The Talking Dog

January 24, 2009, Backsliding will NOT be acceptable

I cannot emphasize that strongly enough: we MUST hold The President's feet to the fire with respect to what he has made one of the signal aims of his Administration, to wit, the closure of Guantanamo Bay and related illegal facilities. So, although it comes as no surprise to anyone that, as WaPo reports, the Government's files re the allegations against Guantanamo detainees are in disarray (hat tip to Candace), we simply cannot stand by and allow one of the possible permutations raised in the article, that the Obama Administration may attempt to blame its precedessor for delays in doing what it said it would, i.e. closing Guantanamo, and its companion and (far) more important promise, restoring the rule of law.

Let me make this easy, based on my extrapolating from Candace's representations and from the dozens more I am familiar with from the interviews conducted on this blog: there's simply no there there. The reason that the Government's "evidence" is "in disarray" is because if it were well-organized, it would be obvious to all that it is, as the courageous Col. Stephen Abraham called it, "garbage". Nothing more than a bunch of guilt-by-association accusations, often derived from torture, or from other sources that the Government itself believes unreliable.

Look people: why should we believe the Bush Administration ON ANYTHING? Of the decisions that have gone that far, in actual "on the merits" hearings, detainees are winning 90% of them, even in courts that have demonstrated their predisposition to be hostile to the detainees at every turn heretofore. Now why might that be? Might it be because there is no there there... that the Bush Administration held men not because they were or are dangerous, but because it would be embarrassing to release them?

The President has directed a stay of prosecutions for 120 days, and ordered a shut-down within a year. Both of those are way, way too long periods, given what everyone knows (i.e., there is simply no reason to believe anything the Bush Adminsitration did is reliable, so why should this be different). But, notwithstanding my unwavering support for my college classmate The President, we cannot allow any slippage on this: it's too important. To quote The President himself, we cannot compromise our principles in the interests of expedience.

The Bush Administration has, indeed, left a mess. But the default has got to be that if, after more than seven years, we cannot quickly ascertain a legal basis to hold someone... we probably don't have one. We must all be mature enough to know that there is a difference you can sail the Queen Mary through between someone being a terrorist because they are an actual terrorist and someone being a terrorist because the Bush Administration said they were. There is evidence, or there isn't. It doesn't matter how bad the acts of the accused are: what matters is whether we have reliable evidence of their guilt. Nothing short thereof, whether it be KSM or anyone else, will be acceptable.

And on this most critical of all issues-- literally the soul of our nation is on the line-- backsliding will NOT be acceptable.


May I recommend you read the Crittenden piece linked with yours at Memeorandum. If it doesn't change your mind, it will at least give you a laugh, that is, if you have a sense of humor under that facade of rabid nonsense. This is not the way to win wars and protect our citizens.
The nonsense I refer to is bestowing every right available to U.S. citizens accused of a crime upon foreign nationals, many of whom were captured on a battlefield or captured by intelligence officials who informed President Bush they were rightly being held. Then there is the precedent of treating captured enemy soldiers, who recognize no civilized rules of war, as clients for dream teams of leftist defense and trial lawyers.

Posted by Fred Beloit at January 25, 2009 10:08 AM

Fred, I hope you do realize that most of the prisoners held in Gitmo were not captured on the battlefield, a lot of them were purchased from Afgani Warlords. So before you spew your nonsense about extending civil liberties to forien prisoners you should at least have for BS facts straight!

Posted by Dahgrostab'ph-r-i at January 25, 2009 11:03 AM

Re: "many of whom were captured on a battlefield or captured by intelligence officials who informed President Bush they were rightly being held"

Fred, you have absolutely no evidence to back up those claims. It's just as likely the majority of foreigners who have been held at Gitmo were turned over to US authorities by foreigners wanting to cash in on the large "rewards" offered during the period of time when the Bush administration didn't know what was going on and was playing catch up. I dare say you can Google my claims and find accounts -- other than solely government provided and parroted -- to back them up. You can't do that with yours.

And if Bush ran the so-called GWOT like a government health care system, seems to me Bush shouldn't have been in the GWOT business either. Your man appears to have botched most everything he touched (but then that might have been his plan all along).

Posted by po at January 25, 2009 12:58 PM

@Fred Beloit

It's misleading to call access to a court of law under civilian rules "bestowing every right available to U.S. citizens accused of a crime upon foreign nationals."

The ability of the United States to detain humans is constrained. This is a good thing. It is constrained by the Constitution and by treaties, which when ratified hold the force of US laws. If we do not detain and try war captives under one regime (prisoners of war), we - the people of the United States and our government - are constrained to treat them under domestic law.

The Bush administration tried to establish a third class of detainees without legislating the change. This is tantamount to saying, in the immortal words of President Nixon, that "if the president does it, it is not illegal."

Or maybe, in the more notable ones of The Sun King, Louis XIV, "I am the state."

That is the direction in which the Bush Administration tended - toward the rule of (some) men, away from the rule of law.

Posted by umlando at January 25, 2009 2:04 PM

Not to worry, hand-wringers. I've heard they had a very complete file on the two guys who returned immediately to Al Qaeda in Yemen after they were put through...wait for therapy as part of their Jihadist Rehabilitation. Hell, I'd call for Death to America if you put me through art therapy.

Posted by RH Potfry at January 25, 2009 3:49 PM

All very amusing, of course, except that it seems that the Bush Administration's claims of "jihadists returning to the battlefield" are... as usual... bullshit.

The Bush Administration is one that outed the identity of a covert agent (working on WMD issues no less) to suit its own political advantage; if it had anything-- anything at all-- to back up its claims of "worst of the worst"... we can be rest assured that somehow, it would have gotten those "facts" and "evidence" out there, whether officially "classified" or not.
It's seven years on, and it left office without doing so... and what it did leave was a freaking mess designed to obfuscate that it pretty much had nothing.

With all due respect to the Great Donald Rumsfeld, in this case, the absence of evidence IS evidence of absence.

Posted by the talking dog at January 25, 2009 3:58 PM

The recent instance of a jihadist rejoining Al Qaeda is bullshit? And what in hell does Valerie Plame have to do with this? Can you stay on a topic, or does your seething rage at all things Bush keep you unfocused?

Posted by RH Potfry at January 25, 2009 4:54 PM

OK... we'll try again: this report as a matter of fact, debunks the Bush Administration's contentions about purported "jihadists returning to the battlefield". Perhaps some did (which only goes to show what a miserable job the Bush Administration did of figuring out who it was holding and who it was releasing), but the Bush Administration's track record on the subject is full of misstatements, exaggerations, and general untruths, and there seems no particular reason to believe the current accusations, nor of course, are they particularly relevant to the fact that the current residents of GTMO are winning around 90% of the court cases that make it to hearing their merits, often before judges appointed by George W. Bush himself.

As I did in the post, and in comments above, I just provided something called "evidence", an obviously difficult concept to grasp. I find that providing "evidence" often makes an argument stronger; it's not required of course, but it's often a good idea to support what one says. Commenters may feel free to carry on any way they wish, of course; it's amusing.

Posted by the talking dog at January 25, 2009 5:27 PM