Free Markets, Free People

Guantanamo Bay


They were told if they voted for a Republican that Gitmo would stay open

And, they were right:

  1. The current President of the United States campaigned on a platform that included the closing of the prison for international terrorists at Gitmo.
  2. Gitmo is, in fact, still open. But they’ll get to it Real Soon Now (SPOILER WARNING: they won’t).
  3. The Right noted at the time that Gitmo was going to remain open. On more than one occasion. We, in fact, told people time again and again and again and again that Barack Obama was not going to close Gitmo. Which means that nobody really has an excuse for being surprised.

One of the minor points of record that Barack Obama is going to be reminded of in the next few months.

The Obama campaign has decided on a new campaign slogan – “Forward”.

As you might imagine, the right is having a ball with that on Twitter under the hashtag #FORWARD.

You might want to join in the fun.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Obama embraces his inner Bush

So how does the left feel about the 3rd term of George Bush – when it comes to prosecuting wars?

The Obama administration, which refuses to send terrorism suspects to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, on Wednesday defended its decision to interrogate a detainee for two months aboard a U.S. Navy ship, outside the reach of American law.

“He was detained lawfully, under the law of war, aboard a Navy ship until his transfer to the U.S. for prosecution,” presidential spokesman Jay Carney said.

Uh, wasn’t that the argument of the Bush administration?  Didn’t they say  that detaining unlawful combatants at Guantanamo was a lawful detention under the “law of war” (or similar words to that effect)?

After all, the only difference here is location.  One place is located on an island outside the US and the other is a ship located outside the US.  However, the very same thing happened in both locations – something Obama argued against most strenuously when but a mere candidate for office.

My, my … you mean George Bush might have been right about all this?  That it is indeed both legal and necessary?  How come we’re not being treated to the usual “Bush did it” this time?

Oh, and so much for Miranda rights, huh?

“Wherever possible, our first priority is and always has been to apprehend terrorism suspects and to preserve the opportunity to elicit the valuable intelligence that can help us protect the American people,”Mr. Carney said. He added that the International Committee of the Red Cross was allowed to visit the Navy vessel “and had an opportunity to interview the detainee aboard the ship.”

I’m sure the Red Cross was able to visit – after our boy had coughed up what he needed to cough up.  I love the expression of the “first priority” too.  To “preserve the opportunity to elicit the valuable intelligence that can help us protect the American people.”  But evil Bush – not so much huh?

Funny how the rules change when you get stuck with the responsibility of prosecuting a war and protecting the nation and everything is fine that you condemned previously.  Ignorance and hypocrisy are the operative terms here.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


New poll – leave GITMO open

In another poll that Democrats will do their best to ignore, the majority in favor of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for terrorist detainees has melted away.

The significance of the poll isn’t that the majority now favors leaving the facility open – although that certainly has some significance.   Instead, it is found in who has changed their mind about GITMO.  Hint: It isn’t Republicans or Democrats:

Attitudes about the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have changed dramatically since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new national poll.

Support for closing the facility has dropped 12 points over the past 14 months, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates.

Shortly before Obama’s inauguration, 51 percent of Americans said they thought the facility in Cuba should be closed. Now that number is down to 39 percent, and six in ten believe the United States should continue to operate Guantanamo.

The poll, released Sunday, suggests independent voters are contributing to the 12 point overall drop.

The big change?  Among independents.  75% of independents now want the facility kept open.  Previously it was about a 50-50 split.  That’s a dramatic shift.

CNN, who commissioned the poll, doesn’t advance a reason for the change, but I’d venture to say that many independents have reconsidered their stance when they realized that the claim that GITMO was a recruiting tool for al Qaeda was so much over-blown campaign rhetoric.  That regardless of where the prison is, the fact that we were detaining terrorists is the recruiting tool, not the prison facility itself.  And, with the talk of moving these dangerous inmates to facilities inside the US – bringing a possible threat of terrorism to US communities – they realized the security benefit of keeping the facility off shore.

Not that any of those excellent reasons for leaving Guantanamo open will penetrate the close-minded thinking of those in the administration or anything.  But it is another example of an issue in which independents are deserting the Democrats.

~McQ


GITMO Eyed For KSM Trial

The Guantanamo Bay circus continues and comes full circle:

The trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed won’t be held in lower Manhattan and could take place in a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, sources said last night.

Administration officials said that no final decision had been made but that officials of the Department of Justice and the White House were working feverishly to find a venue that would be less expensive and less of a security risk than New York City.

The back-to-the-future Gitmo option was reported yesterday by Fox News and was not disputed by White House officials.

So much for that stale “fierce moral urgency” bit. I don’t think anyone believes that campaign slogan any more.

Funny how this administration, which claimed to have the moral high ground on the issue of Gitmo, now understands why it exists and why military tribunals were the preferred method of dealing with terrorists who’ve declared war on us.

Heck of a job, Eric.

~McQ


Fumbling Gitmo

I think perhaps the promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – a supposed symbol of American shame – and the subsequent inability to do so is symbolic of how inept, to this point, this administration has been.  President Obama, while a candidate, had a guaranteed applause line each time he promised to close the facility.  The left had so thoroughly demonized it that it was prime red-meat for every campaign rally.  And, in fact, Obama signed an executive order on his first day in office ordering it closed.

And here we are, a year later, with the facility still open and the administration still dithering about what to do with the inmates.  In the meantime, the American public has come to realize that it is the inmates that are the problem, not where the inmates are incarcerated.  Closing Gitmo doesn’t solve a thing.   In fact, the public realizes, it forces some very unappetizing choices – like housing those we deem to dangerous to our country to release not in some isolated prison on a island far away, but in the heartland of America.

That realization has sparked some pretty heavy push-back from the public as it has come to realize those truths:

Americans remain opposed to closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and moving some of the terrorist suspects being held there to U.S. prisons: 30% favor such actions, while 64% do not. These attitudes could present a significant roadblock for President Obama at a time when he seeks congressional approval to move terrorist suspects from Guantanamo to a converted state prison in northwestern Illinois.

You see, hollering about how we had to close Gitmo during the campaign and then making it a priority on his first day of office then ran up against the “then what” question. And, as is obvious, they – the campaign and Obama- hadn’t considered the “then what” question. They had no plan. It is indicative of how poorly prepared they were to assume office (they apparently thought that the “King” would sign a “proclamation” and the “serfs” would make it so) and how little they understood of how things really work. Closing Guantanamo Bay has gone from being a symbol of “hope and change” to being an albatross around the administration’s neck. No matter what they do now, it is most likely to be unfavorably received by a majority of Americans and provide campaign fodder for a future Republican opponent.

Gitmo, in a nutshell, characterizes this administration in so many ways. Naive, unprepared, leaderless and yet arrogant. That is not a good combination for a successful presidency and unsurprisingly, so far, it hasn’t been one.

~McQ


Brilliant! (Update)

That Obama guy really knows what he’s doing! Yessir – we’re in good hands. And he’s sure making our friends in the world like us more than when that evil Bush was in the White House. Umm hmm:

The British Government responded with ill-disguised fury tonight to the news that four Chinese Uighurs freed from Guantanamo Bay had been flown for resettlement on the Atlantic tourist paradise of Bermuda.

The four arrived on Bermuda in the early hours, celebrating the end of seven years of detention after learning that they were to be accepted as guest workers.

But it appears that the Government of Bermuda failed to consult with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the decision to take in the Uighurs – whose return is demanded by Beijing – and it could now be forced to send them back to Cuba or risk a grave diplomatic crisis.

Foreign Policy 101 – coordination and negotiation with friendly countries before doing something like this for which they now have to take responsibility.

What has happened to our State Department? Lobotomies?

UPDATE: It only gets worse:

Pressed on whether the US had told the British government, an unnamed state department official was quoted as saying: “We did talk to them before the Uighurs got on the plane.”

Now a senior US official has told the BBC it was a deliberate decision not to consult London on the resettlement, after other countries came under pressure from China not to accept the Uighurs.

In a highly unusual move, a senior US official said Washington opted to keep details of the deal from London until the last minute to enable Britain to deny all knowledge of the deal and thus avoid China’s anger, says the BBC’s Washington correspondent Kim Ghattas.

The official said they expected London to be upset but added he felt the deal was made on solid ground, in direct talks with the Bermuda government, who accepted the men as part of guest worker programme.

Yeah — no arrogance there, huh? Kind of like the UK doing the same thing on Puerto Rico. Who would China go after – the governor or PR or the US?

~McQ


Military Commissions Again In Saturday News

Last Saturday, May 2nd, we were reading about the possibility that the Obama administration might revive the military commissions that candidate Obama had so reviled.

Today, Saturday May 9th, we again see more on the subject. Could the administration be any more obvious in their attempts to “hide” this story?

The Obama administration is preparing to revive the system of military commissions established at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under new rules that would offer terrorism suspects greater legal protections, government officials said.

The rules would block the use of evidence obtained from coercive interrogations, tighten the admissibility of hearsay testimony and allow detainees greater freedom to choose their attorneys, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

So apparently it really wasn’t the commissions themselves, but how they were run. Of course they were run by rules that Congress had put in place. Yeah, you can figure out the rest.

And the only change I can see is the elimination of some evidence, tightning of the rules on other evidence and the ability to choose their attorney (to a point).

Yet, in the big scheme of things, it ensures that secret testimony, exposure of which so concerned the previous administration, will remain secret. Yes, that’s a good thing.guantanamo-bay-5a

But, as the Obama administration begins to reinvent the wheel (even though it will claim that these military commissions aren’t the same as the previous military commissions – a bit like saying a Ford isn’t a Chevy. They’re still both cars) I keep remembering a very sure candidate proclaiming:

“By any measure, our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure.”

The Obama administration is seeking a 90 day extension on the 120 day extension previously imposed on military commissions. They would be moved to American soil (given the ruling by SCOTUS that doesn’t mean as much as it would have previously). But by all appearances, they will be pretty much the very same thing that candidate Obama said was unacceptable and an “enormous failure”. In the end, it appears, it has just been justice delayed (another reason he was against them).

Of course the real critics of such commissions (those whose opposition wasn’t strictly political in nature) are not happy:

“This is an extraordinary development, and it’s going to tarnish the image of American justice again,” said Tom Parker, a counterterrorism specialist at Amnesty International.

Yeah, well he won you know Tom, and with that, he reserves the right to throw issues under the bus if necssary, especially when it becomes clear that he had no idea about the subject he was condemning. And as an aside – I suspect that the slight differences in the commissions listed above will be enough for the fevered left to roll over and accept these military commissions as “OK”.

~McQ