Why The Right-Wing Claim That Obama’s Gitmo Policy Vindicates Bush Is Wrong
Conservatives are braying about President Obama’s decision to file new charges in military commissions, leaving Gitmo open, and how that is a vindication of Bush’s policy. Adam Serwer shows how that is wrong. Obama and Attorney General Holder actually believe trials should take pace in federal courts, since only six terrorists have been convicted via military commissions, as opposed to hundreds in court. But there is a ban on funds to transfer Gitmo detainees to the court system. The detention policy at Gitmo applies only to current detainees, and the facility will not be open to new ones.
It’s still open because Republicans in Congress successfully frightened Democrats in Congress out of giving the administration the necessary funds to close it when they had control of Congress. In the process, they’ve managed to obscure the original reason detainees were brought to Gitmo — to keep them away from the scrutiny of the federal courts. Once the Supreme Court held that federal courts had jurisdiction and even habeas rights, the facility was useless for that purpose. Republicans are determined to keep it open not because we can’t safely imprison terrorists in the U.S., but because they feel its ongoing presence vindicates Bush in the eyes of history.
It doesn’t of course — Republicans arguing that Gitmo is open because Obama has recognized the wisdom of using the facility is like a bully stealing a kid’s lunch money and then telling everyone he merely decided to make a shrewd investment. Gitmo is open only partially because of administration fecklessness; most of the fault lies with the cowardice of congressional Democrats and the cynicism — and political strength — of Republicans.Click here for reuse options!
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