Meet Lindsay Graham, Our New Attorney General

Who put Linsday Graham in charge of the Justice Department? Now Graham's insisting on a law authorizing indefinite military detention as a pre-requisite to closing Guantanamo.

While Graham has long favored closing Guantanamo, he said Monday that his support for doing so is contingent on a new law to govern the detention of those the government wants to keep in custody outside the criminal justice system. He also said that, with such a statute in place, he could support Obama’s plan to convert a state prison in Illinois to a federal facility for former Guantanamo inmates.

“I think Thomson, Ill., in the hands of the military, could become a secure location,” he said. “My view is we can start to close Guantanamo only after we reform our laws.”

Marcy says Rahm Emanuel put him in charge.

Back in 2003, Lindsay Graham joined John McCain in asking then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to either try or free the detainees at Guantanamo. Per the New York Times back then: [More...]

After visiting the military's detention center for some 660 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, three senators, including the onetime prisoner of war John McCain, sent a pointed letter on Friday telling Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that it was time to release the detainees or bring them to trial.

[McCain] said in an interview that he believed the continued detention of the prisoners violated basic human rights precepts. "They may not have any rights under the Geneva Conventions as far as I'm concerned," said the senator, an Arizona Republican, "but they have rights under various human rights declarations. And one of them is the right not to be detained indefinitely."

Lindsay Graham and Maria Cantwell also signed that letter.

So what's got Graham so besides himself now and Obama and Emanuel running for cover? The ghost of Private Underpants.

Graham's bill to end funding for federal trials of detainees failed a few months ago. The only thing that's changed is Private Underpants, and the opportunity for Lindsay Graham and other Republicans to use him as a poster boy.

Graham is a phony. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was one kid, following his pied piper, who failed to blow up a plane. We're already spending millions in airline security to prevent it from getting that far again. That's enough.

But Graham is using him as a call to replace Obama's top counterterrorism adviser,, control the 9/11 prosecutions, force military tribunal trials and mandate indefinite detention.

This isn't about real terror threats. This is only about yet another Republican power grab. Too bad it looks like President Obama may fall for it.

Obama's bi-partisanship has won him no converts among Republicans. Not on health care, not on the econonmy, not on 9/11 trials. If he capitulates to the likes of Lindsay Graham, he'll also lose the left. Sounds like a fast-track to a one-term presidency.

Obama should insist on having the trials in federal court and veto any legislation banning funding for the trials(should it pass.) The 9/11 defendants will have been tried, convicted and sentenced by 2012. He can point out how right he was to insist on a federal criminal trial and preserve our constitution.

With the 9/11 defendants locked away for life or on death row, it won't be a campaign issue. If he capitulates, the Republicans will never let go of it as a campaign issue against him: "This is the President that was willing to sacrifice the well being of New Yorkers, and our nation's security by trying terror defendants in the U.S. But for Republicans forcing his hand and preventing it, we'd all be dead."

I doubt many progressives will to come to Obama's defense in 2012 if he capitulates. Who will be left to support Obama?

Sometimes, we expect our leaders to fight for what is right and what they told us they believe. When they don't, they don't deserve a second chance.

Lindsay Graham is a transparent blowhard, milking Private Underpants for more than he's worth so that he can help his party regain power. Obama can nip him and his hollow threat to ban funding in the bud, but only if he swiftly and forcefully announces his decision to try the 9/11 defendants in federal court as he planned. If he doesn't, it's clear who's running our Government, and it's not the Democrats.

< Digby's 'Is that All There Is?' | Spain to Take Another Three Guantanamo Detainees, Time to Close Up Shop >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Thanks for explaining it J (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 07:09:16 PM EST
    I read Greenwald about it this morning but didn't quite get the details of  the deals that were being made with Graham.

    I agree with you. There is just no reason not to stick with the federal court. First, it is the right thing to do. Second, they could capitulate to Graham and he would turn around and bite them anyway.

    Obama (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Zorba on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 07:11:27 PM EST
    will "also lose the left"?  Jeralyn, sweetie, he's already lost the "left," at least the left that Rahm Emanuel has labeled "the left of the left."  Which includes me (but then, I'm an old hippie-lefty).  It seems that "Post-Partisan" Obama doesn't want to stand up for what I (and many "old liberals") think is right.  He's a neo-liberal, and that's not where I'm at.  

    It would be interesting to count though (none / 0) (#3)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 07:32:46 PM EST
    how many Democrats, even so-called liberals, agree with Graham on this. I hear supposed liberals call in and oppose the federal trials and Illinois prison on some of the liberal podcasts.

    What, they've never (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Zorba on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 07:43:15 PM EST
    heard of the Constitution?  They don't believe in basic human rights?  Sigh.  I guess I'm just too old and too lefty to even comprehend this. If so-called "liberals" agree with Graham, then "liberal" doesn't mean what it used to mean, and I absolutely renounce them.

    I'm with you (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 07:51:00 PM EST
    Fear is all it is.

    Help me out here . . . (none / 0) (#6)
    by nycstray on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 08:01:00 PM EST
    I thought Obama was okay with indefinite detention?

    Didn't rule it out last May or June (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:32:52 PM EST
    But did not seek a law allowing it. Now considering it according to Graham