Friday, March 13, 2009

Obama Administration And Straw Men

The Obama administration's lawyers in the Department of Justice have made a silly argument and have argued that prisoners should be denied the justice of due process of law by the courts:
The Obama Administration, taking its first position in a federal court on claims of torture of Guantanamo Bay detainees, urged the D.C. Circuit Court on Thursday to reject a lawsuit by four Britons formerly held there. In addition, the new filing argued that a recent appeals court ruling makes clear that “aliens held at Guantanamo do not have due process rights.”

Moreover, the document called for a sweeping ban on lawsuits against U.S. military officials, claiming constitutional violations by such officials. Allowing such lawsuits “for actions taken with respect to aliens during wartime,” it said, “would enmesh the courts in military, national security, and foreign affairs matters that are the exclusive province of the political branches.”

The brief was another indication that, at least so far, the new Administration is not moving to make a wide-ranging break with detention policies of the former Bush Administration. While President Obama has ordered the closing of Guantanamo by next January, lawyers for the government have taken positions in a variety of detainee court cases that do not propose fundamental change.
(SCOTUS blog). So their position is "We don't torture, but if we do too bad"? Get used to it?

They are siding with those who say "I was following orders", which is the Nuremberg defence.

That is patently bogus and hypocritical. It does not meet the standards we have agreed to and stood for all these decades and centuries.

This chump change does not bode well for the future either, at a time when the reputation of the United States needs to be improved to say the least.

It is egregious when it comes soon after another flip flop on presidential signing statements which Obama raged against in the past.

It is all the more egregious when he wants to send more troops to Afghanistan where the Supreme Court there has upheld:
Afghan courts have produced yet another example of its de-evolution into a medieval Sharia system. The country’s Supreme Court has upheld the 20-year-sentence of Parwez Kambakhsh for blasphemy. He was convicted of asking questions in a university class about women’s rights under Islam and downloading an article on equal rights for woman. We are about to send thousands of more troops into the country to preserve it from . . . radical Islamic influences.
(Professor Turley). Obama what the hell has gotten into you? Is Michele with you on this one?

In another case today before Judge Bates in the DC federal court the administration departed from the Bush II regime:
The Obama Administration disclosed on Friday that it will no longer claim the power to detain terrorism suspects under the label “enemy combatant,” even while claiming broad authority to detain those who are a part of terrorist networks or who supplied “substantial support” to such forces.
(SCOTUS blog). It is difficult to tell whether these variations are positions of individual US Attorneys of the Bush II era who are refusing to leave, or whether it is muddled policies that are causing these seemingly inconsistent positions.

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