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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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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