Tag Archives: military tribunals

Obama to revive Bush’s military tribunals for Gitmo detainees

27 Jun

President Obama has never failed to disappoint since he took office barely four months ago. I can faintly remember hearing something about candidate Obama offering “change” from eight painful years of Bush; ladies fainted, Chris Matthews got chills, and the streets of San Francisco were flooded with cheering worshippers. But somewhere in Crawford, Texas, George W. Bush is smiling.

Our new President is doing everything he possibly can to perpetuate Bush’s follies, from expanding the wars in the Middle East with no end in sight, signing trillion dollar stimuluses, nationalizing industries, and eroding civil liberties (all things that Bush was hated for doing). So why not revive the Bush era military tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees, as Obama is now promising to do?

Though once a “critic” of these tribunals, Obama says his military tribunals will be nicer and change-ier:

“‘These reforms will begin to restore the commissions as a legitimate forum for prosecution, while bringing them in line with the rule of law,’ said Obama, who opposed the law that created the tribunals during the administration of his Republican predecessor, President George W. Bush.”

This decision has annoyed some civil liberties groups, but the Republicans couldn’t be happier. Senators Mitch McConnell and John McCain have both praised the move, and it sounds like Obama is now heeding Dick Cheney’s lizard-tongued rhetoric.

The right-wing commentators are also cheering this on over at NRO, comparing Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama to Dick Cheney…in a good way, and praising Obama’s wartime torture photo “secrecy.”

Obama is doing quite well pleasing the Statists on both sides; the Left is supporting his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and his drone missile strikes in Pakistan, and the Right is cheering on his new “toughness” on national security, torture, and military prisons.

Here’s Thomas Sowell blogging at RealClearPolitics, getting giddy over torture in “Debate Over ‘Torture’ Lacks Seriousness”:

“What if it was your mother or your child who was tied up somewhere beside a ticking time bomb and you had captured a terrorist who knew where that was? Face it: What you would do to that terrorist to make him talk would make water-boarding look like a picnic.”

The debate on terrorism, torture, and tribunals is muddled in the midst of 24-esque, crazy hypothetical questions about ticking-time bombs, where we all have a minute before New York or Miami are blown to pieces unless we torture a detainee for information. Is this a realistic situation? Not in the least bit.

If the Muslims that we capture and extradite to the coast of Cuba were all guilty, wouldn’t a simple trial with presentations of evidence prove this? Well, nearly all of the people at Gitmo are completely innocent, guilty only of having Arab names and defending their homes, villages, wives, and children from American bombs.

Terrorism against the United States is not caused by hatred of our liberties (that fade with every passing day) or by “Islam-o-Fascism,” but by a hatred of our military presence in the Middle East. A 1953 CIA coup replacing Iran’s democratically elected leader with a thug, Reagan’s “peace-keeping” in Lebanon and bombing of Libya, the first Bush’s Iraq invasion that led to bases and troops in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, Clinton’s nearly daily bombing of Iraq, Bush’s Mesopotamian madness, and our blind support for brutal Israel policies; these are why we our hated in the Muslim world, and Obama’s bombs-away and tribunal policy is sure to further leave us more susceptible to retaliation.

War fever has sickened both political parties, liberals and conservatives, and nearly all major media networks. Their prescription is always more torture, more bombs, and more military spending.

When we will learn the dangerous and hubristic lessons of empire?