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View Diary: Obama to issue signing statement on Guantanamo restrictions (219 comments)

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  •  Remember what the diary quotation said. (0+ / 0-)

    The Guantanamo provisions, which include limits on where and how prisoners can be tried, were attached to a spending bill for military pay and benefits approved by Congress late last year. Some Administration officials are recommending that President Obama sign the spending bill and then issue a "signing statement" challenging at least some of the Guantanamo provisions as intrusions on his constitutional authority. Others have recommended that he express opposition to the Guantanamo sections without addressing their constitutionality

    The problem being addressed by the signing statement is rather specific. It seems, subject to more detail being provided by someone with access to the text of the provisions in question, which is not me, that what Congress has done is by statute removed from the detainees all sorts of rights which we know Obama was prepared to recognize because of some of the terror trials which have occurred successfully (setting aside the R objection that they were not convicted of enough crimes - a problem to address to the jury and not DOJ or POTUS) and others which were proposed and objected to by Peter King and his ilk. Two methods are both used, legislative provision and defunding, since all executive acts have to be paid for and the paying has been forbidden as well as the acting.

    The legislation poses both constitutional objections, can Congress by statute limit the rights of detainees to due process of the law, and require the POTUS to honor those restrictions, and more generally can Congress micromanage trials and the like for specific persons, an executive function and as here done probably a violation of the ex post facto or bill of attainder provisions of the Constitution as well. And can it require violation of Constitutional rights of specific persons for acts committed before the Congress acted,  by limiting or defunding executive recognition of those rights. Two  or three separate questions.

    The commentary here assumes that a POTUS can be Alexander cutting thruogh the Gordian knot with a sword, an option not necessarily available to a POTUS, because there is still no money available to allow the POTUS to take the steps to recognize and honor the constitutional rights of detainees as well as a supposed legislative bar to doing so.

    Sniping at POTUS personally does not alter these problems, but not thinking through the problems as they actually present themselves only makes some here angry, or allows them to feel justified in anger that POTUS is not exercising some right the commenter thinks he has in this situation which he may not or does not in fact have.

    And I also note that nobody here thusfar has suggested finding out which idiots in Congress put these provisions in, and which idiots voted them in and suggested writing to and calling such idiots rather than just doing some more Obama bashing. Being our usual unhelpful selves.

    Obama bashing will not get due process for detainees, fellas.

    •  No (0+ / 0-)

      The commentary here does not assume that Obama is a magician a la Alexander the Great slicing the Gordian knot.  It spells out in a very specific manner how Obama has undermined reform and betrayed the prisoners at Guantanamo, condemning many innocent persons to the hell of indefinite detention without trial.  Obama has proactively  taken steps that have directly  harmed GTMO prisoners, formally endorsing indefinite detention, fighting habeas requests, imposing a blanket deportation ban on Yemeni prisoners, and personally blocking the transfer of Uighurs to northern Virginia.

      •  Theory is wonderful but not helpful' (0+ / 0-)

        HOW do you propose him to close GITMO when faced with a Congressional bar on doing so and no money to do it, no funds for trials, no funds for conventional jurisdiction prisons? Do remember that Shrub had his EXOs to back him up and an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel. all of which he rescinded five days before leaving office so that Obama would not have the same tools he had taken for himself and got backed up by one of his authoritative because of position jerk opinion writers. Please address the 'how' question under the circumstances prevailing now, not just how much you, or I, dislike the current options.  

        •  The recent legislation (0+ / 0-)

          makes things much harder, but the tragedy is that if Obama had acted differently a lot of prisoners who now are trapped in GTMO would have been free.  Prior to this legislation, Obama did not have to impose the transfer ban on Yemen, and he did not have to resist the meritorious habeas cases.  Before earlier legislation passed by Congress prohibiting release of inmates in the US he did not have to personally block the release of Uighurs in northern Virginia.  I am heartbroken because, due to Obama's dithering, cowardice, and lack of leadership, individuals who would otherwise have been free will now have a very difficult time getting out of GTMO.  Let me repeat till I'm blue in the face: There are many innocent people in GTMO who now could be free if Obama had done the decent thing and let them return to their home countries or move to countries willing to accept them or (in the case of the Uighurs) let them come to the United States.  Obama could have done these things.  Congress wasn't stopping him.  He chose not to, and now innocent people are left with the prospect of indefinite detention possibly until the end of their lives.  It is unforgivable.

          •  You may be mad at Obama, but what I do not see in (0+ / 0-)

            your response is any answer to the practical question of HOW to close GITMO under the present prevailing circumstances. Anger generalized is not a substitute for a workable plan.

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