Thursday, March 12, 2009

Closing GITMO, But Otherwise Being Bush-Lite on Detainees

What is the current White House defense team up to (or down to) regarding their first response to a detainee lawsuit? According to SCOTUSblog, it looks like no fundamental change in the Bush Administration's siege on the human rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

This is not good:
The Obama Administration, taking its first position in a federal court on claims of torture of Guantanamo Bay detainees, urged the D.C. Circuit Court on Thursday to reject a lawsuit by four Britons formerly held there. In addition, the new filing argued that a recent appeals court ruling makes clear that “aliens held at Guantanamo do not have due process rights.”

Moreover, the document called for a sweeping ban on lawsuits against U.S. military officials, claiming constitutional violations by such officials. Allowing such lawsuits “for actions taken with respect to aliens during wartime,” it said, “would enmesh the courts in military, national security, and foreign affairs matters that are the exclusive province of the political branches.”

The brief was another indication that, at least so far, the new Administration is not moving to make a wide-ranging break with detention policies of the former Bush Administration. While President Obama has ordered the closing of Guantanamo by next January, lawyers for the government have taken positions in a variety of detainee court cases that do not propose fundamental change.
Obama is going to get beat up by the right wing for being soft on terrorists or insurgentsregardless of whether he continues the Bush policies are not. It's not going to help him to mimic Dubya on detainees. He just ought to do what's right, and let the other party scream, because they're going to regardless.

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