Broken Gitmo Promise

Sometimes breaking a promise is the right thing to do.  President Barak Obama broke a big one on Monday by approving the resumption of military trials at Guantanamo Bay for those accused of taking part in terrorism. 

 As a U.S. Senator, Obama repeatedly criticized George Bush's detainee policies.  On the campaign trial when he was trying to get elected, he called Guantanamo a “legal black hole” and promised to close it within a year of taking office.  That was two years ago and not only is the prison still open and housing hundreds of terrorism detainees, but now the president is resuming the same strategy used by the Bush Administration.

 There are some minor changes in the Obama policy versus the Bush policy.  Under Bush, detainees would get a case review every year to see if they should remain locked up.  Under the Obama plan, those reviews would take place every six months.  Under Bush, the detainees had a personal representative to present their cases.  Under Obama, those personal representatives will be able to see and review more of the evidence against the detainee.

 Bottom line, this is the same program put in place by the Bush administration that “candidate” Obama severely criticized as inhumane and unconstitutional.  Time and politics has changed things for the White House on this issue.  Trying potential terrorists in the U.S. court system has proved perilous.  Key evidence has been thrown out and security issues have caused major political upheaval.  The Obama administration, obviously, wanted to put enough distance between the campaign promise and the reality that finding justice for terrorists will probably only be found in military courts, where the rules of evidence are looser and the security is tighter. 

 So, no detainees will be shipped to and housed in prisons on the mainland.  Attorney General Eric Holder and his team are now out of the prosecution mix.  Now, military tribunals will determine justice.  The President obviously felt breaking a promise, in this case, is best for America and the world.

Categories: Becker’s Digital Notebook