make no sense. After all, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from GTMO with Congress’s support. When I ran for President the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO — this was a bipartisan issue. No person has ever escaped one of our super-max or military prisons here in the United States — ever. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism or terrorism-related offenses, including some folks who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. They’re in our prisons.

And given my administration’s relentless pursuit of al Qaeda’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should have never have been opened. (Applause.) […]

Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. (Applause.)

I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I’m appointing a new senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries.

I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen so we can review them on a case-by-case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. […]

Now, even after we take these steps one issue will remain — just how to deal with those GTMO detainees who we know have participated in dangerous plots or attacks but who cannot be prosecuted, for example, because the evidence against them has been compromised or is inadmissible in a court of law. But once we commit to a process of closing GTMO, I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.

Is he mis-stating the Congressional restrictions? Is there some way he can go around Congress? What else, exactly, can he do?






176 replies
  1. 1
    Mike D. says:

    The word “effectively” does a lot of work. That sort of just means it made it harder for him to do whatever he wants. And I’m not clear about what restrictions have been placed on the ability to send prisoners to other countries, though I doubt he’d say that if it weren’t true to some degree.

    But there’s no doubt that these are real restrictions on his options, and the tendency seems to be to either use them to fully take blame off of the Administration, or to dismiss their effect entirely and to say that Obama has full freedom of action here. The truth is somewhere in between.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    If his name was Samantha, he could twitch his nose. Okay I’m old but that’s the only solution, I know of.

  3. 3
    MomSense says:

    I am going to need more coffee for what is about to happen.

  4. 4
    jon says:

    Obama betrayed us by insisting the American people were smart enough to figure this out by paying attention to details. See also: Obamacare, Single-payer.

  5. 5
    Jerry says:

    It’s all about the funding. This Congress just won’t budget the moneys to do what this President wants to do with GTMO. I remember when this first came up in ’09, the right wing media went nuts with the idea of transferring those prisoners to US prisons. They just went full-on bedwetting with the idea.

  6. 6
    the Conster says:

    If I were him I’d send Seal Team 6 to round up all the Congressional Republicans in the middle of the night and send them to GTMO, as a start.

  7. 7
    WereBear says:

    I am so glad we are having this conversation, because the Republican position is a fetid swamp of lies, torture, and manipulation. It is in their own stupid interests to try and convince people that terrorists are extraordinary super-villains of evil.

    Yet we have handled domestic terrorists like Charles Manson and the Unabomber; and it didn’t compromise people’s civil liberties. It IS a law enforcement issue, and needs to be treated as such.

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    The firebaggers were hopping up and down about the moratorium on releases to Yemen, which Obama could have unilaterally lifted. The conditions on the ground in Yemen have changed, what with the government overthrow and all. Either Obama is History’s Greatest Monster and he kept the Yemeni detainees bottled up for his sadistic amusement, or he was legitimately concerned about releasing detainees into an unstable country where they might fall in with al Qaeda and reappear on an international flight with C-4 boxer shorts. Take your pick.

  9. 9
    Soonergrunt says:

    You really should just stop doing this and accept reality that Obambi is a failure because he didn’t or won’t ignore the Constitution and just do whatever the hell the firebaggers want him to. Because when a Democrat does something unconstitutional (well, certain things, anyway) that’s OK. But of course, some things that are legal and proper for the government to do are eeeeeeeevil because we have President NotHillary.
    Also too, if only we had President Romney, then the country would collapse and that would usher in the new paradise!

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike D.:

    or to dismiss their effect entirely and to say that Obama has full freedom of action here.

    That’s the Medea Benjamin position. If only Obama used The Force and picked up all the detainees and floated them from Gitmo to some Supermax, this problem would go away.

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    @MomSense: The two teds must be on west coast time. Let them have their coffee first.

  12. 12
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Also too, if only we had President Romney, then the country would collapse and that would usher in the new paradise!

    Would there be smokin’ hot women like in the TV series Revolution?
    Because if so…

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @the Conster:

    That’s my solution to this.

    Well, no, not really.

    It would be to place the heads of all congressional Rethugs on pikes along the Mall to send a fucking message.

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    But once we commit to a process of closing GTMO, I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.

    Beyond the immediacy of untried and unjudged people being in this situation, the quote above is the part I am most interested in.

  15. 15
    PAC Man says:

    Also important to note that (at least in 2009) GTMO is very popular with the American people, unfortunately.

    When I heard Madea had heckled the speech I figured she would be talking about drones, because there is actual disagreement with the president on that issue, but of course not. She is heckling him for the only issue he actually agrees with her on.

  16. 16
    MomSense says:

    @JPL:

    Phew. I’m sort of a night owl forced to function before I’m ready every GD day.

  17. 17
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m appointing a new senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries.

    So that I’m clear on this part of his suggestion, when he says “third” he means a country that is not the US and not their nation of origin?
    First time I read that I thought it said “third world” .

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    What else, exactly, can he do?

    Wingardium Leviosa!

    Oh, there’s his problem, it’s not Levi-o-SA, it’s LEVI-o-sa.

  19. 19
    Suffern ACE says:

    I don’t know and I get the feeling that no one who does is interested in telling. Where are those people who write legal things for a living? Or are we all just plain language constitution readers now shouting out random lines from the document with a reference to something we saw on the History Channel back in the day.

  20. 20
    Patrick says:

    The senate vote to keep Gitmo open passed 96-0.

    I am pretty sure if Obama did what the far left wants him to do, ie unilaterally ignore/overrule Congress, there would be impeachment proceedings starting yesterday. Hell, I bet a fair number of Democrats in both chambers would also support it. Heck, I would bet also most Americans would support it too since I still think most people in this country think Al-Queda is some kind of supermen with abilities to escape any prison (they have to have this twisted logic; why else do most Americans insist on keeping Gitmo open)

    And that, instead of immigration reform etc etc is what the country would focus on. It doesn’t sound like a good plan…

  21. 21
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    HRW:

    The law extends for another year restrictions on the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo to their home countries or to third countries for resettlement. The restrictions are not based on the detainees’ conduct but on terrorist acts allegedly committed by former detainees in the transfer countries. Since the restrictions were imposed for 2012, the administration has not transferred a single detainee out of Guantanamo to a country under certification, even if the person already had been cleared for release. The only detainees to leave Guantanamo last year did so under pre-existing exceptions to the restrictions on transfers.

    The authorization act also extends the prohibition on the use of Defense Department funds to transfer detainees to the US, whether for detention or trial, through September 30, 2013. If the administration cannot transfer detainees to the US, the only forum available for trial is the fundamentally flawed military commission system at Guantanamo.

    Those military commissions have been marred by procedural irregularities, the use of evidence obtained by coercion, inconsistent application of ever-changing rules of evidence, inadequate defense resources, and lack of public access. The government’s ability to use military commissions for some charges has recently been called into question in a federal appeals court decision, which overturned the conviction of Salim Hamdan for material support for terrorism because it was not a war crime at the time of the alleged conduct.

    Though the transfer restrictions in the authorization act are not a complete ban, they pose administrative hurdles, Human Rights Watch said. To transfer a detainee to a country other than the US, the secretary of defense must obtain certain guarantees from receiving countries on detention and information-sharing, among other things, before Defense Department funds can be used. The administration should press forward with obtaining these certifications and use the coming months to work with Congress to lift the ban on transfers to the US for trial, Human Rights Watch said.

    There are some things Obama could do, but given the restrictions and conditions, and the fact that it’s not a permanent solution, I don’t blame him for continuing to press Congress to let him do what is necessary to transfer everyone and close Guantanamo.

    FWIW.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  22. 22
    Scamp Dog says:

    …consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.

    I think I see the problem here. One of our major parties, and most of the Very Serious People aren’t interested in the rule of law, except for occasional use as a club to beat up Democrats who disagree with them.

  23. 23

    He could lead, dammit. With leadership. Twist arms on his bully pulpit when he has Paul Ryan over for lunch just like Tip and Ronnie.

    I mean, duh.

  24. 24
    Jeremy says:

    Well Congress stated in the funding bill that funds can’t be used for moving prisoners. I’m waiting for the moment when the critics start holding liberal senators accountable for stopping the president from closing the prison. Bernie Sanders (the liberal saint) talks a big game about standing for what’s right and fighting but the guy is silent on this issue because he wants Obama to take the fall.

  25. 25
    NickT says:

    If Obama attempted to ignore the Senile White Grifters in Congress and clean up the Bush Gitmo mess, there would be 24/7 calls for his impeachment on Fox. Remember the glorious saga of the Burlington Coat Factory(deceased)? Lots of good Democrats discovered their inner bigot-fool on that particular issue too.

  26. 26
    Bobbo says:

    Well, duh, he needs to LEAD. (Snark)

  27. 27
    Suffern ACE says:

    @PAC Man: he does disagree with her. Her claim is that he can close it using his power as commander in chief. He doesn’t think he can do that. That will cost money congress said he can’t spend.

  28. 28
    debbie says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    You really should just stop doing this and accept reality that Obambi is a failure because he didn’t or won’t ignore the Constitution and just do whatever the hell the firebaggers want him to.

    Who can take them seriously? They condemned Bush when he acted unilaterally, and now they want Obama to do the very same thing?

  29. 29
    Ash Can says:

    @Corner Stone: Or is he counting the location of Guantanamo?

    ETA: ImNotSure @ #21 may have answered this question.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Scamp Dog:

    except for occasional use as a club to beat up Democrats who disagree with them.

    And we know this is true because in 1998, “Rule of Law!” was the most popular Rethug slogan (literally shouted by honorless curs such as those shitstains Sensenbrenner and Graham) and they proceeded to Impeach Clinton for lying about a blow job.

  31. 31
    maya says:

    As CiC, President Obama could “effectively” order all Marines out of Gitmo on a sea cruise, whatever, thus leaving the place abandoned. Castro, (the other one), could then move in and it’s all his problem. Sort of a reverse Mariel boat lift.
    Caution:There might be resistance to this from the Hyatt Regency/ Del Webb lobby who have big plans for Gitmo as a senôr citizen really gated community.

  32. 32
    MomSense says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    You win the thread!!

  33. 33
    Citizen Alan says:

    He could have TRIED HARDER!!!1!

    /Medea Benjamin and the Firebaggers

    The irony with this whole situation (with “irony” defined as niggling little point of reality that the Firebaggers would ignore) is that President Hillary would have conducted herself pretty much the same as Obama has vis a vis Gitmo. As would President Kerry and President Biden. As would any and every other viable Democratic candidate we’ve had since 2002.

  34. 34
    joes527 says:

    @WereBear:

    I am so glad we are having this conversation, because the Republican position is …

    Bull-fucking-shit.

    Republicans are great at tap-dancing between stupid and evil, but it is historical revisionism to lay this one on the Republicans.

    The Democrat party is just as deep in this one as the Rethuglicans.

    Both sides did it.

  35. 35
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone: Well, there wouldn’t be any obese people. That Aaron guy–I get it, central casting’s idea of a successful geek–but computers and electricity have been turned off for 15 years and everything is done by manual labor including hunting/growing food. Which takes a LOT of energy. And there are no more Snickers bars in the world of Revolution, either. People like Aaron don’t have any money anymore to pay people to do things like that for him. So obese people will have either thinned out or died off for the most part.
    To say NOTHING of the fact that he’s supposedly WALKED from Indiana to Chicago to Philadelphia in the spring-summer-fall and hasn’t shed a pound?!
    So yeah–“smokin’ hot women.”
    Bring on the apocalypse!

  36. 36
    cleek says:

    Bull! E! Pull! Pit!

  37. 37
    Soonergrunt says:

    @debbie: “Who can take them seriously?” I certainly don’t.

  38. 38
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Mike D.: They way I understand it, Congress basically wrote the rules to state that before a prisoner can be transferred to another country, the President has to prove that the detainee will never be part of a group that attacks the US again.

    You know, double negatives.

  39. 39
    Corner Stone says:

    While being held virtually incommunicado at gitmo is most likely some unimaginable hell, I’m not very pumped about the idea of transferring them to similar conditions stateside, ala SuperMax or military installations.
    The major benefit that I could see to that would possibly be easier access to legal assistance. But I’m not even sure of that.
    Closing gitmo is an unalloyed good. But simply shifting these individuals from one hole to a hole stateside isn’t the answer either.

  40. 40
    Suffern ACE says:

    @NickT: the question is, since there are now 24/7 calls for his impeachment now anyway, and since the public views it as partisan, should he risk it and close it? I’m going with no. Just because I don’t think there is a plan on what to do next. I don’t think declaring it closed would change anything if there are still detainees there.

  41. 41
    Corner Stone says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    I mean, duh.

    You have that knack for always knowing just what to say.

  42. 42
    Patrick says:

    @Jeremy:

    Bernie Sanders (the liberal saint) talks a big game about standing for what’s right and fighting but the guy is silent on this issue because he wants Obama to take the fall.

    That’s why I don’t take people on the far left seriously on this issue. Bernie Sanders is getting a completely free pass on this. Hell, they are defending him (he is only doing what his constituents want). Yet, all the scorn from the far left is towards Obama, they guy who is about the only in DC who is actually trying to close it.

    The logic boggles the mind…

  43. 43
    gogol's wife says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Excellent summation.

  44. 44
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone: That would be the case. Third country refers to any country that will take them that is not the country of origin (where many of them would presumably be killed on the tarmac.)
    FWIW, I think we should just fly them back to their original countries, and put them off the plane on the tarmac with a bottle of water and a Snickers bar. Once they’re out of our hands, they’re out of our responsibility.

  45. 45
    Jeremy says:

    I will say it again. Civics should be mandatory in school. Too many people in this country are ignorant when it comes to understanding how the government works. So called “educated” people believe the Presidency is a dictatorship, and it’s really sad that people from other countries have a better understanding about how our system works.

  46. 46
    NonyNony says:

    @debbie:

    Who can take them seriously? They condemned Bush when he acted unilaterally, and now they want Obama to do the very same thing?

    There are a group of people who self-identify as liberals who really want autocracy as much as many self-identified conservatives do. They just want the autocrat to be a “good” king instead of a “bad” one. Where “good” and “bad” are defined by them.

    I get some insight into why liberals suffer from so much infighting because these people piss me off more than the authoritarian conservatives do.

  47. 47
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt: So you’re saying that any woman who survived would look like a heroin addicted supermodel?
    Alllll Righttt!!

  48. 48
    max says:

    Is he mis-stating the Congressional restrictions?

    No. He can’t move them as part of normal administrative process because no funding. He can issue a individual waver – but he has to say said detainee will not ever be a terrorist again. (The provision was tucked in by Senate D’s if I remember correctly, and it was meant for the wholly innocent, who are now all gone from GTMO.)

    Is there some way he can go around Congress?

    The waiver (aka ‘the landmine’) is the only way around. He can’t appropriate money that ain’t appropriated for the purpose.

    What else, exactly, can he do?

    Not much. (The military tribunals issue is about congressional law – there’s nothing he can do about that. But military tribunals are perfectly acceptable if they are conducted to regular constitutional standards, just like trials of military personnel. Which is basically what the neo-cons were trying to avoid.

    The stuff with *non-criminal* terrorists is about their status as de facto POWs. In Republican legal theory anyone designated a terrorist (no evidence needed) is a war criminal with no legal right. That ain’t the way it’s supposed to work, particular when we have a declaration of war to empower capturing these guys (whether they have committed criminal acts or not) – that makes them POWs unless they contravene the laws of war. If they haven’t done that, they ain’t war criminals, which means they have all kinds of rights that we have not been respecting.

    If you’re opposed to fighting Al Qaeda, then none of this matters and you can go all Glenn Greenwald and say whatever comes to mind, true or not. (I’m A-OK with fighting Al Qaeda, FTR, always have been – I have no interest in fighting anyone else (Iran, Russia, Martians, whomever Fox is banging the war drums for this week).)

    A big continuing stinky mess of their own shit as artistically created by those Bush idiots.

    Obama is doing about as well as can be expected on this front given the Congress (and particularly the D-controlled Senate) we have.

    max
    [‘Fuck the War of Terror.’]

  49. 49
    NickT says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Those calls will acquire much more of an edge if Fox can present this as a matter of coddling terrorists who murdered Americans and even unleashing them on innocent communities etc etc. You know as well as I do that nothing stirs the bowels of the stupid (and we have our share of those too) more than talk of terrorists murdering us all in our beds. You know it’s crap, I know it’s crap – but there’s an awful lot of ignorance out there for Fox to take advantage of.

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @NonyNony:

    They want a Stark, not a Lannister.

    That kinda sums it all up.

  51. 51
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @maya: No president will ever do that. Gitmo is, from the US POV, a very important piece of territory: Without it, we would have only one defensible spot, the tip of Florida, for entering the Gulf of Mexico. With it, we at least have two.

  52. 52
    NonyNony says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    the question is, since there are now 24/7 calls for his impeachment now anyway, and since the public views it as partisan, should he risk it and close it? I’m going with no.

    I’m also voting for no, but because being impeached for doing something that is actually provably an unconstitutional power grab would be worse than being impeached for doing something that is a figment of the Republican imagination. Hell it would legitimize the GOP position that Obama is an illegitimate President if he decides to do something like that.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @NickT:

    You know it’s crap, I know it’s crap – but there’s an awful lot of ignorance out there for Fox to take advantage of.

    For waaaaay too many Americans, what is on the teebee is reality.

    Thus the perception that crime is rampant because that’s what they see on the evening news.

    I learned long ago that the camera can lie like an entire pack of mangy dogs when it wants to.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    The law extends for another year restrictions on the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo to their home countries or to third countries for resettlement.

    As it’s a law passed by Congress, then there must be a way to gain standing to challenge the legality of this law.
    Has the govt challenged this law in court?

  55. 55
    Corner Stone says:

    .

  56. 56
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: I know I’m a moron for engaging in this, but you are aware, I hope, that “the govt” is not equivalent to “the Executive branch”? Right?

  57. 57
    MomSense says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    This is why for just about everything now, I blame the media. They have the resources to expose the lies and to inform the public but they do not. Mostly they broadcast misinformation and opinion.

  58. 58
    NickT says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I admire your optimism.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    Hmmm, that was an interesting FYWP experience. Now I can’t edit the comment at #55.

  60. 60
    Kay says:

    @Patrick:

    there would be impeachment proceedings starting yesterday.

    I feel like impeachment is ruined as a legit mechanism. They ruined it when they pulled it out for Clinton. It perceived as purely partisan, a political tactic.

    I think they know it, too, which is why they’re going back to “Nixonian”. You’ll notice no one in media is referring to the last time they promoted impeachment. Why is that? How does that even make sense? The logical comparison is the last time they trumped up charges. They’re carefully avoiding that comparison, on the merits, I mean, although they use it to opine about “over reach”, politically. That’s an admission they discredited impeachment, IMO. Can’t be undone!

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m pretty much aware of that. Thanks, though.
    The question is a pretty simple one. Doesn’t “the govt” routinely challenge laws it disagrees with, or for any one of a number of reasons?

  62. 62
    Kay says:

    @Patrick:

    Harkening back to Nixon is, to me, pining for glory days when people took them seriously. Actions have consequences. They can’t just ignore their last hysterical impeachment hissy fit and pretend it didn’t happen. Something happened between Nixon and Obama. What was that, I wonder? Hmm. I’ll ask Woodward.

  63. 63
    WereBear says:

    @NickT: You know it’s crap, I know it’s crap – but there’s an awful lot of ignorance out there for Fox to take advantage of.

    Of late I remind myself that:

    The portrait of today’s Fox News viewer is a white Republican with an average age of 66 years old. In other words, Fox’s viewership completely mirrors the base of the Republican Party. ~Real Trouble at Fox News as Viewer Trust Falls to An All Time Low

    An average age of 66. Now yes, we can expect these cranky, bitter, stupid people to hang in there for a decade or two, at least. But damn. That is Demographic Death.

    And they know it, and can’t do a thing about it.

    Karma might not be instant, but it does get you.

  64. 64
    someguy says:

    One of the major restrictions imposed by Congress is the Convention Against Torture (CAT) Treaty. CAT prevents the U.S. from repatriating individuals to countries where they will likely be tortured. Since most of the people held at Gitmo are from places like Yemen, Jordan, Saudi and Egypt… well, you do the math.

    Since we can’t send them back there, we have to find third party countries willing to take them. I suppose England is off the map for most of the immediate future. This is how we wind up sending Uighurs to Fiji and paying for them to live out their lives in something resembling a tropical resort.

    Thanks, Dubya! We are really enjoying the fruits of the endless war you started… dick.

  65. 65
    burnspbesq says:

    As I understand it, Obama’s best option is to veto the NDAA for fiscal 2014 if it continues the current restrictions on transfers from Guantanamo, and hope his veto isn’t overriden and revised legislation doesn’t include the restrictions.

    His next-best option is to take the position that the Commander-in-Chief power necessarily includes plenary power to deal with prisoners of war, and that he can therefore instruct the uniformed services to move the detainees around, despite the ban on the use of appropriated funds to do so. The second option would see con law scholars and political junkies hoarding popcorn for endless litigation and a potential impeachment attempt by the House.

  66. 66
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    96-0
    96-0
    96-0
    96-0
    96-0
    96-0
    96-0
    96-0
    96-0

    When was the last time anything passed the Senate 96-0? 19th, 20th, or 21 century? I don’t even know if anything else ever has.

    Gitmo will still be open when I die, and that’s going to be at least 40 years from now. There’s nothing that any president is going to be able to do to change that.

  67. 67
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: I am not a constitutional law scholar, but it seems to me that the Executive branch would not have much standing to challenge the constitutionality of a law that the President signed into effect. He could have vetoed it when it came to his desk, but once he signed it all he can do is try to persuade Congress to rewrite it.

  68. 68
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Beyond the immediacy of untried and unjudged people being in this situation

    Nothing in domestic or international law requires prisoners of war to ever be charged with a crime. They can simply be held, for the purpose of incapacitating them as combatants, for the duration of hostilities.

  69. 69
    Kay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    His next-best option is to take the position that the Commander-in-Chief power necessarily includes plenary power to deal with prisoners of war, and that he can therefore instruct the uniformed services to move the detainees around, despite the ban on the use of appropriated funds to do so

    I like that because conservatives may have to go along because they want to preserve that power.

    May. If they’re rational, always a question there.

  70. 70
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): So, if we can’t spend money to transfer the prisoners out of GTMO, can we instead spend money turning it into a five-star luxury hotel/resort, and offer unlimited first class airfare travel to all of the detainees’ immediate family members?

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That’s why I asked the question. I’m not sure it’s possible to attain standing to challenge it. But since mistermix is asking what, exactly, can be done I wanted to see how using the legal system would play out.

  72. 72
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: I hope you will notice I did not write, “beyond the illegality”.

    Even though I, personally, feel this is a crime against humanity and a senseless fapping wasteful stain on our nation.

    ETA – the duration of hostilities is why I used the word “immediacy”.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Yes, but…

    The deserting coward assmalistration didn’t want to call them POWs because Prisoners of War, under the “quaint” Geneva Convention, which the United States is a signatory to, have certain rights. Fulfilling those rights would have been..inconvenient..for the deserting coward malassministration. So they weren’t POWs.

    Sidious: This turn of events is unfortunate. We must accelerate our plans. Begin landing your troops. Nute Gunray: My lord! Is that… legal? Sidious: I will make it legal.

  74. 74
    maya says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): The day and age of not-to- far-offshore fortresses guarding waterway openings to this and that are long over. What alien navy would we be preventing from invading Tampa Bay or Houston? Does Gitmo serve any other purpose than to house prisoners on a non-US soil, therefor sans US law basis? Perhaps it is still used to monitor Cuba but even that purpose is decaying – only matter of time before better US Cuba relations. (Old Miami Cuban population needs to go the way of the old white population elsewhere.)
    Eventually only value left is akin to the Presidio in San Francisco – developer potential. And a very lucrative one that would be.

  75. 75
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: Since my snark was too subtle, let me spell it out: President Obama *signed the bill*. What do you want him to do about it now? Call a mulligan? Say “I had my fingers crossed”?

  76. 76
    burnspbesq says:

    @Kay:

    Although I acknowledge the existence of the next-best option, I don’t like it, for two reasons. First, I think it’s pretty shaky as a matter of Constitutional interpretation. Second, I don’t like expanding unchecked power that could someday fall into the hands of a Republican.

  77. 77
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Joey Maloney: I’ve wondered about that, too. Why not at least make the living conditions liveable. Though the obvious “Obama the Muslim is spending more on his Muslim brothers than average Americans” would make every Democrat in the country cringe.

    I suspect if the Zombie Founding Fathers (sounds like a band name) were to rise up, they would go after Bush and Cheney for Gitmo.

  78. 78
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @WereBear: They make new old people every day. I don’t expect anything but the most glacial improvement.

  79. 79
    gelfling545 says:

    @debbie: Sadly, a whole lot of folks who supported the President in the 2008 election wanted someone who would act just like Bush but do left-ish things. A president who actually followed the law & the constitution was not what they bargained for.

  80. 80
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: It wasn’t subtle at all.
    Beyond that, politics forced him to sign that bill, and things change all the time. The president himself said his thoughts are evolving. Maybe crafting a clever direction to attack the law is something the smartest legal minds in the US could do if they were in any way motivated to?

  81. 81
    burnspbesq says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Actually, they were POWs all along, despite the Cheney Crime Family’s refusal to acknowledge that fact.

    We have been liberated from the Cheney Crime Family, and one of the consequences of that liberation (I hope) is that we can call their lies what they are, and move beyond them.

  82. 82
    Jeremy says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Which is sad. I agree that it looks like it will be open for a long time.

    And for the people that ask why didn’t the President veto the bill ? Well the veto is overridden when Congress votes for something that has 2/3 + support.

  83. 83
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You know, it’s funny. You opened with the slight that you were foolish for engaging. And since then you’ve done nothing but try to provoke me and generally be an ass.

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Until the deserting coward, the Dark Lord, and von Rumsfailed, for starters, have gone the way of Keitel and Jodl, we cannot “get past it”.

  85. 85
    Jeremy says:

    @Corner Stone: It didn’t matter if the president signed the bill or not. 96-0 vote is over the 2/3 requirement to override a veto. All this talk about Obama doing something means nothing as long as Congress continues a policy of stopping him from doing anything.

  86. 86
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @maya: Maybe, but you are never going to get the government to close Gitmo for the reason I stated. Yes, Bush corrupted it completely, but it will always be seen as a strategic stronghold until Cuba becomes a state.

    Why do you think we bought Alaska? We bought what would become the largest state for the string of islands extending into the Pacific.

  87. 87
    bystander says:

    What else, exactly, can he do?

    Why does this not feel like a good faith question?

    Close Gitmo outright? Maybe not. But, he could begin the process of reducing the numbers and lowering Gitmo’s profile.

    He does have the ability to to waive, on a case-by-case basis, most of the restrictions lawmakers have imposed on transferring detainees to countries with troubled security conditions. And, in the case of the Yemenis, Yemen has asked for their return.

    Maybe Betty Cracker has a point. But, then, what are the parameters for sufficient stability, and is Yemen going to achieve those benchmarks within the lifetime of any of those eligible for transfer? Or, is it just yet one more convenient excuse to keep things as they are?

    One might imagine that, given the President’s self assigned “drone powers,” if any of those Yemenis released were to show their faces where the USG didn’t want them, they could be summarily droned out of existence. It’s not like once they’re released, the USG is out of options.

    Rather than asking the either-or binary all-or-nothing question, why not examine what could be done, instead? And, if “stability in Yemen” is so crucial, what are the circumstances which would define sufficient stability? We’ll, just set aside whether it’s reasonable, fair, or just to continue to detain individual human beings eligible for release, based on the stability of a country they haven’t seen in years.

    No. Increasingly, the kinds of questions you’re asking have a predetermined asked-and-answered feel to them. The nature of the question suggests you already have all the answers you’d ever want or need.

  88. 88
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jeremy: It would matter, in the political sense. Which was the thrust of my comment you replied to.

  89. 89
    Joshua says:

    Something something bully pulpit?

  90. 90
    Jeremy says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Well the Obama is a secret Muslim thing is only something the fringe crazies believe. But I agree that it wouldn’t be a good look spending money trying to refurbish a prison.

  91. 91
    WereBear says:

    @Davis X. Machina: But they don’t make them the SAME. What we have here are people who grew up with Bakelite radios, whitewall tires, and those hip swinging sounds of Frankie Avalon.

    What’s more, bigotry was embedded in their DNA. I did a function at a local college, in NOT a diverse area, but I saw a total lack of prejudice in the teens and young twenties. To an extent amazing to my Generation Jones self, who got locked in my high school homeroom to prevent race-based cafeteria riots.

    I think they won’t be the same kind of old people.

  92. 92
    Kay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    First, I think it’s pretty shaky as a matter of Constitutional interpretation. Second, I don’t like expanding unchecked power that could someday fall into the hands of a Republican.

    Oh, sure, that. No, I’m kidding, I see the risks. I worry less about “unchecked power” because I think that’s something of a fallacy. Congress can pick up some power any time they decide to, then the two sides can battle it out. I always thought it was a little ridiculous to expect the President to just hand it back, out of the goodness of his heart. They gave it away, they probably have to take it back.

    On this, though, I just honestly feel as if he almost has to take one for the team, since every other branch failed miserably. The upside is that if he pulls it off he’ll get all the credit. Not from those who wouldn’t give him credit anyway, but he’ll get historical, long term credit. He’ll deserve it, too. It’s a horrible mess we’re in and no one seems to have any clue how to get out of it. It’s one of those things that will increase in value over time, I think.

  93. 93
    the Conster says:

    @bystander:

    So, you got nothin’.

  94. 94
    Zifnab says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    There’s nothing that any president is going to be able to do to change that.

    So here’s my question. The President has a Solicitor General. He’s got the Attorney General. When he determined that DOMA was unconstitutional, what did he do? He pulled legal support and threw in behind the legal opposition. The case raced straight up to the SCOTUS within a matter of months.

    Why can’t a President do the same thing with Gitmo? Just stop defending it. Or, at least, defend it very badly. Get the case in front of a judge and announce to the world “Gitmo is illegal and should not be legally funded by the US Government”. Then let some appointed judge do the work via judicial order to strike down legislative bars on prisoner transport and order Congress to provide legal remedy. Turn the whole case on its head and announce “Listen, we can either bring them back to the US and give them a trial, or we have to let them all go. Court order. Our hands are tied.”

    And, in the meantime, maybe order the army to start letting journalists crawl all over Gitmo and start ginning up public support for release.

    Maybe this has already tried, and the courts just punted it back to the executive / legislative branch. But that would strike me as the route to pursue.

  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @bystander: Did you hear or read the speech? Obama DID lift the moratorium on releasing detainees to Yemen. It was right there. In the speech.

  96. 96
    maya says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): That’s a real stretch to say we bought Alaska for the naval presence it gave us in the Pacific. Seward bought it because it was for sale – cheap – and could have many potentials later.
    The Aluetian Islands only became of military importance when the Japanese “invaded” Dutch Harbor as a feint to distract from the real objective – Midway – which held way more military strategic potential than the Aleutians ever did. We only counter-invaded to drive the Japanese out of our turf. Nothing much came of any of it except a lot of Japanese died there. Those Islands are extremely cold and probably have more meteorological value than anything else. No developer value either unless global warming turns them into oasis.

  97. 97
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Zifnab:

    And, in the meantime, maybe order the army to start letting journalists crawl all over Gitmo and start ginning up public support for release.

    That would be interesting. “This is Brian Williams, reporting from Guantanamo Bay, where Obama has been detaining Middle Eastern men since his first day in office, some of whom have not been accused of any actual crimes but whom he has refused to release. Someone should ask the president why he won’t release them. This facility has only strained our relationship with the Muslim community.”

    And he wouldn’t even blink funny.

  98. 98
    the Conster says:

    @Zifnab:

    Journalists? LOL.

  99. 99

    @WereBear: Note, though, that while cohorts of old people die off, they are also the most enthusiastic voters, and that gives them outsize influence, especially in off-year, midterm and special elections. I think we will be living with this for longer than people sometimes assume.

    I think there’s going to be a problem when GenXers like me get old. We’re not as numerous as the boomers, so our influence won’t be as great. But my generation bought into the libertarian, Randroid variety of conservatism to a greater degree than people either older or younger than we were; and most of us also have grotesquely inadequate retirement savings because we grew up in the era of 401(k)s and weak organized labor, so in our dotage we’re probably going to be agitating for public support and rationalizing it somehow to an even greater degree than today’s retirees do. That makes a potentially toxic combination. Expect epic levels of grumbling about how the rotten kids want a handout.

    The one thing we’re not is quite as racist as today’s very old people, though we’re still way more racist than kids today are.

  100. 100
    Redshirt says:

    It’s funny (not) that we all now instinctively know that no matter what Obama does – closes Gitmo, keeps it open, bans torture, tortures to the max!, bombs AQ, stops bombing AQ, whatever he does, the Republicans will scream outrage, and the Firebaggers will follow right along.

    Depressing.

  101. 101
    JPL says:

    @Redshirt: Didn’t a republican house member mention an investigation on drone attacks on American citizens abroad? Yesterday the President mentioned that the House committee was notified ahead of time, so you are right. Doesn’t matter what he does.

  102. 102
    PIGL says:

    @the Conster: This. He as the power, they are in demonstrable fact endangering the national security of US, and even if they weren’t, so what? What else would be the point of having unlimited executive power to arrest and detain if you don’t use it against your political enemies. A few dozen Bircher Billionaires and their families, and a few hundred Wall Street Frauds need to go with them. And the prison ship needs to tragically collide with an iceberg or something.

    In all sober earnest, I think it is only a matter of time before one faction or the other takes such a step.

  103. 103
    mistermix says:

    @bystander: I can’t think of a more open-ended question that “what else” but maybe you can suggest one if that is too overbearing.

  104. 104
    the Conster says:

    @PIGL:

    I actually wasn’t kidding – there are only bad options, so go big or go home. Conservatives only see problems if the problems are their problems, so make it their problem.

  105. 105
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @joes527: “The Democrat party is just as deep in this one as the Rethuglicans.

    Dude, your winger is showing.

  106. 106
    LAC says:

    @Soonergrunt: You forgot the yelling he failed to do. Where’s that angry black man president that Michael Moore voted for? :)

  107. 107
    Maude says:

    It costs $150 million a year to run GITMO. Congress is funding this and not moving to shut it down.

  108. 108
    MomSense says:

    @Zifnab:

    I’m working off memory and don’t have time to do research right now but I know that Holder filed an amicus brief on behalf of Jose Padilla before he was attorney general. I know the Republicans were up in arms about this since he refused to talk about it at his confirmation hearings.

  109. 109
    cleek says:

    @bystander:

    given the President’s self assigned “drone powers,”

    WTF does this mean?

    could you explain it in simple terms for those of us not up to date on the latest ways to hate Obama?

  110. 110

    The proposed premium prices vary depending on the geographic region of California, the consumer’s age and the richness of benefits, from catastrophic coverage for young adults to “Platinum” products. Under the premiums unveiled on Thursday, a 25-year-old in Los Angeles could choose a Health Net catastrophic plan for $117 a month or a more comprehensive “Bronze” plan for $147 a month from L.A. Care, the nation’s largest public health plan. And if that individual makes less than about $45,600 per year, she would qualify for a subsidy that would bring the cost of the premium down further.

    “I’m impressed,” said Betsy Imholz, director of special projects for Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports. “I actually think they are good prices,” she said, especially for those who will receive federal insurance subsidies.

    More than half of Californians shopping for insurance through the state-run marketplace will be eligible for federal income tax credits. Those credits will offset the price of private insurance: A 40-year-old individual in Los Angeles, for example, who earns $1,915 a month, or 200 percent of the federal poverty level, would pay a monthly premium of $90 for a Health Net HMO “Silver” plan in 2014, according to the rates released by Covered California.

    I blame Obama.

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @bystander:

    And, in the case of the Yemenis, Yemen has asked for their return.

    Headline of your story:

    Yemen begins push to get citizens out of Guantanamo detention

    So the fact that Yemen recently asked for their detainees back — something that Obama mentioned in yesterday’s speech as an action he wants to do — is proof that they could have been returned at any time?

    Back in the Bush days, I used to tell conservative trolls that they had time dysmorphia — they were convinced that if something recently became possible, that meant it had always been possible. It’s a little sad to see the same problem spreading to the left — if Yemen recently started pushing to have their detainees returned to them, that means that they always wanted them back and we totally could have returned them 5 years ago.

  112. 112
    MomSense says:

    @JPL:

    I hate to get too much into dronez because that always turns into a crazy fest, but one of the other interesting points the President made is that the targets of the drones kill lots of civilians where they are–which is what I hear from my friends who are humanitarian workers in some of these places. You would think humanitarian workers would be really pacifistic but they see what is done to innocents by the terrorists and it is disgusting.

    I guess the problem is that these situations are complicated and it challenges a lot of our assumptions and our ideology.

  113. 113
    belieber says:

    So now BJ reactionaries are concern trolling Code Pink propaganda? So embarassing.

  114. 114
    LAC says:

    @Jeremy: Here you go again – making sense. :)

    Maybe next time some asshole on MSNBC tells folks that maybe it would be good to sit on your hands during midterm elections just to show ’em, you will click off the station and get active in the electoral process. It is sheer laziness to tie the president’s hands by saddling him with a bullshit Congress and then ask him to pull a Moses and part the Red Sea and btw still waiting for my sparkle pony!

  115. 115
    PIGL says:

    @the Conster: In fact, I agree. Anything less is to commit to staying on the downward escalator…which it is perhaps already too late to get off, even if drastic action is taken.

    A Cincinnatus figure is the only hope I can see. Arrest the bastards, put their heads on pikes, then resign and face the consequences, in the hope that the political system can somehow recover once the cancer is removed.

    And by “heads on pikes” I mean in the 1920s Bolshevik sense. The point was to remove your opponents from political activity, not necessarily by killing anyone. Is this case, removal from office and/or confiscation of all property would do fine.

    There is a neglected book my Maurice Merleau-Ponty that would be worth re-reading today.

  116. 116
    kindness says:

    Dubya would have told Congress to go fuck themselves. And that would have been the end of it.

    If Obama did it without Congressional approval that would be the opening for Republicans to try to impeach him. It’s a terrible game they play.

    I say do it. Tell Congress to go fuck themselves and let them try to impeach him. 1998 here we come.

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, I thought of this question last night when the other thread was already dead, so maybe someone can answer it here:

    I remember that conditions had been improving for the detainees at Guantanamo for a while and the protests and hunger strikes had gone way down. Then it seemed like things started to deteriorate again and the number of protests/hunger strikes soared again.

    My question is, did this have anything to do with the switcheroo in 2011 where Petraeus and Panetta changed jobs and Panetta was put in charge of DoD? I will freely admit that I never particularly liked Panetta or thought he was good at his job, so it may be my little prejudice to associate his takeover of DoD with the deterioration of the conditions at Gitmo. Still, I wonder.

  118. 118
    Emma says:

    @Kay: So he takes one for the team, the country is whipped into panic by Republicans and the MSM and we have another Democratic administration in 2113.

    Not such a good deal.

  119. 119

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:
    Okay, but he’s right on this one. This is the ONLY issue I know where both sides really do do it. Damned if I know why. I don’t find ‘fear of electoral repercussions’ a convincing argument, since the chain to blaming an individual congressman would be so vague. Congress has been so united behind keeping Gitmo open that I’m surprised Obama is challenging this openly now. Something must have changed, so that he doesn’t feel like he’ll lose supporters he needs in congress by pressuring them publicly.

  120. 120
    Suffern ACE says:

    @kindness: Yes, but if we wanted Dubya, we would have voted for McCain.

    The problem actually involved real people who are imprisoned in a real actual place. While it concerns us as a symbolic cancer on our body politic and a flu on our consitution, there are actual real people who really aren’t free to go anywhere. What good does it do to go through impeachment and removal from office (and there is no guarantee that he wouldn’t be convicted) and then the when its all over, the prisoners are still there.

    The President should just release them really fast before anyone can say so much as go boo, let alone boo-hoo? That’s not much of a plan. Moving them to a military prison stateside and for indefinite detention under President Biden doesn’t solve their problems either, it just moves it.

  121. 121
    MomSense says:

    @Emma:

    I guess I don’t know what “taking one for the team” means in this context. Is it doing something illegal? Why on earth would we want that? Maybe the President has a game plan on this? He is a game plan kind of person. Maybe we could take a breath and see what he is up to because it seems like he is the only person who has consistently wanted to close Guantanamo and that he wants to do this in as humane a way as possible.

  122. 122
    ericblair says:

    @kindness:

    I say do it. Tell Congress to go fuck themselves and let them try to impeach him. 1998 here we come.

    If we think through this fantasy a bit more, it would happen like:
    -Obama orders Army/SOUTHCOM/whoever else to close GITMO
    -DoD experiences complete institutional paralysis by being given a high-profile obviously illegal order
    -GITMO stays open while epic game of buck passing and tactical temporizing goes on in the Pentagon E ring
    -er, profit?

  123. 123
    different-church-lady says:

    Never gonna crack this unless we unpack it.

    First thing is to figure out what people are actually objecting to. Is it Gitmo the facility itself? Or the fact that we don’t move the detainees through the civilian justice system? Or the abuses that have occurred there?

    How do we determine which might be genuine threats and which where just scooped up in a net? Has anyone even made the attempt?

    Would people stop objecting to Gitmo if it were reformed? Has the place just become a symbol at this point? How would people react if it were run exactly like any other supermax, except outside the country and outside of due process?

    You could take all these different pieces and rearrange them into endless permutations. And I doubt there’s any arrangement that would satisfy all.

    My suspicion is that the people who make the most noise about Gitmo at this point have something in their minds they don’t want to admit: “The entirety of the war against terror is bullshit, and therefore everything we do in its name is also bullshit and there aren’t any terrorists in the world.” Of course, that’s insane, and they know it, and so they won’t actually say it. But it would explain why they are not happy with any action or statement Obama takes at this point.

    In the meantime we’ve got genuine bad guys we don’t know what to do with, and genuine government abuses we don’t know how to stop. And I got a healthy suspicion there’s a whole lot of people out there who are more interested in screaming about it than actually figuring out what to do about it.

  124. 124
    Emma says:

    @MomSense: Exactly!

    In my post I was pointing out the political drawbacks to Kay’s suggestion that the President “take one for the team.”

  125. 125
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I just re-read the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. Doing so made me appreciate how restrained Obama has been in pursuing the war against terror. That resolution grants the president the power to use military force, without limiting the type or amount of military force, against terrorists. The resolution does not specify who should, or should not, be deemed a terrorist.

    Although I’m far from being an Obot I can’t help thinking that a lesser man in a beleaguered presidency would have used the AUMF to rack up political points.

  126. 126
    Maude says:

    @kindness:
    There are Democrats that would go along with impeachment.
    It is possible that the Senate would, after a trial, convict and remove him.
    Obama isn’t stupid.

  127. 127
    Svensker says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Something must have changed,

    Tens of detainees on hunger strikes and nearing death, perhaps? Really really bad optics to have guys prefer death to being held by the Obama Administration.

  128. 128
    Kay says:

    @Emma:

    So he takes one for the team, the country is whipped into panic by Republicans and the MSM and we have another Democratic administration in 2113.

    Yeah, I see the risk, as I said. I get tired of responding to threats. Impeachment is a threat, media hysteria is a threat, and on and on. The threats lose their potency with me when they’re pulled out again and again, as they have been with Obama.
    I think a President would be all but paralyzed if the President tried to game out the next Presidential election for a member of his Party (“successor”). There are so many political constraints as it is, without crystal-ball gazing.
    I actually think one of the good things about Obama is he has a strong sense of himself, what he wants to do. I think he wants to do this. If there is no one else, and there isn’t, the duty really does fall to him. I still haven’t listened to the speech, but reading it I think he’s laying it out prior to action.

  129. 129
    Suffern ACE says:

    @belieber: Well if it isn’t our beloved lieberman troll. I’m sure your solution to the problem is rather simple. If the prisoners just starve themsleves to death, then the situation solves itself. How good of you to drop by.

  130. 130
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Svensker:

    Really really bad optics to have guys prefer death to being held by the Obama Administration.

    I can’t imagine them being any happier being held by anyone else’s administration. They are choosing death because they have no hope.

  131. 131
    mistermix says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So the fact that Yemen recently asked for their detainees back — something that Obama mentioned in yesterday’s speech as an action he wants to do — is proof that they could have been returned at any time?

    Good question. There does seem to have been a change or two in Yemen in the past couple of years:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Yemeni_protests

    I wonder if that had any bearing on anything?

  132. 132
    AnotherBruce says:

    @WereBear: My problem with this line of thinking is that there are always more people that are aging towards the average age of 66. Some percentage of these will watch Fox news. I think that it’s true that people tend to become more conservative and religious as they age, so I’ve never completely bought the idea that Fox viewers are going to die off because they’re so old.

  133. 133

    He could, of course, done what Presidents since Jefferson have done: whatever he could get away with.

  134. 134
    Kay says:

    @Emma:

    I think what bothers me about it is the irresponsibility of it. They all know it can’t just continue. It’s ridiculous, tragic, at this point. They have this huge facility and elaborate process that they set up and they don’t know how to undo it, as Obama said “within our system of laws”. Just putting aside who should be responsible, there it is, right?

  135. 135
    the Conster says:

    I think we can all agree that a drone strike to take out Darth Cheney would be a great start, and if nothing else ever happened, a giant leap forward for humanity.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @different-church-lady:

    How would people react if it were run exactly like any other supermax, except outside the country and outside of due process?

    Personally, I would still have severe objections, because my problem with Gitmo is exactly that’s it’s outside of the country and outside of due process. I was all on-board with moving the remaining detainees to the US so they would have access to the courts and (potentially) visits from their families and/or friends.

    They need to be regularized in some way, which to me says they need to be put into the civilian justice system and either charged with civilian crimes or let go. The whole military tribunal thing is only a stopgap solution that doesn’t do much at all.

    @AnotherBruce:

    I think that it’s true that people tend to become more conservative and religious as they age, so I’ve never completely bought the idea that Fox viewers are going to die off because they’re so old.

    I’m not sure that’s so true. I still know quite a few aging hippies who are just as liberal as they were in their 20s. Of course, the definition of “liberal” has changed since they were in their 20s, so that may be what you’re interpreting as them becoming more conservative with age (people holding onto the mores of their youth rather than updating with the times).

  137. 137
    WereBear says:

    @AnotherBruce: You all may be right. I was never in step with any cohort I’ve ever been a part of, so I sure don’t have the skills to tell :)

  138. 138

    Just where are the next wave of Fox viewers going to come from? Younger generations don’t spend time watching the tv like they once did-even the next group spends more time on the Internet. Its the same problem with AM radio and radio in general-where’s the next generation really going to come from if they can’t even find the dial?

    And the adage that people become more conservative as they age begs the question about what “conservative” means. It may not (and probably won’t) be defined in the racist, sexist, fearmongering way that Fox has defined it, either because they are the target of that fearmongering, of they’ve tired of it. So those folks won’t watch at all.

  139. 139
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Kay:

    I think that America suffered a bout of insanity after 9/11. Gitmo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and host of other bad things came out of that period of madness. To undo the damage would require admitting that people made bad decisions and bad law in an understandable reaction to a cataclysmic once in a lifetime event. It would require admitting that we, as a nation, behaved badly. Good luck with that.

  140. 140
    Redshirt says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: No doubt we’re lucky to have Obama in charge.

    Imagine if he wanted to game the “Terrorist Threat Level System” like Bush did? You know the Republicans would be milking it for everything.

  141. 141
    dww44 says:

    @Davis X. Machina: This. As one of the about to die generation and a resident of a red state, there are an awfully lot of the 20, 30 and 40 somethings who are GOP’ers full tilt whom I encounter on Facebook, at family reunions, and group meetings. Don’t see them evaporating and evolving any time soon.

    @Mnemosyne: I’m one of the aging liberals myself and my Mom was and an even older cousin is and, while not hippies, we are very definitely of the FDR school of progressive. Problem is, we are a very distinct minority.

  142. 142
    AHH onna Droid says:

    @Corner Stone: ‘Waah, it’s your fault for provoking me. Now look what you made me do!

    Taje some

  143. 143
    AHH onna Droid says:

    Oh god, fu android.

    I need a new phone!

  144. 144
    AHH onna Droid says:

    @CarolDuhart2: Rigid thinking is associated with dementia, but late r generations fixed notions are different from those of children of the fifties.

  145. 145
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Corner Stone: Yes, I sometimes use this phrase, it is State Department jargon and it means “neither the US or their country of origin” in this context. We also used it to mean “staffers who work for us at an embassy who are neither Americans or locals” in the embassy in Saudi Arabia, so it does depend on the context.

  146. 146
    Corner Stone says:

    @AHH onna Droid: How dare you speak against your ancestors!!

  147. 147
    Joe Buck says:

    “I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions.”

    Sorry, no. That wouldn’t be closing Gitmo, that would be moving Gitmo to the US. This is because the kind of “military commission” he’s talking about is a kangaroo court, one that doesn’t obey the rules of either civilian courts or the kinds of military courts that try our own soldiers for offenses.

    The Geneva Conventions do allow for military tribunals for captives accused of violating the laws of war, but they require that the accused have the same rights that an accused US soldier would have, if tried by the US military. We aren’t doing that.

  148. 148
    Corner Stone says:

    @AHH onna Droid: As I’m sure you are too fucking stupid to tell, I did not respond to G&T in any way except politely and furthered my end of the discussion.
    I don’t care how people respond to me, in general, but it’s quite disingenuous to use the opening gambit G&T did and then act the way G&T acted.
    G&T hurt my feelings.

  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dww44:

    Actually, the generation that’s going to be a problem for some time to come is, unfortunately, mine: Generation X (which is the one right after the Boomers). Last I saw, GenXers as a group were more conservative than either the Boomers who came before them or the GenY that came after them.

    So we may actually see some people get worse/more rigidly conservative before it gets better.

  150. 150
    Anna in PDX says:

    @different-church-lady: I actually disagree with this unpacking when you get to the part of reading the minds of those who disagree with GTMO and decide that they don’t believe in terrorism at all. I do think the GWOT should be a law enforcement issue, and I don’t think that means that there is no such thing as terrorism or that terrorists are innocent. I think that is actually a slightly dishonest way to render the anti-GTMO argument.

    Law enforcement worked and still works when it is used for catching/prosecuting domestic terrorists. It can work the same way as drug interdiction and other international policing things work. Not perfectly, for sure. But then using military force is not a perfect solution either and many find that its repercussions are more troubling than using international law enforcement techniques would be.

    The fact that the President himself agrees with the anti-GTMO people in that he does not think “war on terrorism” is a particularly useful metaphor or policy driver, would seem to obviate your point as well.

  151. 151
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anna in PDX:

    I do think the GWOT should be a law enforcement issue, and I don’t think that means that there is no such thing as terrorism or that terrorists are innocent. I think that is actually a slightly dishonest way to render the anti-GTMO argument.

    D-C-L was looking for a certain response.

  152. 152
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @debbie:
    Considering the force feeding and other weirdness, I’d be hard pressed not to do it, even if strategically wrong. I can understand people wanting that kind of unilateral decision, because the current situation is madness.

    Which of course, is one of many reasons I’m not president.

  153. 153
    someguy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: They are choosing death because they have no hope.

    Maybe if Obama let them just kill a few people. You know, to Keep Hope Alive.

    It’s great to talk about trying these guys in the civilian system but if they are in fact POWs, we can’t do that under international law. They can’t go home because of torture concerns. So the only real choices to release them, because nobody really wants to take these guys, are to free them and move them to non-torture countries (like Germany… good luck on that) or to release them into the U.S. under grant of asylum.

    Consider the possibility that maybe at this point the ones Obama has held onto actually are, y’know, sort of really really very very bad people who may run amok upon release.

    That’s the one possiblity nobody seems to really think is credible but given the insanity of two administrations over 9 years it’s starting to be plausible to me. Y’know, unless both administrations were interested in having an open festering domestic and international political sore for their entire duration. Which is possible, this is American politics we’re talking about here.

  154. 154
    Corner Stone says:

    @someguy:

    Consider the possibility that maybe at this point the ones Obama has held onto actually are, y’know, sort of really really very very bad people who may run amok upon release.

    And? What would they do next? Gather unto themselves all the C-4 known to exist under the Brooklyn Bridge and then detonate it on July 4th?

  155. 155
    Corner Stone says:

    Actually, it’s hard for me to imagine these individuals’ families not becoming radicalized during their tenure at gitmo.
    A significant chunk of them are there due to fuckups (personal or for profit), and had no ties to bad guys before their stay at gitmo.
    But if your dad, or cousin or brother was treated this way for years with no potential remedy. What would your worldview look like?

    The innocent people in gitmo probably just want to sit in a room by themselves for a while, in some place where armed guards aren’t going to burst in and hook an IV up.

  156. 156
    Danny says:

    @Joe Buck:

    Sorry, no. That wouldn’t be closing Gitmo, that would be moving Gitmo to the US. This is because the kind of “military commission” he’s talking about is a kangaroo court, one that doesn’t obey the rules of either civilian courts or the kinds of military courts that try our own soldiers for offenses.

    The Geneva Conventions do allow for military tribunals for captives accused of violating the laws of war, but they require that the accused have the same rights that an accused US soldier would have, if tried by the US military. We aren’t doing that.

    Are you updated on the present status of military commissions with regard to Geneva? Wikipedia says, about the Military Commissions Act, that it was passed in 2006 to address Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which found that the Combatant Status Review Tribunals used at the time did not provide sufficient compliance with the Geneva Conventions. It was amended in 2009 to comply with Boumediene v. Bush.

    So you’re saying that after that, the act is still not in compliance with Geneva. Fair enough, but specifically in what respect?

  157. 157

    @dww44: Some 20 somethings will evolve once they get out more and think for themselves, same with 30 year olds. But beyond that, the numbers speak for themselves. There’s not enough of them to impose their will on the rest of us, and even those folks probably won’t be interested in watching Fox all day. Fox specializes in the “Southern Strategy” of appealing to white resentment over social change-the Archie Bunker/George Wallace thing. Younger generations have lived in a more integrated world where a lot of Sixties social change is taken for granted.

    Scaring younger people over gays or women working won’t work.on generations who take that for granted. There may be some class resentment over those “other people” like Asians who get the good jobs, or Hispanics and blacks who take more ordinary jobs, but Fox isn’t sophisticated enough to take the argument there. preferring to scare elderly and out of touch watchers.

  158. 158
    Bruce S says:

    Obama needs to start interrupting his own speeches as President and if that doesn’t work he should chain himself to the White House fence.

  159. 159
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Kay: What bothers me is that this kind of debate (How to go about closing Gitmo) is basically the liberals and the left arguing with each other for the umteenth time. I’m wondering if the republicans and conservatives and the dem officeholders even bother to debate Gitmo. So far, we’ve got one House member praising Gitmo as more humane than drones. (Sure. If we overlook the violence it took to round up all of these prisoners to begin with, and the torture, and the lack of trials, it’s practically like the Quakers are in charge of it). And another arguing that closing Gitmo is a slap in the face to all of those good service members who were fired on by the enemy (while they were rounding up these detainees). But otherwise, I’m thinking that this will be crickets. And lots of crickets from democrat office holders. No one defendig GITMO, per se. Just arguing whether or not that AUMF change means VICTORY FOR TERROR.

  160. 160
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Mnemosyne: Here’s EmptyWheel’s take on what caused the hunger strike:

    (Quoting a Miami Hearld piece by Carol Rosenberg:)

    In yesterday’s pre-dawn hours, the guard force at Guantanamo entered the Camp 6 communal area and removed the prisoners to individual cells. Here is Carol Rosenberg’s description of the operation (emphasis added):

    U.S. forces raided Guantánamo’s showcase prison camp early Saturday [April 14, 2013], at times battling with detainees, to systematically empty communal cellblocks in an effort to end a three-month-old protest that prisoners said was sparked by mistreatment of the Quran, the military said.

    “Some detainees resisted with improvised weapons and, in response, four less-than-lethal rounds were fired,” according to a statement issued by the prison camps at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. “There were no serious injuries to guards or detainees.”

    The pre-dawn operation took place hours after delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross left the remote island prison and during a blackout of news media access to the crisis in the prison camps.

    The worst injury involved a rubber pellet piercing a captive’s “flank,” said Army Col. Gregory Julian at the U.S. Southern Command, which has oversight of the prison camps operation. The captives resisted the assault with broom and mop handles as well as plastic water bottles that had been wrapped and modified into clubs, he said.

    […]

    There’s speculation that new leadership that took over in July 2012 was related to the deterioration of the situation, but that was far earlier than the hunger strike (which is roughly 100 days old). So, it’s hard to know.

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  161. 161
    different-church-lady says:

    @Anna in PDX:

    I actually disagree with this unpacking when you get to the part of reading the minds of those who disagree with GTMO and decide that they don’t believe in terrorism at all.

    I did not mean that as a categorical statement, and it’s my bad that I left that implication. However, I do feel strongly that there are people who take that tack. In those cases I’m not so much reading minds — no even reading between the lines — as much as just connecting the dots. I chose to hilight that as an example of why it’s almost impossible to hold a reasonable examination of this issue: too many people want to poison the well. It may not be a lot of people, but it doesn’t take a lot of people to poison something.

    I readily admit I am no authority on the topic, but it does seem to me that “Shut it down and release everyone” isn’t a workable option. And some arguments against Gitmo basically amount to no more than that. Pointing that out is not an effort to get Obama off the hook or defend the continued existence of Gitmo; rather it’s an attempt to point out the reasonable conclusion that the topic is more complicated than the dishonest actors of the left want people to think.

    In the end I’m not seeing anyone answering mistermix’s question one way or the other. Perhaps that’s because nobody here has the knowledge and authority to answer it with any accuracy. Which, I think, says something significant about how people in today’s political discourse operate.

  162. 162
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Actually I wasn’t, but hey, whichever way you choose to love your chicken is none of my business.

  163. 163
    different-church-lady says:

    @Anna in PDX:

    I think that is actually a slightly dishonest way to render the anti-GTMO argument.

    Follow-up: I guess my point about unpacking things is that there are multiple anti-GTMO arguments. Some of them are good, and some of them are BS. But we can’t seem to deal with figuring out which is which because too many people want to deal with it as one big tar ball of GOOD V. EVIL, except nobody can agree which side is good and which side is evil.

    I guess another way of putting it is that the BS anti-GTMO arguments keep sucking all the oxygen away from the good ones. And “OBAMA WON’T CLOSE GITMO BECAUSE HE DOSEN’T WANT TO” is an example from the former category, if you ask me.

  164. 164
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Riiighhhhttt…
    That’s why you said this:

    My suspicion is that the people who make the most noise about Gitmo at this point have something in their minds they don’t want to admit: “The entirety of the war against terror is bullshit, and therefore everything we do in its name is also bullshit and there aren’t any terrorists in the world.” Of course, that’s insane, and they know it, and so they won’t actually say it. But it would explain why they are not happy with any action or statement Obama takes at this point.

    Clearly, not intended to elicit a certain response. No sir.

  165. 165
    mclaren says:

    If Obama can’t transfer detainees in Guantanamo Bay to other countries and if he can’t transfer them to facilities in the United States, then Obama should call the Republicans’ bluff and simply close down the entire Guantanamo Bay facility and declare all prisoners free.

    See how they like them apples.

  166. 166
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I guess another way of putting it is that the BS anti-GTMO arguments keep sucking all the oxygen away from the good ones.

    Ok.
    Which ones are the good ones?

  167. 167
    Anna in PDX says:

    @different-church-lady: OK, fair enough. I miss some of the meta level of all these conversations, since I seldom comment myself, but mainly lurk.

  168. 168
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Me thinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

  169. 169
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: The AUMF is too broadly drawn for “enemy combatant” to have any reliable meaning, making it a potential tool of abuse. The facility and practices are clearly under-monitored. We have other means of dealing with even those who are genuinely guilty. We ought to be running them through some part of the justice system rather than keeping them in this ultra-secret hell-hole with no accountability.

    You know, stuff you probably agree with. But OBAMA! There, now nobody can think straight.

  170. 170
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Yep, that was the response you were looking for.
    Someone to say, “Nuh uh!”
    Bullshit.

  171. 171
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Actually, I’m not very big on the issue of trying these individuals at all. Unlike burnspbesq’s exhortations that there are limits to the fruit of the poison tree, I simply do not believe there is any possibility of receiving a fair trial at this point.

  172. 172
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: At some point, I am hoping that you might light on to the idea that ongoing belligerence for belligerence’s sake isn’t a tool for rhetorical success.

    @Corner Stone: I am not familiar with burnspbesq’s arguments and cannot address them. But it would seem to me that you are staking out a position that nothing we do at this point will have any helpful impact on the situation.

  173. 173
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Why would you make a statement that indicated people against gitmo don’t believe terrorism exists?
    And you want to lecture others on belligerence? What else was a statement like that meant to incite?

  174. 174
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: My position is the same as it was during the Bush admin, I’m sorry to inform you.
    Gitmo is a stain on the soul of our nation. The individuals there will never receive a fair trial. A large percentage of them are known/believed by the admin to be innocent.
    Torture, coercion, abuse. Years of treatment and maltreatment such that now a growing number choose death over a futile existence with no way to know their end.
    If Congress is too cowardly to do what is necessary, then someone must. I’m open to all possible legal paths, not just the politically savvy ruminations. I understand Obama is a pragmatist and he’s not going tyrant or commando. And I don’t ask for him to become Nero.
    But it seems fairly obvious we’re dancing around on the head of a pin trying to choose the least offensive steps. Or non steps at this point.
    If there is a legal option, such as challenging this in a court of law, or doing some kind of legislative sweetening/dealmaking to get Congress to remove these restrictions next time around then shouldn’t that be explored?
    Simply imploring Congress to do something does not seem to be an effective platform.
    There have to be remedies. And no, I’m not a legislator, a Constitutional scholar nor POTUS.

  175. 175
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Why? Because I suspect some people actually do hold that point of view. And I feel that those people inhibit the ability of the rest of us to crack a complicated situation.

    It was not because I suspect all people who want GTMO closed hold that point of view. I thought I was clear about that. I most certainly was clear about it in my later statements.

    Someone else called me on not being clear, and did so in a non-combatant fashion. And I said “my bad.” It was just so amazingly easy that way. I can’t for the life of me understand why people insist on taking the hard way.

  176. 176
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: I disagree with neither the substance nor the tone of that. Perhaps slightly in the details, but not in the main points. So I’m not at all clear why we’re at each other.

Comments are closed.