Saturday, April 11, 2009
Obama, Bagram, and Gitmo
Many Obamabots are shocked and stunned to find that The Won has seemingly changed positions on the Gitmo/Bagram/habeas corpus ruling.
Friday, the Obama administration announced that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release. You will remember that last week District Court Judge John Bates ruled that three Bagram detainees — each of whom says he was seized outside of Afghanistan — could challenge their detention in court.
This decision has Glenn Greenwald at Salon all a flutter. He opens his dissenting article by painting the U.S. as the world's bully by saying that under GWB, "the U.S. would abduct people from around the world, accuse them of being Terrorists, ship them to Guantanamo, and then keep them there for as long as we wanted without offering them any real due process to contest the accusations against them."
It's not as if we were abducting Italian grandmas from the village market and accusing them of being terrorists. These detainees have serious links to terrorism and terrorist activities, although you couldn't tell it by Greenwald's article.
Greenwald asserts that "these are not prisoners captured in Afghanistan on a battlefield. Many of them have nothing to do with Afghanistan and were captured far, far away from that country -- abducted from their homes and workplaces -- and then flown to Bagram to be imprisoned" [emphasis his].
I think he misses the point when he fixes on the point that they were not captured in Afghanistan. The War or Terror (or Overseas Contingency Operation, depending on who you ask) has always been a war of no front lines, of wide parameters, and unconventional. Terrorists are everywhere, not just "in Afghanistan on a battlefield."
Obama has vowed to close Guantanamo and he has begun to realize that there is no real clear option for placing these prisoners. He made this promise in the warm, fuzzy glow of a campaign, but as reality has set in and the cases have been reviewed, he may be starting to see that some of these men are quite dangerous. I think that by appealing this ruling he is simply trying to leave an option open for where to place these men. It doesn't mean he'll use it.
Greenwald asks you to "leave aside for the moment the issue of whether you believe that the U.S. Government should have the right to abduct people anywhere in the world, ship them to faraway prisons and hold them there indefinitely without charges or any rights at all. The Bush DOJ -- and now the Obama DOJ -- maintain the President does and should have that right, and that's an issue that has been extensively debated. It was, after all, one of the centerpieces of the Bush regime of radicalism, lawlessness and extremism."
To me, all this means is that Obama is reserving the right to detain dangerous people. It doesn't mean he's going to randomly abduct innocents abroad and lock them away. In addition, Bush's policies kept this country safe from another terrorist attack after 9/11.
I've never understood the liberals ardent desire to give U.S. Constitutional rights to terrorists that want to kill us. I've never understood their persistent need to believe that all terrorists need is a hug and for us to get rid of George W. Bush and they'll love us. It's never going to happen, people! These people hate us and have for generations! History goes further back than the day you were born and all you have to do is go back and study their deep rooted detestation of American capitalism and American freedoms, and Christians in general.
The liberals might take another look at the fervent desire to close Gitmo. At least there, detainees had a right to a military review to address those "unlawful" charges. Not so much at Bagram. Our military MUST have a means to detain people suspected of doing harm to Ameicans; simply closing Gitmo, Bagram, and the CIA Black Sites does not make all that evil go away. On the other hand, just because Obama is reserving the right to detain prisoners does NOT mean he's done an about face and turned into George W. Bush.