::Sigh:: White House Ok’s Gitmo Tribunals

Yes. We. Can. Unless of course, we can’t. In which case, well, that sucks:

White House Says Military Tribunals Can Resume at Guantánamo –

A couple things about this: the first is that its an obvious disappointment to have Gitmo remain open when such a big deal was made about closing it. That’s not good politics, because it remains something Republicans can potentially make an “Obama is a pussy Democrat” argument with.

But the second thing is: lets be clear about the actual moral and legal problem. The problem is torture, suspension of habeas corpus and the lack of due process for Gitmo detainees. Closing the Gitmo prison (because remember: its still a military base that will not close) is a very nice thing for optics and politics, but does nothing in and of itself to make things better.

We still have people in Gitmo who have not been charged. And Obama also signed an order allowing the military to continue holding them. That’s probably because we don’t have anything to charge them with because the initial lockup was so poorly executed in the first place. Lest we forget: due process isn’t just a nicety for prisoners, it is also insurance against the kinds of wrongful imprisonments that undermine our rule of law.

We have lots and lots of people at Gitmo that represent (I am assuming) a direct threat to our safety and a direct threat to the legitimacy of our legal system. Scilla and Charybdis, if you will. And when faced with these two poles of certain doom, President Obama has chosen to punt. Again.

Thank you, President George Bush, for fucking up so completely. And thank you, President Barack Obama, for not having come up with a better solution than the status quo.


Will He Is

My favourite Rightie Poindexter, George Will, excoriates Republican presidential hopeful John McCain for one more subject on which he shows tremendous lack of understanding: the Great Writ of Habeas Corpus. Or for that matter, legal issues in general. Or for that matter, the pulse of the public, for whom the “activist judges” meme may or may not have every really resonated in the first place:

George F. Will – Contempt Of Courts –

Did McCain’s extravagant condemnation of the court’s habeas ruling result from his reading the 126 pages of opinions and dissents? More likely, some clever ignoramus convinced him that this decision could make the Supreme Court — meaning, which candidate would select the best judicial nominees — a campaign issue.

The decision, however, was 5 to 4. The nine justices are of varying quality, but there are not five fools or knaves. The question of the detainees’ — and the government’s — rights is a matter about which intelligent people of good will can differ.


What’s Next for Gitmo?

Like almost every Supreme Court decision, the landmark decision handed down yesterday establishing the Writ of Habeas Corpus’ extension to Gitmo raises almost as many questions as it answered.  Newsweek got an exclusive interview with one of the Gitmo lawyers to discuss what the far-reaching effects will be.