Brennan And The War On Terror

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, gave a speech at Harvard Law School entitled “Strengthening our Security by Adhering to our Values and Laws.” According to Marty Lederman, “it is the most comprehensive single statement of the Obama Administration’s policies and practices with respect to al Qaeda and other terrorist threats.”

Many supporters of the previous administration, including Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Yoo, would have us believe the Obama administration is continuing policies from the Bush administration. They perceive this continuation as a vindication of their policy choices. Their understandable desire for vindication makes suspect their claims of continuation. In many crucial areas, these claims are false.

Regarding Guantánamo Bay, Brennan notes a significant departure from the Bush administration:

The prison at Guantánamo Bay undermines our national security, and our nation will be more secure the day when that prison is finally and responsibly closed.  For all of the reasons mentioned above, we will not send more individuals to the prison at Guantánamo.

Regarding torture:

Consistent with our laws and our values, the President unequivocally banned torture and other abusive interrogation techniques, rejecting the claim that these are effective means of interrogation.

On using the courts:

It’s also been suggested that prosecuting terrorists in our federal courts somehow impedes the collection of intelligence.  A long record of experience, however, proves otherwise.

Our federal courts are time-tested, have unquestioned legitimacy, and, at least for the foreseeable future, are capable of producing a more predictable and sustainable result than military commissions.

In short, our Article III courts are not only our single most effective tool for prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing suspected terrorists—they are a proven tool for gathering intelligence and preventing attacks.

On issuing Miranda warnings:

Claims that Miranda warnings undermine intelligence collection ignore decades of experience to the contrary.

As Juliette Kayyem wrote:

It has simply not been more of the same. The CIA’s “black sites”–secret prisons in other countries–are closed.  Enhanced interrogation is outlawed.  The laws of war have been restored.  Guantanamo remains open not because Obama wants it that way, but because Congress has barred the expenditure of funds to bring its prisoners to the United States for trial.

There has been a significant departure from the Bush administration policies in another notable area: the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Bush famously said: “You know, I just don’t spend that much time on [bin Laden] … to be honest with you.” Least we forget, it was Bush who disbanded the CIA unit, known as Alec Station, whose mission was to hunt down bin Laden.

It was the Obama administration that put forward the effort to find bin Laden. Now the members of the Bush administration are engaged in a pathetic attempt to diminish Obama’s success by trying to claim some of the credit.

H/T: Opinio Juris.

73 thoughts on “Brennan And The War On Terror”

  1. Oh now, Woosty. AY’s not a bot.

    You all play nice or the Boogie Man will get you. I have his e-mail address. Don’t make me use it!

  2. AY,

    “But in the words that I heard so well…I do want to…or I don’t feel like it….seem to come to mind…so…thank you for your input…Just read what you want….and ignore the rest…”

    Aww, false compliments seem to be the only I can garner.

    AY, you should recognize that your digs at SM are now starting to make me, and possibly others, ignore your posts. Is this what you really want?

  3. No Vendetta…really….Honestly….I have no feelings one way or the other….except to warn others of a possible conflict…

    gbk, I am unsure if we have ever had discourse before…I wish you the best…

    But in the words that I heard so well…I do want to…or I don’t feel like it….seem to come to mind…so…thank you for your input…Just read what you want….and ignore the rest…

  4. AY,

    “I am free to post as I wish…”

    I know this, AY.

    “You are free to ignore them…”

    I know this also, AY.

    “I expressed my honest opinion and was called a Republican…”

    I know this too, AY. I’ve read that thread many times.

    “In case you are not aware…this is a site that is in defense of the 1st Amendment….until told not to post by the owners, operator of the site…I’ll do it…Ok…”

    I never called for censorship AY. I’m just asking you to give up your vendetta against SM, simply because in the large scheme of things your thoroughly chewed bone is detrimental to discourse.

  5. rafflaw,

    That was gbk’s thought and I agreed … if George Washington had felt that way we’d probably be living under a monarchy today. These guys just don’t get it.

  6. gbk,

    I am free to post as I wish…You are free to ignore them…deal…..I expressed my honest opinion and was called a Republican… and someone else does the same….I figure it is fair warning….In case you are not aware…this is a site that is in defense of the 1st Amendment….until told not to post by the owners, operator of the site…I’ll do it…Ok…

    Gotta a problem with this….then email the professor…

  7. It’s getting real old. People are even getting ginned up from Ireland to assist.

  8. AY,

    Thanks for letting me know I can ignore things – should make tomorrow much more productive.

    Your currently incessant digs at SM over multiple threads and many weeks — such as this one in this thread:

    “You best be careful….someone might mistake you for a GOP operative….”

    needs to die a humble death.

  9. gbk,

    You are free to ignore and not read any post you want….deal? I do not recall having any interaction with you…but we can correspond if you wish….Your call…

  10. I wasn’t even for Obama originally but would never entertain the idea of voting for any of the current republican candidates. He is all we have unless one wants Perry. Obama will beat Perry with women and minorities. Perry is leading among white men.

  11. “It seems to me that Obama is protecting the expansion of executive powers.” (gbk)

    Yep, that too … the more power the executive holds, the more power the CIA wields. It’s a lovely partnership serving American’s best interests … perpetual war.

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