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From One Extreme to the Other

It seems like reality has set foot where fantasy once loomed, and yet wisdom keeps its distance.  President Obama signed another executive order, this time in stark contrast to his Jan 2010 executive order that ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay.  This new executive order, coupled with his signature on the Jan 7th National Defense Authorization Act is an obvious admission of failure.  The President’s new proposal basically requires reviews of all inmates to determine whether or not they or the information in their cases are suitable, in relation to national security, for Habeas courts.  Why is it though that the bill is receiving criticism from both the left and the right? 

Some of the criticism is superficial, no doubt.  Many lightweight liberals are upset that this seems like a step toward keeping Guantanamo Bay open.  The President continues to say that he is “standing by his original commitment” to close the prison, but this is far from true since his 1 year closure order was given more than two years ago.  Conservative dabblers don’t like the order simply because it was signed by Obama. 

It isn’t just the armatures that are looking at this order with skepticism though.  The multisided uncertainty surrounding this bill sprouts from the President’s ever shifting stance on Habeas Corpus.  Senator Obama ran firmly on the idea of closing Guantanamo for two reasons; that a suspension of habeas corpus to the detainees was a human rights violation and that the prison was a moral blemish that propagated further terrorism and recruitment. 

If the suspension of habeas corpus is a human rights violation then certainly we should extend it to all individuals at Guantanamo.  This was the “hope” Obama pitched perfectly to his electorate.  He announced that he would close Guantanamo immediately upon reaching office and the left did a celebratory back flip.  Two years later we have an executive order that not only doesn’t close the prison, but keeps it open indefinitely. 

Not only is habeas corpus not granted to these enemy combatants, but individuals like Adnan Farhan al-Shar’abi still finds himself a prisoner at Guantanamo with no appellate rights and an undetermined amount of review boards ahead of him in spite of his acquittal more than six months ago.  If Bush had made such an executive order the media would have exploded, yet there is little rebuke given to Obama. 

Not only is Obama suspending habeas corpus, but he is also ignoring some previously established verdicts and holding prisoners until further notice.  The Bush administration held that these individuals were enemy combatants and didn’t have a right to habeas corpus and therefore avoided any contradiction; but even the Bush administration didn’t go so far as to ignore previous acquittals.  

The second leg to Obama’s stance against Guantanamo Bay was its use as a recruiting tool for terrorist networks.  A quick jump to the Muslim networking sites will show you how big of a hit this executive order was.  In response:


Look how the Kuffar treat us in their lands!! Imagine this happening in the time of the Prophet (S.A.W), that Muslims were being locked up in their 1000’s in Jails forever, for no reason, they would have surely waged Jihad to free them or offered a ransom as Islamically this is what were suppose to do.

They hate our religion, they hate us, they hate God. We are soo fragmented, so disjointed, filed with sectarian violence and too busy hating our own or following them to do anything about our global situation, what harm can we do. We are not the aggressors but trust me once the Muslim ummah unites we will defend ourselves. I give it another 30-50 years before we get some sort of global movement going. Thats if they havent killed us.

They are locked up for life for being Muslim, we Muslims need to get our act together,The disbelievers are enemies unto us we need to treat them like enemies, and stand up for our brothers and sisters and our deen and unite.  And we need to forget nationalism and race, we are Muslims Alhamdulillah.

Obama has obviously failed on both fronts based on one single error, an inability to properly define who gets habeas rights.  If he determines that these individuals are not enemy combatants, or that enemy combatants deserve habeas rights, then the prisoners should be tried.  Obama knows full well that such an action would be dangerous from a national security standpoint.  The problem is that he is apparently incapable of saying he was wrong on this issue and won’t clearly proclaim that these individuals are national threats that should be treated as enemy combatants under the law of war.  The alternative that he has chosen is to continue to claim that these prisoners have habeas privilege (Sec 1, b), but apparently only if the President’s committees grant it (Sec 1.a.i). 

The process is fairly simple.  A review team is appointed by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Sec 9.b). Their job, as identified within the order, (Section 2) is to periodically review if these people are too great a threat to actually get a trial or be held under the law of war.  These are not legal hearings or trials (Sec 10.d), but boards that review records and decide whether the extension of habeas rights to the individual are worth the risk.

The detainees are privileged to private council, but the government will not provide or fund council.  They do get a government representative that has clearance to review sensitive material (3.5), but they are not lawyers (Sec 3.2).  Also, the private council and the prisoners themselves are not granted information for their review that is deemed too sensitive by the board (Sec 3.5). 

The whole process is being sold by the administration as a victory that simply provides additional reviews of the individuals, but the message is murky at best.  The reviews are more likely an attempt to dodge the left’s criticisms in his failure to close Guantanamo, set up effective civilian trials, and grant habeas corpus to the prisoners.  At the same time it endeavors to balance the image of a strong national security with an emphasis on human rights.  It does none of these well.  Guantanamo wasn’t closed, civilian trials and habeas corpus are still being denied to many inmates, and the Muslim world’s hatred of Guantanamo has only been stoked.

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RightHandMan

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Comments
  • LD Jackson March 16, 2011 at 4:20 AM

    There is one thing President Obama is consistent in, namely his willingness to twist and turn in his politics. Even though he has clearly failed in his attempt to close Guantanamo Bay, he is doing his best to make it look like it is a success story. He has a crazy ability to promise the voters one thing, become pragmatic after the fact, do something entirely different, and claim it as a success. What else can we do but continue to call him on it? It’s certain that the media isn’t.
    LD Jackson recently posted..What is the Abortion Debate About- ReallyMy Profile

  • Steve Dennis March 16, 2011 at 5:36 AM

    One of the first things that Barack Obama did as president was to sign the EO closing GITMO; I never believed this was going to happen, in part because there was no alternative plan in place. I believe that by the time he signed this EO he already realized he couldn’t shut down GITMO, but he signed this order as a PR move in order to gain some time from the far left who would be upset when they learned the truth. Notice how silent the media has been on this reversal? They are letting him get away with it with no scrutiny.
    I did not realize that Obama was going so far as to ignore previous court verdicts of prisioners, this is the first I have heard of that.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Kathleen Sebelius admits the administration is double counting on Obamacare to hide the impact on the federal deficitMy Profile

  • Bunkerville March 16, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    This whole matter is troublesome to me. In truth I see both sides of the arguement. In the final analysis, we are going down a path of unintended consequences I fear.
    Bunkerville recently posted..192 Countries exist in the world We give Aid to 150My Profile

  • Jim Gourdie March 16, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    It’s all a bit confusing. I suspect that the Obamster wishes he had never heard of Guantanamo. He stepped in a pile of it and now he can’t get rid of the stink.

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