In late April, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced during a Senate briefing that there are between 50 and 100 detainees at Guantanamo Bay whom the government would not transfer to other countries or prosecute in civilian or military tribunals. Last week, major media outlets, confirming previous "chatter," reported that the Obama administration would retool and revive the highly disparaged military courts.
And just when it seemed that all of these changes in anti-terrorism policy were too good to be true, today's Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration might indefinitely detain some Guantanamo Bay inmates in the United States following the closure of the facility. Presumably, the indefinitely detained individuals would include the 50-100 people Gates described in late April.
The Senate, however, has already launched an effort to block the potential policy. Today, the Senate will consider legislation that would give Obama emergency money he has requested to fund the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison. The legislation, however, would grant the funds only if the President agrees not to transfer any suspected terrorists to locations within the United States.
If the Senate measure fails, then the Obama administration could potentially implement the indefinite detention policy. According to the Wall Street Journal article, possible plans include indefinite detentions within the United States authorized by a newly created "National Security Court."
The use of a special National Security Court to determine whether the government could detain suspects would go against Obama's campaign assertion that these individuals should have full habeas corpus rights. The idea of indefinite detention contradicts his campaign rhetoric that condemned this practice.
Dissenting Justice has frequently commented on the Obama administration's commitment to indefinite detention, despite the Left's vehement opposition to the practice. Even the mainstream media has begun reporting on how Obama's policy choices either anger the Left or defy his campaign promises. Two articles in today's Washington Post, for example, examine how Obama's recent flip-flop on the release of detainee abuse photos might impact his relationship with his liberal base.
If Congress blocks the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States, will Obama stop the process of closing the facility? Was this the plan all along? How does the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects in the United States, as opposed to Guantanamo Bay, represent an improvement over the Bush administration's policies?
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