Thursday, May 14, 2009

Change Alert: Indefinite Detention in the USA -- Not Guantanamo Bay

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.

Concluding Questions
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?

Recent Articles on Dissenting Justice:

Earth to GOP: Branding Democrats as "Socialists" Is a Stupid and Futile Move

President Obama: Less Talk, More Action on GLBT Rights Issues!

Promises, Promises. . .


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hutchinson: It's better because:

a) it will show the plain people that The One is a con man of the first rank who did not fear to bluff and bluster about shutting down Guantanamo during the campaign, but reversed course once the danger to his political standing became evident

b) by keeping these maniacs in the US, there's always the chance they will escape and run around the countryside, blowing up people, and leading the news. This will rub the plain people's nose in the mess they voted for last November

c) If The One does set up a National Security Court, it would be a constructive action to dealing with such maniacs. The Left would bawl and shriek, giving conservatives the chance to say that the Left opposes The One on this issue because they are racist..

OK, I better haul up. A little more seriously, I hope this action shows you why I opposed The One so strongly. Foreign affairs are in a dam dangerous situation these days. For The One to act as he is in this matter suggests either a) he's a shameless fraud who cares not a dam for anything outside his skin or b) he doesn't know his own mind on this issue. Either possibility is dam dismaying for this country's future.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Anonymous said...

TO: Hutchinson, et al.
RE: Consider This

If we sent them ALL to Alaska for the rest of their lives, they'd be away from that enchanting tropical isle. And in a place where it's colder than anything they could possibly have imagined. And with nights that lasted almost six months.

But I'd loath to upset the citizens of one of the few states with an intelligent governor.

Let's send them to Wisconsin in stead. That's where God sent those rebellious angles in Dogma.


[Now THAT's 'comedy'. -- Slappy Squirrel]

Baxter Greene said...

Bush was right.

Bill4500 said...

Q: "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? A: Like, duh. Because its Obama doing the detaining, not Bushitler.

While of scant distinction to the detainee, the presumptively superior and virtuous motive of the One is all the distintion needed.

Porkov said...

My guess is that the constituency that wants to see the "torture" video consists of the same unsavory crew that spends a lot of time exercising their constitutional right to download porn, and has no problem with child porn, bestiality, and snuff. These are the folks that hold up traffic hoping to see carnage on the highway, and are aroused by the notion of time-lapse video of rotting corpses. They want to see the video not because of any altruistic motive - it's not going to change anyone's mind anyway - but because they like that kind of stuff.

Anonymous said...

job creation

Anonymous said...

"..he presumptively superior and virtuous motive of the One is all the distintion needed." Bill4500.

You are joking, right? LOL

Anonymous said...

Why do I get a cold shiver up my spine when I read "National Security Court"?

Why do I get the feeling such court could be used against American citizens?

Why do I feel the need to get back out to Cabela's and peruse their gun selection?

Billll said...

We keep them here because they don't send absentee ballots to Cuba.

Jon Brooks said...

Hmm how does it represent an improvement..
10) They won't get malaria?
9) They will be closer to cells already ensconced in the US and can coordinate from prison like Mafia heads and drug cartel bosses can do now and have always done?
8) They can spread more militant Islam teaching in jail?
7) They'll have direct access to the ACLU now making it much much easier to file lawsuits by the thousands?
6) It will be easier for liberals to go to them to have "Hug a Terrorist Day" and sing kumbaya
while they roast weiners and marshmellows over burning prison mattresses?
5) They just want to get closer to Jonathan Pollard to kill him in Federal prison?
4) Feds are less restrictive on shivs for beheadings in prison than MP's.
3) They too would not like to be in Cuba when Castro takes over Guantanamo?
2) Glad that the info they still hold which could kill millions of us will never be learned.

And the number one reason the terrorists would be happy over the difference in policies...

1) They know it will make obambi ..Feeeeel Sooooooo Goooooood about himself and to a liberal thats the most important thing.

Mark G said...

Maybe something good can come of this. Maybe we can all consider that the President is acting this way because the detainees present a tough delemma, with no easy answer. And as we consider that, maybe we can all resolve not to demonize folks who disagree with us about the right answer, but rather consider that those who disagree with us have sincere and respectable (though wrong) reasons for their position.

Anonymous said...

It's only right policy when an African American approves of formerly discredited republican policies. Get with the program. You didn't seriously believe that the democraps were objecting to the policies themselves? Don't you know the democraps were just playing politics with our national security because a republican administration was in power?

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Anonymous: sorry, but a party's hypocrisy does not rely on the race of the president!

Mark G: I believe in not demonizing people! If everyone practiced this, perhaps we could have more civil debates and get something solved.

Aeneas said...

Mmmmmm.... I thought I left a comment to your question. May be I am losing it, or may be it ended up in moderation. Sniff... I thought it was sooooooo erudite.

Anyway... my short answer was that I think not only Obama's policy to detain the terrorists in the US as opposed to Guantanamo Bay is no better, but... it makes no sense whatsoever. If anything, it's worse, muddied, complicated, politically suicidal. The last point truly makes me wonder--is it a compaign pledge gone bad? Or--and now the cynic is speaking--something entirely different behind it? Other than unravelling decision making and leadership. And then there's this fishtailing decisions about torture, enhanced interrogation, to release and not to release, yes, no, who knows...

I am really interested in your opinion on why the sudden no to photos when the memos were released. I don't buy the reason that it would endanger troops, security, etc. The same does not apply to the memos? Which one is it, then?

Dear Professor--I'm confused, bemused, amused and amazed. And oh! how this feeds my cynicism. May be you disagree, but this SO reeks of political psychosis.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hi, Aeneas! I am not sure what happened to your post. I will look for it. I recall seeing two posts from you as well. Anyway, I think two things could explain what is happening. First, Obama really wanted to close GITMO and made that a primary objective of his campaign and early presidency. In order to keep that promise, he is going to shift detainees to the US for trial in "new and improved" military courts.

Option two: he will come back and say that it is safer to keep GITMO. Some members of Congress have been saying this. This would be a huge letdown for Obama, but the safe way out would involve him attributing it to national security (rather than breaking a promise).

As for the photo - I have no idea why he said "I do" and then "I don't." I believe he is probably feeling some heat from the CIA, and I imagine that the CIA could make his life even more difficult than the ACLU.

Anonymous said...

Allowing indefinite detention without trial within US borders?

I know that it was pretty much a myth after Bush II, given that you can now achieve the same result by an executive determination that one is an "enemy combatant" + "extraordinary rendition" + offshore prisons + refusal to admit to any of the above on "national security" grounds...but so much for habeas and so much for our procedural due process rights.

Was this guy actually a lawyer at any point? I'm finding it increasingly hard to believe. Of course there's John Yoo, so perhaps it's not so hard to believe.

Real Time Analytics