Obama Orders Resumption of Military Tribunals

In yet another slap at civil liberties and civil libertarians, President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday that will resume military tribunal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Obama has ordered the resumption of these trials — denounced both domestically and internationally as trumped up proceedings designed to make convictions easier by omitting core constitutional and procedural protections. Indeed, these tribunals are being heralded as guaranteeing swift punishment — an implied recognition that we could not convict some of these individuals in a fair federal trial.

It is a cynical calculation by the Administration that civil libertarians have no where to go in the next election — a calculation that has been reaffirmed by many liberals who complain about Obama’s anti-civil liberties policies but still say that they have to support him. This support is continuing despite Obama’s blocking of any prosecution for torture or investigation of alleged war crimes.

The Republicans have complimented Obama on his decision and drawn the fair and obvious conclusion that he has once again reaffirmed Bush’s policies. Rep. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, observed “the bottom line is that it affirms the Bush administration policy that our government has the right to detain dangerous terrorists until the cessation of hostilities.”

The Obama Administration’s position is perfectly incomprehensible. As with Bush, Obama will now choose Caesar-like between those who will receive a fair trial in federal court and those who are sent to military tribunals. The decision will be made on the need for the tribunals to secure conviction under “special” rules that deny the defendant core protections and rights.

Source: The Washington Post

Jonathan Turley

156 thoughts on “Obama Orders Resumption of Military Tribunals”

  1. Mike,

    Never said you did. I was augmenting your and Buddha’s discussion and further explaining my reasons for not voting for a second term for Mr. Obama.

  2. “The fact is, in order to “change the system” from the inside, you need enough people on the inside that wants it changed.”

    I never said anything about changing the system from the inside. That doesn’t work. Only from outside pressure is there a possibility of changing any system. However, my point I believe clearly distinguishes change in the system, from needing to vote in 2012. The former isn’t done in one, or any election in the near future. It is establishing a movement that can supply the impetus for change. The latter is about being a Christian in the Colliseum and staving off the lions, so to speak.

  3. My support for Obama grows stronger with each new attempt by a republican governor to break the back of unions. The major shift I see going on is an attempt by the republicans to privatize everything.

  4. Mike and Buddha (and everyone else),

    The fact is, in order to “change the system” from the inside, you need enough people on the inside that wants it changed. I just don’t see how you can vote for someone who has actively demonstrated a resistance to changing the system and then complain that your efforts to change the system fail. Just because a bunch of people who really want large scale change voted for President Obama doesn’t alter that the changes he wants are tweaks.

    We’re at the edge of a major shift in quite a few things about our society, not to adjust tactics accordingly is to foolish. Remember, at one point the Whigs were inside the system and the Republicans were outside.


    Human behaviors might be complex, but as a whole human motivations are pretty simple.

  5. “The answer is peaceful resistance now.”


    That is of course the answer and it will be for years to come. The mentioning of 2012 as the focus was not my idea, nor is it a solution, but in my opinion at least a stopgap measure. One of my closest friends, who died too early, constantly wore either a tee or a sweat that said “Question Authority” and in truth that has been the history of my life. When you say “The answer is peaceful resistance now,” you are totally correct from the perspective of what are we to do right now. That always must be to stand up against wrong and I’ll be right there on the lines. It is not, however, the final answer to how we achieve victory and while i believe in action now, I long to see a means to end this Plutocrat drive towards Feudalism.

  6. Buddha,

    I can’t disagree with anything in your comment above. Things are truly awful and as yet there is no discernable way we can put the genie back in the bottle, if indeed it ever resided there. There is a battle to be waged of course, but my own sense is that it will be a long and hard one, stemming from the tipping point of
    the Plutocracy’s overreaching and making clear to the populace that the American Dream for most of us is a fraud.

    Smarter people than I, I hope will finally come up with a workable strategy for overthrowing the Plutocracy, given the enormous handicaps we face. Until then we must indeed keep up the pressure, but at the same time protect people to any extent possible from the depradations of the Feudalist Plutocrats. Are there certain conditions where I would go into the streets, yes there are if faced with a Fascist takeover, with its concommitant brutality to one or another mythological scapegoats. That time is not yet upon us and the masses of people still are ignorant of the dangers they face. That is why I write here, protest and try to convince people that all this political crap is an illusion that keeps them from realizing the truth.

    However, as I’ve alluded to before violent revolutions simply don’t work because even if the “good guys” win the
    violence needed for that path ultimately corrupts them
    into becoming what they profess to hate. The movie Viva Zapata, with Marlon Brando expressed this exceptionally well.

  7. Jill,

    Governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Snyder of Michigan, Daniels of Indiana, Kasich of Ohio, Rick Scott of Florida scare the hell out of me–a lot more than Obama. And–as you know–I’m no Obama apologist. Add to that the GOP’s war on women and working people. Where do you think that leaves us in regard to the 2012 election? Every time I think I’ve had it with Obama the Republicans do such despicable things that it makes me think I may have to vote Democratic in the next presidential election.

  8. this is from Naomi Klein’s interview. I thank Tom Larsen for the transcript: “NK: “…when bad things are happening, it’s helpful to have a bad guy. And Scott Walker is a good bad guy. And he has galvanized progressives. And people have, you know, an enemy to organize around and to point out these disparities. It hasn’t happened at the federal level, despite the fact that Obama is also involved in attacking labor rights with his pushing of charter schools and draconian budget cuts. He’s not a good bad guy for progressives. So, we’re still in a situation where Obama is getting away with, in my opinion, shock doctrine-style tactics, because people don’t—still don’t want to believe that Obama is doing it, too.

    So, when you have an easy bad guy, a Republican governor who’s obviously trying to be the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, you can mobilize the left. But it won’t just work if we are only going after the Republicans and if this is fought along just partisan lines, as opposed to being fought based on principle. No matter who is doing it, we need to be mobilizing, if it’s Obama, if it’s Scott Walker.”

  9. Damn Mike S.,

    I was opting for the Cult like status….It would be fun….like watching cats be herded…. So…now what is Elsine going to do….she has been cult..ivating for a while now….

    Only kidding…I kinda took offense at the mere suggestion…

  10. Mike,

    Thanks for your response and I think it goes to the heart of my answer for Bob. And that answer is that there is no easy answer. Individual reactions to disappointment and deceit are as varied as the individuals themselves. Our system of government has been co-opted by evil people who are manifestly evil regardless of their party/tribal affiliation. However, because of this, the options for restoring the system from within the system are being blocked. I think I can speak for all the regulars here in that were there an option for peaceful transition away from corporatism and to restore the rule of law and democracy, that we would all be in favor of it. Unfortunately, it is becoming more apparent each day that absent something truly horrible happening – which it will with the bunch of sociopaths we’ve got at the helm now (from both parties) – there simply won’t be enough public pressure to force that change internally. The other options left all involve both escalating tyranny and escalating violence in response. When I started posting here, I was still convinced there was time to right the ship of state. Now? Absent extreme solutions, I only see ever increasing state sponsored tyranny further exacerbating the illegitimate actions of government and the eventual resultant bad consequences as illustrated by history. When We the People are finally forced into open rebellion against our oppressors (and on the current path it is a matter of when, not if), it will make the Civil War look like a high school wrestling match. None of this changes that the right thing to do is to try to repair the system from within. None of this changes that the trends of increasing corporatism and disregard for civil and human rights will end in blood. Argumentation? The time for words and argument are coming to an end as they only work when the rule of law is both obeyed and applied with equity and justice.

    Obama has not simply missed the window for corrective action. He nailed it shut by refusing to prosecute Bush and Cheney. He painted it black by claiming he has the right monarchical right to commit extrajudicial assassination of American citizens (i.e. murder).

    And as We the People learned in 1776, there are but two responses to the jackboot of tyranny. The first? You submit and become slaves. The second? You break the ankles wearing the boots, which usually comes with several kicks to the head for your efforts. To be clear, I am neither advocating submission to evil men nor am I promoting sedition and rebellion. I’m saying these outcomes are inevitable as submission to tyranny always ends in revolt. I’m saying that on our current trajectory, there is no peaceful solution because those in power have a vested interest in not providing such a solution. American pols by in large are having a prolonged “Let them eat cake” moment. They will continue to do so, ever increasing the pressure on citizens until finally a tipping point is reached. They are cutting off our noses to spite their faces.

    There is no implementable solution in the current climate where crimes by politicians and corporate thieves are rewarded.

    This is a tale that will end badly.

    You’ll have to pardon me if that assessment is less optimistic than my usual outlook for the future. I’m not feeling well. A fever usually brings out my irritable yet cynically and brutally truthful side.

  11. Mike S,

    I read your post of 7:19 and I posted this last night, but I think it bears repeating:

    “Your post is a prime example of why I started participating on this blog. Your opinions are well thoughtout, concise, and from the heart. Don’t sell yourself short – I, as well as others here I’m sure, get a lot out of your posts.”

    On another note, glad to hear all went well with the checkup 😉

  12. Mike S.,

    The answer is peaceful resistance now. Voting in 2012 is too late. Bad things are happening to other people and to our Constitution right now. We can’t wait to worry about a vote in 2012. I realize everyone can’t be on the street but almost anyone can do something, no matter how small, to resist what is wrong. One thing is to never justify that wrongdoing just because it’s Obama doing it. Naomi Klein speaks about how people aren’t coming to terms with who Obama is on Democracy Now today. It’s worth hearing.

    We can mobilize. We can speak out. What we cannot afford is allowing this behavior to continue. Practically speaking, whatever liberals excuse now will belong to a Republican in the future, so basically it’s now or never.

Comments are closed.