Friday, January 22, 2010

Hope, Change, and More of the Same

For all of President Obama's statements in support of closing Guantanamo Bay's detention facility and ending the indefinite detention of those at the facility, his Justice Department task force looking into doing just that found that of the nearly 200 detainees remaining there, 50 should go on being detained indefinitely without any trial/tribunal access.
But the efforts of the task force, which this week completed its case-by-case review of the detainees still being held at Guantanamo Bay, allows the Obama administration to claim at least a small measure of progress toward closing the facility.

"We're still moving forward and in a much more deliberate and less haphazard manner than was the case before," said an administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the recommendations have not been made public. "All policies encounter reality, and it's painful, but this one holds up better than most."

The task force has recommended that Guantanamo Bay detainees be divided into three main groups: about 35 who should be prosecuted in federal or military courts; at least 110 who can be released, either immediately or eventually; and the nearly 50 who must be detained without trial.

Administration officials argue that detaining terrorism suspects under Congress's authorization of the use of force against al-Qaeda and the Taliban is legal and that each detainee has the right to challenge his incarceration in habeas corpus proceedings in federal court.

How exactly is that any different than what President Bush had been doing all along. Bear in mind that the Guantanamo Bay had held more than 500 detainees at one point and the number had been whittled down under Bush and then further by Obama.

Obama has come along and called for trials instead of tribunals for some of the terrorists held there, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, even though the Administration will use tribunals for other terrorists. Moreover, the Administration (both AG Holder and the President) have said that Mohammad would never be released from detention, even if the federal court trial finds him not guilty, so the President's problem with his friends on the Left and the civil libertarians who had been agitating for GitMo's closure.

No comments: