This country continues to pay a high price in both security and reputation for the Bush administration’s many violations of international law at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. After more than a year of review, the Obama administration is preparing an executive order intended to resolve the situation of four dozen prisoners in the prison there who are caught in a legal limbo: they cannot be freed because they are considered a potentially serious terrorist threat, and they cannot be tried because the evidence against them is classified or was improperly obtained, often through torture.So now after dithering for two years, Obama's accomplished nothing toward his declared goal of closing down Club Gitmo and will leave these monsters in limbo. Yet according to the Times, it's the fault of the Pelosi Congress or something.
The proposed order could give these prisoners a form of legal representation and a system to review their cases. It would not remove the tarnish to the American justice system of holding prisoners without trial. But it could represent a significant step forward in dealing with these cases and possibly reducing their number.
The order, which could be signed by the president as early as next month, would require periodic review of each prisoner’s case by a kind of parole board drawn from agencies throughout the executive branch and not just the military.
President Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo — thwarted by Congress — had always recognized that there would be a small core of prisoners who could not be tried because of the nature of the evidence against them or the illegal way that evidence was obtained.Thwarted by Congress? Huh? They fail to explain how Congress thwarted anything, and Obama could have issued an executive order two years ago to close it, yet he lacked the courage to do so. But now, in keeping with all the sugar-plum fantasies of the NY Times editorial board, Obama's plan to keep the joint open is, ahem, fairness.
To continue with military operations, the president will probably have to swallow his objections and sign the bill. Over the next year, he must work harder to persuade Congress not to interfere with the work of bringing fairness to the justice system at Guantánamo. As Mr. Obama rightly argued when discussing the detentions last week, “We have these core ideals that we observe — even when it’s hard.”That's right. Our national security be damned. We must have fairness in dealing with wanton killers.
Naturally, they ignore the tremendous recidivism rate of freed Club Gitmo guests. I guess that doesn't help their argument for fairness.
H/T Spitfire Murphy.