May 2, 2009

DARREN HUTCHINSON: Kinder, Gentler Military Tribunals? Change! Plus a useful summary:

Obama has embraced many of the same positions that liberals and Obama himself criticized. For example:

* Obama and members of his administration have embraced the use of rendition. Many of Obama’s most ardent defenders blasted progressives who criticized Obama on rendition as jumping the gun. Today, their arguments look even more problematic than in the past.

* Obama has invoked the maligned “state secrets” defense as a complete bar to lawsuits challenging potential human rights and constitutional law violations.

* Obama has argued that detainees at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan do not qualify for habeas corpus rights, even though many of the detainees at the facility were not captured in the war or in Afghanistan.

* Even though it no longer uses the phrase “enemy combatants,” the Obama administration has taken the position that the government can indefinitely detain individuals, whether or not they engaged in torture and whether or not they fought the United States on the “battlefield.” This logic combined with the denial of habeas to detainees in Afghanistan could make Bagram the functional equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.

If the New York Times article is accurate, then the use of military tribunals issue will join the list of policies that Obama has endorsed, despite the loud liberal criticism that Bush received when he did the same things.

Indeed.

UPDATE: From Jules Crittenden: “What are we on, Day 103? I think that Change shark just officially got jumped.”

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