When will President Obama be called to account for his breathtaking hypocrisy on the way the United States conducts this war on
terror man caused disasters?
So far, thanks to his
servants friends in the media, he has been able to minimize the damage. After only 100 days, one thing has become clear about this administration. The only time of the week worth paying attention is on Friday nights. Why? It’s PR Rule #1, when you have news your trying to bury….release it on a Friday night. As Bruce has noted at QandO, inconvenient news about military tribunals and GITMO has been leaked by the administration two Friday evenings in a row. Bruce asks,
Could the administration be any more obvious in their attempts to “hide” this story?
Um. No. On the plus side, Captain Ed notes about their use of the Friday evening drop,
Give the Obama administration credit for being quick studies in at least one area.
Here’s the news leaked last Friday evening, to their friends at the New York Times,
The Obama administration is moving toward reviving the military commission system for prosecuting Guantánamo detainees, which was a target of critics during the Bush administration, including Mr. Obama himself. Officials said the first public moves could come as soon as next week, perhaps in filings to military judges at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, outlining an administration plan to amend the Bush administration’s system to provide more legal protections for terrorism suspects. Continuing the military commissions in any form would probably prompt sharp criticism from human rights groups as well as some of Mr. Obama’s political allies because the troubled system became an emblem of the effort to use Guantánamo to avoid the American legal system.
Before we move on to this week’s attempt at news burial, let’s reconsider what Senator Obama said about these military commissions. Why, because when it comes to Obama, it is all about the difference between his words and his deeds. Here is Senator Obama speaking on the floor of the Senate on the Military Commissions Act of 2006,
Instead of detainees arriving at Guantanamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused.
And instead of not just suspending, but eliminating, the right of habeas corpus–the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention, we could have given the accused one chance–one single chance–to ask the Government why they are being held and what they are being charged with.
But politics won today. Politics won. The administration got its vote, and now it will have its victory lap, and now they will be able to go out on the campaign trail and tell the American people that they were the ones who were tough on the terrorists….The sad part about all of this is that this betrayal of American values is unnecessary.
Ok, back to the present. This Friday, the friendlies at The Washington Post got the story,
The Obama administration is preparing to revive the system of military commissions established at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under new rules that would offer terrorism suspects greater legal protections, government officials said.
The rules would block the use of evidence obtained from coercive interrogations, tighten the admissibility of hearsay testimony and allow detainees greater freedom to choose their attorneys, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The military commissions have allowed the trial of terrorism suspects in a setting that favors the government and protects classified information, but they were sharply criticized during the administration of President George W. Bush. “By any measure, our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure,” then-candidate Barack Obama said in June 2008.
At first blush, the narrative works for President Obama. He was concerned as a Senator about terrorists rights and due process, and now as President, he is making those changes….except for the following, a must-read from Andy McCarthy, a former Asst. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who has worked on a number of high profile terrorism cases. McCarthy has a fantastic post at The Corner in which he slams the reporting by the Post, and the unbeleivable hypocrisy of President Obama,
The Obama commissions will be, in every material way, exactly the same as the Bush Commissions: they will allow the trial of terrorism suspects in a setting that favors the government and protects classified information, and they will be criticized — perhaps not quite as sharply, but sharply — by the same hard Lefties that Obama and Holder were courting during the campaign.
The media will never tell you that the Bush commission trials (as I’ve previously recounted, here) provided elaborate protections for war crimes defendants, such as:
the presumption of innocence;
the imposition of the burden of proof on the prosecution;
the right to counsel—both to a military lawyer provided at the expense of the American taxpayer and to a private attorney if the combatant chooses to retain one;
the right to be presented with the charges in advance of trial;
access to evidence the prosecution intends to introduce and to any exculpatory evidence known to the prosecution;
access to interpreters as necessary to assist in understanding the proceedings;
the right to a trial presumptively open to the public (except for portions sealed for national defense or witness security purposes);
the free choice to testify or decline to do so;
the right against any negative inference from a refusal to testify;
access to reasonably available evidence and witnesses;
access to investigative resources as “necessary for a full and fair trial”; and
the right to present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses.
Those are just some of the trial rights. There are, furthermore, elaborate sentencing procedures and a multi-tiered military appellate process at which a convicted combatant could get a guilty verdict or sentence reversed without ever having to appeal in the civilian courts. As Powerline’s Scott Johnson has pointed out, these protections for our current enemies markedly outstrip the paltry safeguards given the Nazis at Nuremburg—notwithstanding that Nuremburg, an international tribunal that afforded no right to American civilian court review, is celebrated by the Left (and was fondly recalled by candidate Obama) as a triumph of the “rule of law.”
The Obama campaign slandered the commissions, just like it slandered Gitmo, military detention, coercive interrogations, the state secrets doctrine, extraordinary rendition, and aggressive national-security surveillance. Gitmo is still open (and Obama and Holder now admit it’s a first-rate facility), we are still detaining captives (except when Obama releases dangerous terrorists), the Obama Justice Department has endorsed the Bush legal analysis of torture law in federal court, and Obama has endorsed state secrets, extraordinary rendition, and national-security surveillance (and the Bush stance on surveillance has since been reaffirmed by the federal court created to rule on such issues).
Do these people ever get called on their hypocrisy?
Once again, um, no.
As McCarthy noted, the sad fact is that Obama’s hypocrisy on the war on
terror man caused disasters goes far beyond GITMO and the Tribunals. Essentially, everything this guy campaigned on, railed against and said were “fundamental issues” about “basic values” has been forgotten or abandoned as he grapples with the awesome responsibility of the presidency, rather than the easy oratory of a candidate.
A terrific blog post by American University Law Professor Darren Hutchison at Dissenting Justice neatly summarizes the ever-growing list of war on
terror man caused disaster hypocrisy from President Obama,
The Obama administration has embraced many of the same positions that liberals and Obama himself criticized during the Bush administration. For example:
* Obama and members of his administration have embraced the use of rendition. Many of Obama’s most ardent defenders blasted progressives who criticized Obama on rendition as jumping the gun. Today, their arguments look even more problematic than in the past.
* Obama has invoked the maligned “state secrets” defense as a complete bar to lawsuits challenging potential human rights and constitutional law violations.
* Obama has argued that detainees at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan do not qualify for habeas corpus rights, even though many of the detainees at the facility were not captured in the war or in Afghanistan.
* Even though it no longer uses the phrase “enemy combatants,” the Obama administration has taken the position that the government can indefinitely detain individuals, whether or not they engaged in torture and whether or not they fought the United States on the “battlefield.” This logic combined with the denial of habeas to detainees in Afghanistan could make Bagram the functional equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.
* Now, it is clear that the Obama administration will use a “kinder, gentler” military commissions process to prosecute terrorism suspects — despite liberal condemnation of the proceedings during the Bush administration and the curtailment of due process that this decision will naturally involve.
It remains unclear, however, whether these contradictions will erode any of Obama’s political support. Despite his blatant departure from some of the most important progressive issues that defined his campaign, most liberals remain quite pleased with Obama’s performance.
It says so much about Obama, and his supporters. They are hypocrites of the worst kind. Candidate Obama and his supporters thought they were railing against George W. Bush when they were really trashing the United States of America. The things they said about GITMO, military tribunals, rendition, waterboarding and all the rest, did more damage to the United States and its reputation than any of the policies actually put into place by the Bush administration. They gleefully helped spin a narrative about the U.S., torture and Human Rights that has badly damaged our reputation. President Obama talks endlessly about our “restoring our reputation in the world” and has traveled much of it already, apologizing for the U.S. at nearly every stop. His mission is all the more complicated becuase he is trying “restore” something using essentially the same tools in the war on
terror man caused disasters as that evil bastard, our torture president, George W. Bush.
Maybe, just maybe, the previous administration put into place an agggressive series of measures that were carefully considered in order to protect the United States? What other conclusion can you reach if so many of them are suddenly acceptable to our new president?
Hypocrisy, they name is Obama.