In 2008 then-Senator Barack Obama ran a successful campaign again his lame duck predecessor, President George W. Bush, largely focusing on the “evils” of President Bush’s methods of prosecuting the War on Terror.
Since his election, however, President Obama has had to quietly renege on his not-quite-promises to change how America defended itself, its interests, and its allies and has had continue as Bush started.
Sadly for Obama, there reaches a point where one cannot do things quietly and cannot easily find someone else to blame for having to make hard, dirty, and imperfect decisions because necessity’s cold wisdom demands them and allows no alternatives.
On Monday, March 7, 2011, President Obama issued an Executive Order reauthorizing the military commissions to prosecute alleged terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States will resume using military commissions to prosecute alleged terrorists held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility.
The announcement said the Obama administration remains committed to closing the controversial detention facility, but will rescind its previous suspension on bringing new charges before military commissions.
The commissions are military proceedings rather than trials in civilian courts. In an executive order accompanying his announcement, Obama also authorized prosecuting Guantanamo detainees in U.S. criminal courts, when appropriate.
Obama previously pledged to close the Guantanamo Bay facility within a year of taking office in January 2009. However, it remains open today due to legal complexities involving the status of some detainees and congressional opposition to holding trials for high-profile suspects in U.S. criminal courts.
Shortly after Obama’s announcement, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the withdrawal of his prior suspension of new charges before military commissions.
Crow is never a tasty meal and having serve yourself up steaming platter of it and choke it down while in public is one of least pleasant things any person may have to do in the course of his or her life. Being the POTUS and having to do it before the whole world at the start of your re-election campaign would have to make it even worse.
I could gloat and chortle over how this will hurt Obama in the 2012 elections. I choose not to do so. On the issue of Gitmo I believe Obama was sincere, ignorant but sincere.
I derive little or no pleasure in watching Obama have to publicly abrogate his principles under the harsh pressures of reality.
Frankly, this was the best decision that Obama has made since he was elected. It was not only the first he acted like an American President, it was the first time he truly acted like and American man.
This is not because using the military commissions to try these vermin is a decision I agree with, though I do. It’s not even that using the military commission is intrinsically a good thing either geopolitically or ethically. It is because all other options are worse and worse by orders of magnitude.