Free Markets, Free People

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).

A "Spinorama" Adventure

A "Spinorama" Adventure

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.


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5 Responses to Delaying the Trial Will Hasten Justice (A “Spinorama” Adventure)

  • why don’t these reporters point out that he rambles and never actually answers the questions.

  • MR. GIBBS: Well, the act that the Cole families are disappointed –

    Oh yeah, that was no slip….

  • But is Mr. Gibbs incompetent or is Mr. Gibbs being asked to “spin” something that can’t be spun?

    I had a boss, once, who told me it was my *job* to get customers to pay for crappy work and be happy about it.   Well… it wasn’t my job to do that.   There is no way I could have done it.   He just wanted a miracle so that he didn’t have to actually provide a decent product or satisfy customers.

    Take the Zinni thing… supposedly he got the offer and accepted the offer to be ambassador to Iraq from Hillary herself.   Obama’s Secretary of State.    Is that her job or not?   Does she have the authority to do her job or not?   Or is the attitude going to be that her *job* is to get people to not mind being jerked around?

    Is it Mr. Gibbs’ job to get people to not mind being jerked around?

  • This comment is taken from Gary Swenchonis’s blog.  He’s the father of Fireman Gary G. Swenchonis, Jr.  killed in the USS Cole attack.  Mr. Swenchonis has left a few comments at another blog I visit.  Can’t help but think that he would appreciate some support, maybe a visit and comment at his site.  Horribly,  this has been a nightmare for the Swenchonis family for over 8 years. 

    His blog entry:

    “Yesterday we were driving back from Houston, Texas from obtaining a passport for my daughter so she could attend the arraignment of al-Nashiri who had helped in the Cole Bombing. We were expecting to leave for Gitmo no later than this Saturday. I knew that Obama would no doubt dismiss the charges against al-nashiri. Our government has repeatably found excuses so as not to take any action against the Cole bombers and or those who support them. Like the countries of Yemen and the Sudan. So it came as no surprise to me when an Obama’s aide called to tell me that we had an invitation to attend a meeting where president Obama would explain his reasons for dismissing the charges against the terrorists. I told him that it was on a short notice and that we would not be attending.

    Why attend a meeting when you already know the inevitable outcome.”

  • Obama’s actions regarding Gitmo, the military tribunals and the habeas corpus proceedings that were pending in the DC Circuit make absolutely no sense.  There is absolutely nothing that needs to be reviewed in regard to the cases against these terrorists.  They aren’t developing new evidence.  They’ve got everything they will ever have on them.  The problems with prosecuting them in our criminal jsutice system are well known and delay will not change any of those problems.  After the Boumediene ruling,  Obama stated unequivocally that it was the correct ruling and that the terrorists should be afforded the right to file writs of habeus corpus.  There were several writs pending in the DC Circuit when he instructed the DOJ to request a stay (which the court granted).

    Obama is just stalling and I have no idea what he thinks this will accomplish.  There is definitely no substantive advantage to his stalling tactics which leads me to believe that he’s just trying to figure the politics out.  How can he cover his ass from the inevitable problems he will face if he lets these terrorists go but he needs to placate his base.  He’s already broken so many promises that it may be hard even for his sychophants to accept yeat another unkept promise.