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so whats the real deal with guantanamo
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shambhala



Joined: 25 Jul 2002
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Yep. "Meh."

Obama in Bush Clothing: America Fights On
Charles Krauthammer
Friday, May 22, 2009

"We were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning."

-- Unnamed and dismayed human rights advocate, on legalizing indefinite detention of alleged terrorists, New York Times, May 21

WASHINGTON -- If hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue, then the flip-flops on previously denounced anti-terror measures are the homage that Barack Obama pays to George Bush. Within 125 days, Obama has adopted with only minor modifications huge swaths of the entire, allegedly lawless Bush program.

The latest flip-flop is the restoration of military tribunals. During the 2008 campaign, Obama denounced them repeatedly, calling them an "enormous failure." Obama suspended them upon his swearing in. Now they're back.

Of course, Obama will never admit in word what he's doing in deed. As in his rhetorically brilliant national-security speech on Thursday claiming to have undone Bush's moral travesties, the military commissions flip-flop is accompanied by the usual Obama three-step: (a) excoriate the Bush policy, (b) ostentatiously unveil cosmetic changes, (c) adopt the Bush policy.

Cosmetic changes such as Obama's declaration that "we will give detainees greater latitude in selecting their own counsel." Laughable. High-toned liberal law firms are climbing over each other for the frisson of representing these miscreants in court.

What about disallowing evidence received under coercive interrogation? Hardly new, notes former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. Under the existing rules, military judges have that authority, and exercised it under the Bush administration to dismiss charges against al-Qaeda operative Mohammed al-Qahtani on precisely those grounds.

On Guantanamo, it's Obama's fellow Democrats who have suddenly discovered the wisdom of Bush's choice. In open rebellion against Obama's pledge to shut it down, the Senate voted 90 to 6 to reject appropriating a single penny until the president explains where he intends to put the inmates. Sen. James Webb, the de facto Democratic authority on national defense, wants the closing to be put on hold. And on Tuesday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, no Gitmo inmates on American soil -- not even in American jails.

That doesn't leave a lot of places. The home countries won't take them. Europe is recalcitrant. Saint Helena needs refurbishing. Elba didn't work out too well the first time. And Devil's Island is now a tourist destination. Gitmo is starting to look good again.

Observers of all political stripes are stunned by how much of the Bush national security agenda is being adopted by this new Democratic government. Victor Davis Hanson (National Review) offers a partial list: "The Patriot Act, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, military tribunals, Predator drone attacks, Iraq (i.e. slowing the withdrawal), Afghanistan (i.e. the surge) -- and now Guantanamo."

Jack Goldsmith (The New Republic) adds: rendition -- turning over terrorists seized abroad to foreign countries; state secrets -- claiming them in court to quash legal proceedings on rendition and other erstwhile barbarisms; and the denial of habeas corpus -- to detainees in Afghanistan's Bagram prison, indistinguishable logically and morally from Guantanamo.

What does it all mean? Democratic hypocrisy and demagoguery? Sure, but in Washington, opportunism and cynicism are hardly news.

There is something much larger at play -- an undeniable, irresistible national interest that, in the end, beyond the cheap politics, asserts itself. The urgencies and necessities of the actual post-9/11 world, as opposed to the fanciful world of the opposition politician, present a rather narrow range of acceptable alternatives.

Among them: reviving the tradition of military tribunals, used historically by George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott, Abraham Lincoln, Arthur MacArthur and Franklin Roosevelt. And inventing Guantanamo -- accessible, secure, offshore and nicely symbolic (the tradition of island exile for those outside the pale of civilization is a venerable one) -- a quite brilliant choice for the placement of terrorists, some of whom, the Bush administration immediately understood, would have to be detained without trial in a war that could be endless.

The genius of democracy is that the rotation of power forces the opposition to come to its senses when it takes over. When the new guys, brought to power by popular will, then adopt the policies of the old guys, a national consensus is forged and a new legitimacy established.

That's happening before our eyes. The Bush policies in the war on terror won't have to await vindication by historians. Obama is doing it day by day. His denials mean nothing. Look at his deeds.
Post Fri May 22, 2009 4:47 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
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Is now a good time to mention Chomsky?
Post Fri May 22, 2009 9:20 am
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Embryo



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
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I actually don't agree with that last article at all. It's been 6 months, the Wars in question were already in motion, and he IS slowly dismantling a lot of the precedent. I'm sure that if this were the only thing on his plate, it would be going more quickly. But yeah that last article sounds like it has a pro-Bush agenda, if you read towards the end. They're trying to minimize the differences for a less than forward reason. Obama's not Bush and by the midterm elections that will be a laughable suggestion.

not to mention the vast chasm between obama's domestic policies and bush's, economic messhole not withstanding. dude is really a good thing so far. give him time to turn the ship around.

it's not good for administrations to play tug-of-war with policy. it just means that when a republican gets into office, it will bounce right back. it's better to absorb all options, align the conventional wisdom behind you, and then slowly end up where you want to be.

but, that's tricky! it's tricky. so the question for me isn't whether it's a good strategy -- it is -- but whether the tactics they choose will get us there. that's the big question mark for me.
Post Fri May 22, 2009 9:51 am
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
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z-spot22 wrote:
Jesse wrote:
z-spot22 wrote:
meaning all of humanity....
they are "terrorists"
...
the Catholic Church...
You just listed about 2-4% of humanity maybe.
would you really like me to list rest of humanity for you? really? you know what the fuck i was talkin about...but i'll just leave it at that

you got me
No dude I wasn't trying to call you out on your math; the point is that your criticism levied at "all of humanity" really only applies to the percentage you did refer to plus maybe a few more. Not that humans in general aren't capable of fucked up things, but you're taking a westernized/orientalist shortcut on what constitutes "all of humanity" when you talk like that.
Post Fri May 22, 2009 10:02 am
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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
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...and out comes the misleading Pentagon report:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/21/us/politics/21gitmo.html?scp=1&sq=1%20out%20of%207%20prisoners%20returns&st=cse

Later Terror Link Cited for 1 in 7 Freed Detainees
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: May 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — An unreleased Pentagon report concludes that about one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are engaged in terrorism or militant activity, according to administration officials.

The conclusion could strengthen the arguments of critics who have warned against the transfer or release of any more detainees as part of President Obama’s plan to shut down the prison by January. Past Pentagon reports on Guantánamo recidivism have been met with skepticism from civil liberties groups and criticized for their lack of detail.

The Pentagon promised in January that the latest report would be released soon, but Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said this week that the findings were still “under review.” [url]...


The article further explains that of the 74 released detainees who "returned to terrorism," only 29 of them could be identified by name (due to national security issues, you understand).

Also: "The Pentagon has provided no way of authenticating its 45 unnamed recidivists, and only a few of the 29 people identified by name can be independently verified as having engaged in terrorism since their release. Many of the 29 are simply described as associating with terrorists or training with terrorists, with almost no other details provided."

Also: Only 5 of those 29 have been independently verified to have resumed terrorist activities.

Nowhere does it mention in the article why the detainees were released. Maybe it's some nonsense talk about there being "no evidence" because they're "innocent."

Guantanamo needs to be closed.[/b][/url]
Post Fri May 22, 2009 10:39 am
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
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Every time I read the word "Guantanamo" I hear it yelled in my head like GZA or ODB yelling "SUNTANAMA!"
Post Fri May 22, 2009 11:20 am
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breakreep
homophobic yet curious


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shamb is right.
Post Mon May 25, 2009 10:08 pm
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Embryo



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Embryo wrote:
jakethesnake wrote:
Embryo wrote:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8062017.stm

Good -- this is the right policy and the right tone for him to use.

But the proof will be in the pudding.


Would you say a "filibuster proof" pudding?

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00196


now that Congress has acted wicked tough on this, I think they'll feel better about going along with the uber-popular President.

The other thing is Harry Reid's horrible poll numbers, which came out immediately before this vote. It's reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally thinly transparent what happened here. Obama is probably very angry at Reid right now.


Not that this wasn't obvious, but it looks like I was right:
http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/house-dems/report-reid-bucked-obama-on-gitmo-for-fear-of-looking-liberal/

What a loser Harry Reid is. Dude is in charge of the Senate in a heromaking moment and instead of running with it he is playing it ridiculously safe. Steady takin L's: Harry Reid.
Post Tue May 26, 2009 11:32 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


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I'm still waiting for the filibuster proof majority to mean jack shit regarding anything important.

Where are you Senator Arlen Specter? Oh that's right, voting Yea on that issue along with 89 other Senators, the filibuster proof majority of which were dems.

Meh doesn't quite sum it up. It's more like:

Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh
Post Tue May 26, 2009 11:45 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
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Arlen Spector was never expected to change on this subject.

The filibuster proof majority never meant much. It was always such a ridiculous goal with so little real importance. It might mean something with the judicial confirmations but I doubt that will be a big issue until the next senate is seated anyway.
Post Tue May 26, 2009 11:49 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
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redball wrote:
Arlen Spector was never expected to change on this subject.

The filibuster proof majority never meant much. It was always such a ridiculous goal with so little real importance. It might mean something with the judicial confirmations but I doubt that will be a big issue until the next senate is seated anyway.


Not according to everyone (except me and Stumbleweed) in this thread:

http://www.strangefamousrecords.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=46760
Post Tue May 26, 2009 11:51 am
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redball



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Uh, the post I made in that thread says almost exactly what I just did.
Post Tue May 26, 2009 12:05 pm
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Embryo



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Yeah I certainly don't read that thread in that way either, Jake.

Not to mention that we don't have a "filibuster-proof majority" and have not had one at any time since Obama's election. This is because Senator Al Frankenstin is still not seated. Once Al Franken is seated, we'll officially have 60 seats and a filibuster-proof majority (on issues where even moderate or conservative Dems vote with the majority, which will be extremely rare). Until then, we don't.

In 2010 though we'll win more seats (lookin like) and then we will actually have the margin to render some of the moderate and conservative Dems less relevant. Although if Reid is still in charge who friggin knows.
Post Tue May 26, 2009 12:19 pm
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jakethesnake
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Ok I didn't go back through and read every post before I copied the link, but there was still an awful lot of "Yes a filibuster proof majority will mean we can make things happen!" mentality going on.

Shit ain't happenin' with 40 dems or 50 or 59 and 60 isn't going to break the deal either.
Post Tue May 26, 2009 12:28 pm
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Embryo



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jakethesnake wrote:
Ok I didn't go back through and read every post before I copied the link, but there was still an awful lot of "Yes a filibuster proof majority will mean we can make things happen!" mentality going on.

Shit ain't happenin' with 40 dems or 50 or 59 and 60 isn't going to break the deal either.


We don't have 60 yet, though. It sounds like you're saying "why isn't anything different?" but that's because nothing -is- different. And if you think 40 Democratic Senators would be the same situation... well, my friend, you are sorely mistaken.

You're right though, because of the moderate and conservative Dem senators, 60 won't do to give us a filibuster proof progressive majority. We'll need a few more for that.
Post Tue May 26, 2009 1:01 pm
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