Bush 2.0: Obama To Continue Military Tribunals

225px-george-w-bush225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obamaPresident Barack Obama continued his replication of the Bush policies today with the disclosure that he will now restart the controversial Bush tribunal system — now to be called the Obama tribunal system. This follows Obama’s adoption of an even more extreme theory of executive privilege in court, the reversal of the decision to comply with a court order and turn over abuse photographs, the continuing effort to extinguish dozens of public interest lawsuits on privacy violations, and the proposed adoption of the Bush policy of holding detainees indefinitely without trial, here. In the meantime, he and Attorney General Eric Holder continue to block the appointment of a special prosecutor despite mounting evidence of war crimes committed by the prior administration. I will be discussing these recent developments tonight on Countdown.

What is astonishing is how muted the response from democrats and liberals has been despite the fact that Obama has now adopted the very same policies that made George Bush an international pariah. It is clear that Obama has determined that these men stood a chance of being released if they were given full legal protections and procedures. Thus, he has discovered the value of extrajudicial punishment with indefinite detentions and tribunals. The tribunal system is run on rules written by the Bush Administration to ensure convictions. It has even fewer protections than allowed in the military system and has been widely ridiculed, even by some conservatives, as Kangaroo trial system. While Obama will reportedly alter the rules, the principled position would be reject the notion of special justice for certain defendants and to rely on our legal system to mete out blind justice.

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31 thoughts on “Bush 2.0: Obama To Continue Military Tribunals

  1. Warning: There is a major bug and intrusion in the software/hardWar version of Obama 2.0.

    A trojan virus will rapidly spread to infect the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law. Once established it cannot be removed by the brightest constitutional lawyers.

    The Bill of Rights will morph into the Will of Wrongs…

  2. See how rapidly the virus spreads! It mutated my Bush 2.0 intention into Obama 2.0 when I posted it.

    Therefore, the latest version is aka OBushBama 2.01 (Beta…any testers?)

  3. The Notorious Liar Obama is guilty of War Crimes. He has voted at least 11 times to fund the Wars of Aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funding a War of Aggression is conspiracy in War Crimes. Obama has been a War Criminal for years in funding, conspiring and waging US-led Wars of Aggression.

    I understand Obama is also responsible for bombing murders in Pakistan.

  4. An atty. from human rights watch made the following points concernign military commissions.

    1. MC fall under the executive branch. As such they are vunerable to undue influence by the executive. She pointed out the many prosecutors who resigned because of pressure for convictions by the bush administration.

    2. The idea that MC will expedite the process of “justice” is a non-starter. As before, because there are many illegalities under the MC system, there will be years worth of challeges to the illegal aspects of them. Until those court challenges are resolved, people are left without a fair trial, to rot in jail.

    3. She pointed out that civilian courts have handled over 100 terrorism cases while MC have handled exactly 3. We have just had 2 cases of Gitmo detainees in American civil courts. These cases had no difference from other people being held, awaiting trial in Gitmo.

    4. Hearsay evidence will be allowed if the prosecution can “prove” the testimony is worthy of being considered. The executive branch will decide if it’s worthy.

    5. This act does grave damage to our image abroad. It is one more example of the refusal of our nation to live by the rule of law. Convictions in these types of situations will be questioned by the world. They will make heroes of people like KSM who can claim his trial was unjust, which in fact, it would be.

    Yesterday Holder told Nadler that we could hold people in indefinite detention if it’s within the framework of our or international law. He then mentioned that we could hold people for the duration of a conflict as one example of this framework.

    When bush said these things, people understood that it was wrong, that it was a grab for power by an unjust executive. Something that was unjust did not become just under a new leader. We do not trust the executive to be a benevolent dictator. We demand our executive follows the rule of law. Our loyalty should not be to a person. Our loyalty belongs to the Constitution and the rule of law.

    Military Commisions are a dangerous veering into unchecked executive power. That is what they were under bush and that is what they are under Obama.

  5. Personally, I’ll wait to see the rule changes before heading out to build the scaffolding. If he eliminates hearsay evidence or requires prosecutors to show it is reliable prior to admission, reinstates the right not to testify (and no comment thereupon), and permits choice of counsel, he has made significant improvements over the old quasi-Star Chamber system set up by Bush. Congress may also impose its own rules on the MCA according to the published report that JT cited. I like to look before I leap, but I will concede the trend is troubling.

  6. “Personally, I’ll wait to see the rule changes before heading out to build the scaffolding.”

    Mespo,
    Why wait? You know he’s evil let’s just impeach him now! Things will be so much better then. We already had some people determine his unfitness, both trolls and civil libertarians.
    Thing were oh so much better before he got elected. At least we had targets with which to vent our hate. This deceiver with his 68% favorable rating is just no fun for those of us who are so politically pure.

  7. “Personally, I’ll wait to see the rule changes before heading out to build the scaffolding.”

    Mespo,
    Why wait? You know he’s evil let’s just impeach him now! Things will be so much better then. We already had some people determine his unfitness, both trolls and civil libertarians.
    Thing were oh so much better before he got elected. At least we had targets with which to vent our hate. This deceiver with his 68% favorable rating is just no fun for those of us who are so politically pure.

  8. Mike and Mespo,

    The only mention of impeachment in this thread was a jokes. Civilized discourse is a lot easier if we don’t make caricatures out of the other side.

    While I agree that we should wait until we see what those rule changes are before passing judgment, what’s wrong with putting a little pressure to ensure that the rule changes address the right issues?

  9. Maybe I should have bit my tongue instead of putting it in cheek. It’s just lousy taking the news instead of making it. I’ve had the privilege to vote four times for Barack Obama. I detest sounding like a person with four loaves of bread under each arm crying POOR! With expectations, it’s difficult to balance.

    “Civilized discourse is a lot easier if we don’t make caricatures out of the other side.” – Gyges

    Thank you Gyges.

  10. I don’t know about you but I’m really disappointed. Just when you think it is safe to trust a politician it turns out that one is really not that different from another. Republicans trusted Bush when he campaigned in 2000, and promised that we would go to war to fight and win battles and not for the purpose of nation building. Fools they turned out to be. Democrats trusted Obama when he campaigned on a platform of change promising to end these awful wars, close Gitmo and the black ops sites and once again I hear that awful giant sucking sound of that was then and this is now.

    I try and I mean I really try to avoid cynicism. It isnt easy. I have to say that I a beginning to feel like Charley Brown at the beginning of football season. Lucy is holding the ball and I think the words I am looking for as she snatches it away are “Oh, good grief”
    well, may not those words exactly,but the sentiment is there.

    Of course all presidents love power. they love the airplane and the helicopter and the weekend place and never having to wash dishes or make kid’s lunches and pick up their dirty socks. They love it that their wives have hair stylists on call that they ask someone else if they look fat in those pants, and their kids ride to school in the limo with the flags and even the puppy that someone else trains and cleans up after. No more cleaning out the gutters on fall weekends. They love Yo Yo Ma playing at their xmas party and the cool maps in the Situation Room. Who wouldn’t get carried away with all that?

    I worry about those little girls. They are still young enough to be fooled by servants and every flavor if ice cream one can imagine but one day they will ask their father what he really did during those years in the White House about serious stuff like sending young men and women off to a war we can’t win and we won’t win and what he did and did not do about torture. Their dad is the one guy who could really change things if he cared to keep his promises and what about that? a father who couldn’t keep his promises to the folks who elected him?

    Here is the cynicism creeping in again: even the Nazis had kids who loved their fathers and who played with them and sang them Deutchland Uber Alles as they drifted off to sleep and let them wear their boots and hats before they went off to work in the morning dreaming up more efficient ways to eliminate Jews, Gypsies, Gays, intellectuals and other undesirables who got in the way of their 1000 year Reich. I’m glad that I am not Michelle Obama telling her kids, “Daddy has to do stuff that he really doesn’t want to do but its for the good of the country.”

    Does any of this make you wonder where we’d be if Hilary Clinton had been elected?

  11. “The only mention of impeachment in this thread was a jokes. Civilized discourse is a lot easier if we don’t make caricatures out of the other side.

    While I agree that we should wait until we see what those rule changes are before passing judgment, what’s wrong with putting a little pressure to ensure that the rule changes address the right issues?”

    Gyges,
    Impeachment was the use of irony as you well know. However, when people actually are stating that there is no difference between Obama and Bush, and hyperbolic hooters like BVM are afoot, avoiding ridicule is I confess difficult. This Administration is a little more than 100 days old, it faces a total wall of Republican resistance and a host of Blue Dog Democrats that are at best right of center moderates. Money still rules D.C. despite who is in power. I believe that given that, this Administration is doing very well and certainly represents a sea change from the last.

    There’s nothing wrong with putting a little, or a lot of pressure on this Administration and 75% of my comments urge it. I believe that the Administration wants this pressure and needs it to make them act. However, when some on my side basically retreat to the everything is rotten position, then they preclude hope and to me ensure that nothing changes.
    That is the subtlety of my position. Pressure is good and necessary is good, making it all seem hopeless is bad.

    Back in the 60’s all us radicals would talk constantly about organizing and then we would discourage or alienate just those people who we needed to organize. Gee but those late night strategy sessions were fun, each of us trying to outdo the other with exhibitions of the purity of our political beliefs. They were so good we elected Nixon who tried to prove to us our belief about what a Fascist country we lived in.

  12. Mike,

    Maybe I should have just stuck with my Caricature comment. It applies to both sides of this equally. Obama isn’t Bush, he might not be cleaning up Bush’s mess the way some of us want him to, but he didn’t make the mess. The flip side is that the best way to draw attention to the fact that somebody doing acts they LOUDLY criticized someone else for is to draw a comparison between the two.

    I suggest we all just take the weekend off and go fishing. I know stream full of brook trout that need to be thinned.

  13. GW Law School Mom,

    Here’s my opinion for what it’s worth. Don’t get cynical (or don’t just get cynical), get angry. Cynicism can lead to inaction, which I believe is a disaster. Obama is doing things that are wrong. We will not be able to stop him if we get too cynical to say what he’s doing is wrong. We must protest and keep screaming and keep acting until this country turns around and lives up to what it should be. We should be very honest about what is going on and with that clear view in our hearts and minds, take action.

    Gyges,
    For my part I don’t think obama is bush. I think bush should be on trail for what he did. I also think obama needs an accounting for what he’s doing: ie: failing to investigate bush, allowing torture in Gitmo, spying on our populace, denying legal rights to detainees and warmongering resulting in civilian deaths (to name a few). Each man is responsible for his own actions and should be held to account for his own actions, no exceptions. Have fun fishing this weekend!

  14. Hey – just let a few things happen – these are bloody dangerous times! Sometimes the justice systems doesn’t work and we just have to do in on the down low. Keep your nose clean and don’t hang out with creepy Arab people who keep automatic rifles in the basement and mumble to themselves.

  15. Is this being done because his previous posture has proved logistically too difficult? The tribunal system has been demonstrably proven to not work but yet our President seems fit to – sort of – restore it. It sounds very much like he doesn’t quite know what to do and is going with ideas with precedent of late.

  16. Mike

    I remember those late night/all night strategy sessions too. We were usually pretty high at the time and if there is a reason why we failed it was because we were so disillusioned after Bobby Kennedy was assassinated and the National Guard moved into Kent State. Suddenly we went from having a candidate in 1968 who could defeat Nixon and then we had all those “America Love it or Leave it” and “Law and Order” (not the TV show) types. Hanoi Jane came home to Bel Air and made peace with Hollywood and got rich. And we all woke up one day, showered and cleaned up the bits of flowers on the ground. The boys cut their hair and the girls put on pantyhose (invented in 1971) and we all finished college or went to work or moved someplace else to further protract our adolescence. And then we got the gift of Watergate and we wasted that one too on Jimmy Carter a man who was too smart and too weak and could never bring himself to become a Washington insider and then we got 18% interest rates and the first lines at gas stations and brown outs.
    We all know the rest….how we got from there to here, and it wasn’t because we were so good that we allowed Nixon and Reagan and the Bushes into office it was because when we did have Congress and the White House we didn’t know what to do with it, we were too pure to use politics and thought that because our hearts were pure that government would do the bidding of the idealists.
    and then we got Bill Clinton and the rise of the religious right. And while President Clinton was the most effective of Democrats to come along in a long long time, smart and savvy, and effective enough to leave office with a huge surplus he was just a guy who did what lots of guys with power do, he enjoyed it too much. Hubris.

    On the other hand there may be another reason why our radicalism of the 60’s failed… it was run by the boys. Exclusively. We girls were allowed to hang out because we could make endless vats of organic spaghetti, roll the tightest, neatest one-paper joints and bake fabulous brownies in between doing laundry, dishes, running the mimeograph machine and having lots of seemingly indiscriminate sex. Policy was left to the guys and look at the mess that they made of it.
    By the time we got organized and most of us were single mothers who did the college re-entry thing and we moved with great speed and ferocity into business and politics and just look at what happens to us, how women are still treated.
    Nancy Pelosi is as good a politician as any man but she is called a whore without any proof and why?

    Gee I can’t believe no one did not ever write a folk song about that.

  17. Mike S. and Mespo,
    I am with you on this one. The changes that have been advertised seem to make the commissions very “trial-like” in that hearsay will be outlawed and evidence derived from torture will not be admissable. If these changes do come about, the commissions may be more like a military court. I would be ok with that as long as it isn’t the rigged, we must convice at all costs commissions that Bush tried to pass off as fair. If the changes don’t come about, then it would be time to sound the alarm.

  18. GWLSM,
    Good summation of the times and afterwords. Two things I’d like to note, though. I was a Bobby supporter big time and felt he would have surpassed his brother as President. The night he was shot I couldn’t go to sleep and couldn’t work the next day. however, I think Nixon, who won narrowly, got elected because while we raised political hell, we alienated just those people whose support we needed. There is an excellent book about this called “Nixonland,” by a liberal historian Rick Pearlstein. It was apt that you mentioned “Hanoi
    Jane” because she did us all no favors and as history has shown she lacked much political depth and was an actor in her own narcissistic movie.

    The other point I’d like to comment on was in my opinion a good reading of some of our failures and needs reiteration:

    “On the other hand there may be another reason why our radicalism of the 60’s failed… it was run by the boys. Exclusively. We girls were allowed to hang out because we could make endless vats of organic spaghetti, roll the tightest, neatest one-paper joints and bake fabulous brownies in between doing laundry, dishes, running the mimeograph machine and having lots of seemingly indiscriminate sex. Policy was left to the guys and look at the mess that they made of it.”

    Now while I could roll a one paper joint, one handed while driving, every other point is well taken. The “Movement” and it allied group was male-dominated and inherently sexist while paying lip service to woman’s rights. This was a fatal flaw because in the end the leaders were very bit as macho in outlook and rigid in philosophy, as were the opposition.
    Had women been allowed equality in power, than perhaps the actions would have been less proof of manhood and more about our goals. Men who think themselves the smarter sex are not only woefully mistaken, but inherently incapable of leading a movement to save humanity.

    So many confrontations were caused by this macho attitude, despite the mantra to not act violently, that the “Movement” lost sight of its’ goals and over estimated its power. This was to me because the strategy was to look to provoke violent response and the excesses resorted to in doing so, made our side look irresponsible rather than deserving of sympathy. In trying to prove our point that our opponents were violent, a moot point at best, we handed them the ammunition to destroy our message of hope and peace.

    The other problem was that some of the people of the loose coalition were representative of various shades of Marxist belief. These were people more interested in pushing their part line than in actually creating a better world. I knew regular CP types, Maoists, Trotskyites and numerous other gradations. They used women for one other purpose and that was to lure young men in sexually. These groups had rigid party lines and engaged in constant purges. As a young hippie who enjoyed partying and getting high, they appeared to me to be of the same stripe as those we were fighting. I was interested in making the world a more humane place, where all sexes and sexual preferences were free to be themselves, while these groups were sexist, homophobic and actually innately racist although the appeared on the surface to be the opposite.

    All of that experience hasn’t changed my wishes for a humane and sane world, but it taught me that just because people share the same cause, doesn’t mean they’re my kind of people.

  19. Mike, GWLSM, We remember two different revolutions. Maybe I just put a different spin on the same facts. The one I remember started in Berkley officially in opposition to the war. The mid to late sixties was the great push-back on the civil rights front and imperialism-as-usual front. Cities burned, our political and spiritual leaders were assassinated and the Washington Mall was as big a venue as Woodstock. It was a revolution on all fronts, an uprising with no central command.

    A President was turned out of office and replaced by a guy no one would buy a used car from (bad PR moves from the left majorly contributed) but he was forced from office also. The women’s movement was born, the environmental movement really took off and America elected Jimmy Carter. Remember his Law Day speech, reprinted in I believe it was, Rolling Stone. It was unprecedented for for it’s candor from a politician. I knew he would be our next president when I read it and though my friends laughed when I told them about him they ended up voting for him: http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.org/documents/law.pdf

    The great and noble ‘F*** you’ vote against the political establishment was cast. Carter was hated by the Democrats and Republicans (as an outsider) and couldn’t get any domestic programs or legislation passed so he made the smart move early on and became a foreign policy president where he was stunningly successful. Obama is this time what Jimmy Carter was to that time IMO and got elected for the same reason; he’s smart and he’s ‘not them’.

    It was a fine insurrection. But Mao was right, revolution must be multi-generational, a nearly permanent fixture. But people can’t spend their entire lives in revolt so we went out and did things people do to make a living and tend a family and dropped the ball, we didn’t pass the spirit on. It died of neglect. And cheap, nearly universal credit. Credit bridged the gap between the haves and the have nots (making a middle class disposable) and much of the next generations platform for agitation, economic justice, became almost a non-issue.

    Even the faux-pas and buffoons were useful: Jane Fonda (and others) taught us to embrace the troops and verbally kiss the butt of anybody in uniform as good politics and Bobby Seale was such a loud-mouthed sexist and he made so many women angry that they peeled off the broad fight for civil rights and joined/made a movement all their own. And, the music was great and the drugs cheap.

    It was a fine revolution, and short. I just don’t know what more people could want from a revolution :-)

  20. MILITARY DOCUMENTS HEADED WITH SCRIPTURE QUOTES!!!!
    OH MY GOD!

    OK Mr President – YOU are busy with many urgent issues.
    America knows why they are urgent: the 35 year marriage of Congress to Corp with primarily Republican majorities over that time.
    Yes – WE KNOW the seeds of the problems rest in Congress working for and being at the recieving end of Big Business for too long AND inappropriately NOT listening too or working for the PEOPLE and THEIR voices.

    TODAY WE SEE MILITARY REPORTS AND DOCUMENTS QUOTING SCRIPTURES!!!!! OH MY GOD! I am a christian of 45 years, whose mind has been renewed with truth about God’s gay children having equal rights, religion has done wrong, again on that. AND our Government who seems to support discrimination here, as the military – MY GOD! Seperate is NOT equal here!

    WE MUST PROSECUTE, INVESTIGATE THE LEADERS WHO DO WRONG, BREAK LAWS AND CREATE ENEMIES FOR US RATHER THAN FRIENDS! AMERICANS WILL NOT, CANNOT HEAL, MOVE FORWARD IN TRUST AND GOOD SPIRIT UNTIL ACCOUNTIBILITY IS MADE AND WE ARE ALLOWED AS A NATION TO APOLOGIZE TO THE WORLD FOR OUR LACK OF HAVING ANY POWER TO STOP A ROGUE PRESIDENT!

    The Americans you talked to amd met over 2 years campaigning were standing outside last week for single payer healthcare. YOU KNOW it is just and right! And you turned them away. Who made the rules that employers are resonsible for healthcare? Well, there’s the description of that “marriage” between Congress and Corp.

    And now you have this illegal faith based 8 year program, where Congress has married GIG RELIGIOUS BUSINESS; fought in courts across the land daily, WASTEFUL, riddled with mistakes and missing funds, property, unmonitored and using empolyees that think it is their spirtual duty to discriminate! It will fall like Wall Street to our shame inside our own government, or shut down eventually by the court to YOUR shame as well. MY GOD! Keep Church and State Seperate! It is one of those things you mentioned as you spoke at graduations: “some things are NOT reconciling.”

    Mr President – get real with the Change YOU know Americans asked for – beginning in 2006 they demanded investigations on Bush. Pelosi knew it and went political for YOU instead of getting further through these crimes than we are now – LEAVING THEM FOR YOU.
    NEVERTHELESS, YOU are the one that we mandate to deal with it, like it or not.

    YOU KNOW THE CHANGES WE DEMANDED ARE TO BE MOSTLY WITHIN OUR GOVERNMENT….FIRST…AND YOU MUST DO THESE THINGS!

    SCRIPTURES ON MILITARY DOCUMENTS!!!!!!! ILLEGAL WARS!!!!
    THINK OF OUR SHAME! Think of yours?

    God is not anywhere near all this! – period!

    cindy hadden

    centralia, WA 98531

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