Obama's Shift on Gitmo and Military Commissions

Time Magazine reports on The Fall of Greg Craig:

Obama quietly killed the Gitmo plan in the second week of May; Craig never got a chance to argue the case to the President. "It was a political decision, to put it bluntly," says an aide.

...The White House realized it had to start over on a signature issue....First to go was the release of the pictures of detainee abuse. Days later, Obama sided against Craig again, ending the suspension of Bush's extrajudicial military commissions. The following week, Obama pre-empted an ongoing debate among his national-security team and embraced one of the most controversial of Bush's positions: the holding of detainees without charges or trial, something he had promised during the campaign to reject.


This is interesting:

Beginning in the first two weeks of May, Obama took harder lines on government secrecy, on the fate of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and on the prosecution of terrorists worldwide. The President was moving away from some promises he had made during the campaign and toward more moderate positions, some favored by George W. Bush. At the same time, he quietly shifted responsibility for the legal framework for counterterrorism from Craig to political advisers overseen by Emanuel, who was more inclined to strike a balance between left and right.

George Bush's positions were moderate?

And there you have it. The Obama Administration's positions on legal rights and "the war on terror" will be determined by politics, not our constitution or the rule of law.

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    After Obama's vote on FISA, (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 12:32:32 PM EST
    I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised by him pursuing Bush's moderate :-) stance.

    Obama (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 12:34:35 PM EST
    has conceded every point on the WOT to Bush/Cheney essentially saying that they did everything right.

    What a nightmare. n/t (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 12:56:08 PM EST

    And of course by conceding ... (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by trillian on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 01:15:41 PM EST
    ..he leaves the door open for their come back.

    In a sane world, Bush/Cheney would have been run out of town in disgrace. Instead a Democratic President is making them respectable.  

    If it weren't so damn tragic it would be knee slapping hilarious.

    But-- but-- (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by lambert on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 01:22:49 PM EST
    Obama was a professor of Constitutional law!

    Small "p." (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 01:30:21 PM EST
    And How Many Times (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by CDN Ctzn on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 01:34:20 PM EST
    did some of us here try to point out the glaring inconsistencies we were seeing on the campaign trail. "Don't Worry" they told us, "What's important is that we have a Democrat in the White House" and then they accused of of being like spoiled kids who never get enough. And God forbid that any of us should have mentioned a third party candidate...
    This is one of the greatest bait and switches in history and some of us, sad to say, saw it coming. Now we all get to pay the price!

    It's Distressing To Realize (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by The Maven on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 02:06:58 PM EST
    that there are apparently still quite a few folks out there, ostensibly on "our side", who continue to be willing to give Obama yet another pass here.  Clearly, the idea that we were all proud members of the reality-based community was nothing more than wishful thinking.  Obama's defenders here -- backed by the supposed conventional wisdom of the Village Idiots -- have proven themselves to be little different from the Bushist dead-enders whom we mocked and deemed irrelevant from policy considerations (in that their minds were utterly closed to reason and fact).

    Sadly, it seems as though to the Obama Administration, the Constitution is nothing more than a nice piece of parchment sitting in a glass case over at the National Archives, and David Addington's radical and extra-constitutional unitary executive theory is being given a bi-partisan precedential imprimatur.

    As you say, we many of us tried to sound warning alarms, but we were perceived as Cassandras, with the result that our nation's values are increasingly degraded.


    Actually, Senior Lecturer (none / 0) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 02:06:03 PM EST
    And the "Senior" part was most likely a (none / 0) (#16)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 07:09:37 PM EST
    gift from the person who got him the gig. Let's see, which of his friends taught at the same school?

    Like an "adjunct professor," to me (none / 0) (#18)
    by lambert on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 08:37:30 PM EST
    Anyhow, I didn't hear "Senior Lecturer" from the OFB, but I heard "Professor" quite a bit.

    Anybody who has attended University (none / 0) (#20)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 09:51:33 PM EST
    knows that "Professor" is a generic term for people who teach students there. Nobody refers to people as Assistant Professor X or Associate Professor Y; people call them Professors even if an Assistant Prof is not a tenured faculty. Post Doctoral Researchers teach a lot of undergraduate students in most Ivy League schools, even they are mostly referred to as "Professors" by most students instead of "Post Doctoral Researcher A or B"
    From what I also read, the President was offered a full Professorship at the Univ of Chicago at one time. He declined that because it would interfere with his political ambitions.
    Some of the insults that have been hurled at Obama by Clinton supporters have indeed bordered on the juvenile. Many of the same people who mock Obama also believe that the Arkansas bar exam is a lot tougher than the DC bar exam, and
    being a Professor at the University of Arkansas is the highest intellectual attainment that any law school faculty can strive for.

    Insults hurled by Clinton supporters? (none / 0) (#21)
    by lambert on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:21:38 PM EST
    You mean that you consider asking how giving retroactive immunity to the telcos for warrantless surveillance squares with professing Constitutional law?

    That's your definition of juvenile? If it's not, why bring it up?


    Read your own posts (none / 0) (#24)
    by Politalkix on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 02:03:27 PM EST
    and that of others with whom you were having a conversation in this thread. You will get your answer.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#28)
    by lambert on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 10:23:19 PM EST
    Most of the posters here know me pretty well, so I've got my answer.

    Some of us feel the granting the telcos retroactive immunity is incompatible with any honest approach to Constitutional law -- especially with one who professes the law.

    You, apparently, feel differently. So, I have my answer!


    Well, it is one thing for a student to refer to (none / 0) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:36:51 PM EST
    a Lecturer, or Teaching or Research Assistant as "professor"l, and another for a Lecturer or Teaching or Research Assistant/Associate to call them self a professor.  It is not an insult to ask for accuracy in describing an academic position, when the ranks do having meaning. But it is an insult to those who earned a professorship to have that status inaccurately appropriated.    As you point out, there is a difference in academic ranks, and Mr. Obama, so the story continues, declined a professorship--not even an assistant or associate professorship.  Not that there is anything wrong with being a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer.

    Please educate yourself (none / 0) (#23)
    by Politalkix on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 01:55:43 PM EST
    The University of Chicago, itself, had released a statement that Obama was a Professor.



    Thanks, but this press release (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 02:23:00 PM EST
    was widely distributed during the campaign.  It can be noted that it states that he held the title of Senior Lecturer, and Lecturer before that.   Equating professor with either title  is inconsistent with the University of Chicago's own faculty by-laws.  It should simply have stated that Obama was a member of the faculty, having served as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer.  Senior Lecturers are customarily part-time faculty members who are noted  in their field (such as Obama, as state senator, or federal judges.) It was nice  that the Law School tried to help a former faculty member by blurring the situation at that time during a heated campaign.

    It is insane, IMO, (none / 0) (#26)
    by Politalkix on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 03:05:40 PM EST
    to insinuate that the Univ of Chicago was conspiring to "blur the situation at that time during a heated campaign". Just go to their website and look for faculty names under "Senior Lecturers". Follow this link.
    You will see a number of people described as "Professors" who are categorized under "Senior Lecturers", so I do not believe that the Univ of Chicago was making something up for Obama to help him.
    Anyways, I just find it ridiculuos to dwell anymore on this subject. If you feel some satifaction in calling Obama "Senior Lecturer" or "Lecturer" instead of Professor, why should I stand in your way! :-)

    The link portrays something other (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 03:24:08 PM EST
    than what you say.  The listing is under "Faculty" not Professors.  Moreover, the  the professors under the rubric Senior Lecturers are professor emeritus AND Senior Lecturer.  Actually, I call Mr. Obama, President Obama.  But, as you point out so well, while at the University of Chicago Law School, his title was Senior Lecturer, and before that, Lecturer.  Perhaps we can agree that it prestigious in our society to be a professor, or  to be considered to be one.

    I think Robert Bork is too. (none / 0) (#14)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 02:39:27 PM EST
    That retort never went over well around the true believers.

    See Greenwald today. Heavy sarcasm. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 01:30:45 PM EST

    A devastating article (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 01:41:12 PM EST
    For all the constant allegations, continuing to this day, that Bill Clinton decided everything by polling and political considerations, I don't believe he made a single decision of anywhere near this seriousness purely on the basis of politics.  Appalling.  Disgraceful.

    it's more than a bit scary (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by cpinva on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 02:12:20 PM EST
    to think this is an example of the legal minds, along with the likes of john yoo, being produced by the nation's law schools.

    i want a primary do over!

    Well, as Gomer Pyle used to say: (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by shoephone on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 02:38:09 PM EST
    Surpraz, surpraz. Nothing much new here, for those of us who were hip to the b.s. of hopey-changeyness from the beginning.

    Rahm Emanuel as Dick Cheney. Gee, who knew?

    Are heads exploding over at the orange place yet? I don't have the stomach to look.

    And what, pray tell, has he gained (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 07:41:46 PM EST
    politically? The support of conservatives, or even conservaDems, for the rest of his agenda? 'Hands off' from the right? They still look at him as a Kenyan commie. I could almost understand doing things for political considerations when you get something back for it.

    I am left with the conclusion that he does agree with these positions.

    Politics (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by lentinel on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 08:57:02 PM EST
    And there you have it. The Obama Administration's positions on legal rights and "the war on terror" will be determined by politics, not our constitution or the rule of law.

    There's another possibility.
    This is the real Obama.
    When push comes to shove, he cares no more about our constitution or the rule of law than his predecessor.

    Presumption of Innocence as Insult and Farce (none / 0) (#15)
    by kidneystones on Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 06:43:26 PM EST
    Unfortunately, there is a history of military tribunals that tracks back as long as the sad history of war.

    Rather than pursue that path, the administration has chosen to stage a show-trial where the outcome is a foregone conclusion. I spent a short time around the military justice system and the axion: 'March that guilty SOB in here for his trial', holds. That kind of 'justice' goes with the territory.

    The opposite is supposed to be true for regular folks. So either KSM and company are just like us: innocent until proven guilty; or their in the wrong justice system. The president (I thought) was supposed to defend the constitution and the constitutional rights of all accused of any crime, not assure citizens of the guilt of the accused.

    Folks who fly planes into buildings don't have much in the way of rights, from where I stand. And I suspect I'm not alone. A military tribunal is more than KSM and company deserve. There should absolutely be investigations to determine the legitimacy of all charges against all detainees. That should not take place in a forum where there is a presumption of innocence.

    These folks were picked up (wrongly, perhaps) on a field of battle; and don't deserve the same protections civilians enjoy.