Delaying the Trial Will Hasten Justice (A “Spinorama” Adventure)
I‘ve got to say, if Robert Gibbs is the best they have, in terms of Presidential spokespersons, the press is going to eat him alive. To date he has not been impressive. Of course it helps if you’re not trying to spin so hard you simply look foolish.
As everyone knows, Obama signed an executive order calling for a freeze on all the military tribunals at Guantanamo for 120 days. One of the military judges, COL James Pohl, refused the order saying to do so would delay justice. The particular case he was presiding over concerned Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. That trial has now been suspended and charges dropped (without prejudice which, we’re told, means they can be brought again in the future).
Read this series of questions and answers. I believe the questions are asked by ABC’s Jake Tapper (Gibbs says “Jake” prior to the question (transcript via email):
Q The president later today is going to be meeting with a bunch of families of terrorist victims. A lot of the people he’s going to be meeting with take issue with his decision to stop the military commissions. They say that it’s been through an extensive legal and legislative review, the Supreme Court has weighed in, and they don’t understand what concerns the president has in this process. Could you explain what are some of the concerns the president has specifically about the military commissions?
MR. GIBBS: Well, I think, the main concern that the president has is the military commissions’ failure to bring those in detention to swift justice.
The president invited family members, families of those that were killed, first in the USS Cole incident in 2000 and next in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, and wants to discuss his plan to bring about changes in Guantanamo that he believes will make this country safer and bring about the very same swift justice that they desire, on behalf of those that they know that have been killed.
Q I’m sorry. How does delaying or even renewing the trials make it any swifter?
MR. GIBBS: Well, the act that the Cole families are disappointed — the act that the Cole families were affected by happened in 2000. We’ve not yet seen justice brought now in 2009 to Mr. al-Nashiri.
Judge Crawford withdrew the charges without prejudice to reinstatement of those charges. Mr. al-Nashiri remains in detention. And her decision brings all cases into compliance with the executive order that the president issues.
But I think if you look at the number of those awaiting justice and those that have gone through the process, I think you’ll see quite clearly that very few, very few have been brought to justice.
The discussion that the president looks forward to having today is part of the ongoing process with how to move forward. I don’t believe that the families affected, by the terrorist incident with the USS Cole, have seen — they certainly haven’t seen this president.
I don’t believe they saw the last president either. And the president thought it was important to listen to their very personal cares and their concerns about anything that’s involved in this process.
Q The arraignment of al-Nashiri was supposed to be Monday, but because of the executive order of the president, Crawford suspended the — the charges. I still don’t understand how this is going to make the — (inaudible). I understand the cases that haven’t been heard, but justice delayed –
MR. GIBBS: Without getting into some of the specific aspects of this case, I think the president believed that the best course of action going forward to bring about the justice that both he and the families seek in this case was to go through the very process that Judge Crawford has done and the executive order that the president has signed.
You have to love that question – “How does delaying or even renewing the trials make it any swifter?”
Amazingly, it doesn’t!
And Gibbs answer is simply pathetic – it doesn’t even begin to address the point of th question.
As you might imagine, the families of the Cole victims are less than enthusiastic about the Obama decision. Apparently they’re having a rough time puzzling out the answer to that question as well.
Hope and change.