Obama to Announce Continuation of Military Commissions

Tomorrow, President Barack Obama will announce his decision to continue military commissions trials against Guantanamo detainees.

He will say he's giving the detainees greater rights, including:

  • Restrictions on hearsay evidence that can be used in court against the detainees.
  • A ban on all evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. This would include statements given from detainees who were subjected to waterboarding.
  • Giving detainees greater leeway in choosing their own military counsel.
  • Protecting detainees who refuse to testify from legal sanctions or other court prejudices.

It's not enough. The commissions are flawed beyond repair. More from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

< New Drug Czar Signals Shift in War on Drugs | House Dems Say "No" To Obama Request for Gitmo Closing Funds >
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    My troubled feeling isn't getting any better (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:01:12 PM EST
    And Glenn Greenwald's latest piece really exposes the wounds for all to feel if they are capable.  The things that have been done in the past three days have me very troubled about my very new president.  I wanted so much to be able to heal from the past eight years, not have to continue to fight and fight and fight for a return to basic human decency.

    troubled here, too (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by kempis on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:06:32 PM EST
    My general stance on the Obama Administration has been wait-and-see. On torture and treatment of "detainees," so far I am increasingly uncomfortable with what I'm seeing--and I don't understand it.

    Boy, you are not kidding about Glenn's (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:26:03 PM EST
    post - actually several of them, lately, but today's just made me feel like I'd been punched in the gut.

    It makes me feel sick and ashamed and scared and sad.

    And now this - God, I hated that we caved on the MCA in the first place, all that talk about how it would be fixed "later," and here we are, with a president who is just picking up where Bush left off, abandoning everything he said he stood for, and for what?

    And we aren't even going to have the consolation prize of the kind of health care reform we so desperately need, and now he's talking about Social Security.

    I used to think I'd seen FUBAR before, but this?  This is FUBAR.

    I don't even know who we are anymore, and I'm mad as hell that Obama - the guy who was going to get back our dignity and restore our honor and bring transparency and accountability to government - has apparently perpetrated a bamboozle to end all bamboozles - in less than 120 days.  I can't even wrap my head around that - I've tried and I can't.

    Mad as hell, Tracy, mad as hell.


    As someone who didn't support Obama (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by eric on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:15:16 PM EST
    in the primary season, but one that has been his defender since then because I do think that there are some compromises and realities that might come to light after he actually won, I will say that this is unacceptable.


    geez, he's turning out (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:52:27 PM EST
    worse than i thought he would, during the primaries.

    contrary to BTD's baseless assertion yesterday, i think clinton would have been significantly different than obama, as president. no doubt she'd have her flaws, but i remain unconvinced this would be among them.

    so how is he materially different from bush? ok, yeah, he can complete whole sentences, that actually are coherent, but aside from that..............

    I speculated (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:46:17 PM EST
    about what a President Hillary Clinton would do, not asserted.

    We of course will never know what she would have done.

    you too are speculating, as is your right.


    not to be nitpicky (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Fri May 15, 2009 at 07:55:00 AM EST
    or anything, but..................

    assertion = a declarative statement of fact.

    speculation = an opinion

    you stated that there's not a dime's worth of difference between clinton and obama, vis a vis policy issues. this was an assertion of fact, not speculative opinion. at least, that's how it's consistently been presented. perhaps poor wording?

    based on her history, and obama's lack thereof, i would have to vigorously disagree with you, there's at least a quarter's worth of differences between them, policy wise.

    whether or not those differences would show themselves in this particular issue is a matter of speculation, agreed. however, if her past is any predictor (and i believe it is, as it is for nearly everyone) of what her actions would have been as president, she would have been a far more progressive one than obama is slowly turning into.

    but yes, you've stated categorically, many times, over the past year and a half, that there are no significant differences between obama and clinton, with respect to policy. that has proven incorrect legislatively.


    cheney is Obama's daddy (none / 0) (#2)
    by pluege on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:55:52 PM EST

    That's not funny! (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:05:05 PM EST
    What if Obama ends up with more than a Sith arm coming to terms with the forces that be.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#9)
    by eric on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:36:23 PM EST
    the force is strong in that one.  But let's hope he has the strength to resist.

    Well (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Fri May 15, 2009 at 09:26:13 AM EST
    they ARE related, remember......

    Hmm (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:35:25 PM EST
    wonder what kind of SC Justice he's going to appoint now?

    No error (none / 0) (#12)
    by Andreas on Fri May 15, 2009 at 12:38:22 AM EST
    No, this was not an "error". He knew what he did.

    What I'd like to have heard... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Woodman on Fri May 15, 2009 at 03:06:34 AM EST

    CNN quoted B.H.O., "The message that we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism," Obama said on January 22. "And we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals."

    Though a little more talking, here's what I'd like to have heard...

    No humanitarian nation can neglect its duty to the public-safety aspect of human-decency.  A good part of our duty to public-safety is vigilantly and effectively prosecuting perpetrators of terror and/or violence.  Additionally, a good part of our duty to human-decency is to conduct our prosecutions in accord with the Practical Imperative to fully respect, be they perpetrator or prosecutor, inalienable human-rights.  As an exemplar of democratic justice, we very much want to show the world that the U.S. is faithful to it's Constitution, U.N. and international human-rights agreements and the ideals and values which support achieving decency via decency.

    that would require a backbone. (none / 0) (#15)
    by cpinva on Fri May 15, 2009 at 07:56:39 AM EST
    Why do you assume (none / 0) (#17)
    by Bemused on Fri May 15, 2009 at 11:03:19 AM EST
     his positions result from lack of a  "back bone" and not from his believing what he is doing is the correct thing to do?

      Whatever he does will be opposed by significant numbers of people. Why is it weakness when he does something with which you disagree and draws your ire? Why would it be a show of strength to do what you think he should do?


    Because he (none / 0) (#18)
    by eric on Fri May 15, 2009 at 01:41:59 PM EST
    is backing down instead of taking the more difficult path that he himself supposedly once supported.

    This is not just a change in position, it is capitulation.


    Really? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Bemused on Fri May 15, 2009 at 02:02:24 PM EST
     Aren't the announced reforms pretty much the same as the ones he advocated back in 2006? Can you identify any instance when as a candidate or otherwise, Obama said he belived the military commission system must be abolished?

    Well, there's thie (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri May 15, 2009 at 02:08:11 PM EST
    During the presidential campaign, Obama was critical of the commissions. He said, "By any measure our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure," and declared that as president he would "reject the Military Commissions Act."

    but (none / 0) (#21)
    by Bemused on Fri May 15, 2009 at 03:13:34 PM EST
      what he is talking about now sounds very similar if not identical to the amendments he unsuccessfully offered in 2006 when the act was voted on in the Senate.

      Perhaps he is guilty of phrasing things artfully to allow for people to interpret what he says as what they want to hear but I don't think anything he can be said can be construed as a promise to eliminate military commissions period as opposed to changing how they are conducted.