Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Gitmo Thoughts

I am looking forward to the reactions to Obama's speech on closing Guantanamo.

My initial thoughts are:

  1. I still don't understand why Cheney is given any credibility on this or any other issue, given how His Crankiness failed the US over the past eight years.
  2. I think the best part of the speech was that Obama tried to treat everyone as adults, whether that works or not, making clear what he had to do, given the laws passed by the Congress and the decisions made by the courts; what the tradeoffs are likely to be; and the willingness to subject himself to oversight.
  3. I do find it ironic that there is now the Not in My Backyard sentiment, as prisons were seen in the early 90's like Intel factories--a source of jobs and communities fought for them. But then again, the critics of the closure are grasping at straws.
I must admit that my hands on Gitmo are not clean. As I mentioned before, I was part of a process where six Algerian terrorist suspects were taken from Bosnia and sent to Gitmo in January of 2002--the first people picked up from some place other than Afghanistan. Orders had to be given to allow the US commanders in Bosnia to pick the suspects up from the Bosnia government and put them on a plane to Gitmo, and the paperwork went right through my desk. It seemed like a not-so-awful idea at the time, but this is before torture started at Gitmo, I think, and certainly before it was known.

To be clear, handling detainees is a difficult problem in a war with terrorists, as there is no equivalent of VE/VJ day. But I think Obama's speech summarizes the challenges well and how the Bush Administration cut corners and trapped us in a situation that was/is messier than it had to be. And Cheney's hands are all over the mistakes in these processes.


Anonymous said...

Isn't Ramzi Yousef in an American prision? Or does failing to actually topple the twin towers make him less dangerous?

Anonymous said...

Steve, in terms of the dangers of the GWOT, anybody who thought should have gotten worried back when Bush&Cheney were getting and using powers, in a war which Cheney was publicy saying 'would not end in our lifetimes'.

Shades of 'permanent state of emergency'.