Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gitmo Closed

True to his word, Obama moves on an issue right away.

As an American, I am thankful this blight is being done away with. As an attorney, I am hopeful this means our government is moving back towards respecting the rule of law. Where the Constituion is a guide, not something to try to get around.
Interesting thing someone pointed out over the inauguration: The President's oath doesn't say anything about protecting America or Americans. It deals solely with protecting the Constitution. Why? Because if you protect that, the rest falls in line. W and Cheney never got that.

And more than closing this place, Obama left no doubt what the standards are: The Army Field Manual. It's what one ex-CIA officer called a "great leap forward." (Must be a big Mao fan)
For those who don't think this is a good idea, that this place and its enhanced interrogation techniques kept us safe and were worth it, I'd defer to someone who has worn the uniform, Colin Powell (on Meet the Press):

Guantanamo has become a major, a major problem for America’s perception as
it’s seen, the way the world perceives America. And if it was up to me, I would
close Guantanamo, not tomorrow, this afternoon. I’d close it. And I’d not let
any of those people go. I would simply move them to the United States and put
them into our federal legal system. The concern was well, then they’ll have
access to lawyers, then they’ll have access to writs of habeas corpus. So what?
Let them...

Isn’t that what our system’s all about? And by the way, America,
unfortunately, has too million people in jail, all of whom had lawyers and
access to writs of habeas corpus. And so we can handle bad people in our system.
And so I would get rid of Guantanamo and I’d get rid of the military commissions
system, and use established procedures in federal law or in the manual for
courts martial. I would do that because I think it’s more equatable and it’s
more understandable in constitutional terms. But I’d also do it because every
morning I pick up a paper and some authoritarian figure, some person somewhere,
is using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds.

And so essentially we have
shaken the belief that the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a
place like Guantanamo open and creating things like the military commission. We
don’t need it, and it’s causing us far more damage than any good we get for it.
But remember what I started this discussion saying, don’t let any of them go.
Put them in a different system, a system that is experienced, that knows how to
handle people like this...

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