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Obama Takes Pause on Gitmo, Interrogation Hearings January 11, 2009

Posted by neoavatara in Politics, World Politics.
Tags: , , , , , ,


In an interview on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Obama clarified some of his stands on Gitmo and Interrogations.

On Gitmo, Obama had planned to close the facility within 100 days of taking office.  That now seems to be up in the air.  And for good reason.  It is easy to talk rhetoric on Gitmo (which I agree needs to be closed); it is a whole different ballgame to figure out what to do with these guys, especially the most violent ones.  Bringing them back to U.S. Courts has a myriad of problems, not the least of which is it is questionable whether there is independent proof to convict these men in the usual court system.

As for interrogation, Obama states that he gets this question all the time, about investigating the Bush administration’s policies on the issue.  Obama seems to be looking for an out:

“We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth,” he said. “And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices, and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law.

“On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering.”

There is a simple, practical matter to all this.  Any large scale investigation of these topics would be all encompassing, and would suck all the oxygen out of Washington.  It would be practically impossible to get anything else done.  Look at the past.  Whether it was Watergate, Iran-Contra, or the Bill Clinton Impeachment, the legislative branch came to a standstill.  Additionally, people don’t understand that it is virtually impossible to show that Pres. Bush did anything wrong.  If he did violate any foreign treaties, even that is a questionable legal boundary, because the executive branch has the power to withdraw from treaties.  So the question is whether he broke any U.S. laws, and many of those are so vague that convicting him or any high official would be virtually impossible, even assuming they did commit crimes.  So ultimately, you would be going after low level military and C.I.A. agents…which accomplishes almost nothing other than demoralizing those institutions.

Obama is taking a tactful approach on this.  I think he will close Gitmo in a reasonable amount of time; maybe a year or so, whenever he gets a solution to the problem.  I think he may support some kind of interrogation investigation process, but I get the feeling he would be totally against any trial or impeachment process going after major players in the Bush administration, including G.W. Bush himself, because it would completely derail his policy initiatives.   And frankly, he has enough on his plate right now than to start dealing with this Pandora’s Box.



1. kckaaos - January 11, 2009

Maybe we should get them all in a big circle, hold hands and sing girlscout songs with them. Or rehabilitate them.

2. kckaaos - January 11, 2009

But during the election, he had all the answers

3. Rob - January 11, 2009

Dear Media: Please play back Obama’s debates with Clinton and McCain and compare what he said to win the nomination and election to what he is saying now and will be saying in the weeks and months ahead. Then, air that every night on TV once Obama is sworn in and slice it and dice it and panel it to death until it lives again in the minds of every swing voter who voted for him in November, since they won the election for him. God knows you had no problem slicing and dicing every utterance Hillary and Bill Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin made during the campaign to aid the election of Obama. Now prove you really are a free press in a democracy and cover the other half of the story your bias prevented everyone from hearing.

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