Sunday, May 24, 2009
While I agree with TigerHawk's post below that the Gitmo debate is a healthy one, I wonder if, after all of the sturm und drang, the actual substantive differences between President Obama's detainee practices and those of his predecessor might be summarized by this TV ad that ran about a year ago:
Under President Bush, only the Big Three had been subject to waterboarding, and I believe that no waterboarding had taken place during his second term. President Bush verbalized his desire to eventually shut Gitmo, without providing a time certain. President Bush also recognized that there would be what I have termed a "Group Five" problem (the fifth of five types of detainees that President Obama discussed in his speech) -- that is, detainees who would have to be held even if they could not be formally prosecuted, either through U.S. criminal courts or military commissions.
President Obama's rhetorical flourishes make for a good speech, and his tweaks to the Group Five problem may help some in the political center feel better (although it does not convince the left), but isn't he basically chopping the air vertically with his hand, just like the executive in the FedEx ad?
"...but isn't he basically chopping the air vertically with his hand, just like the executive in the FedEx ad?"
Yes, he is. The main difference in the reaction is that many members of the left hate President Bush.
My impression is that GWBush felt prevented from shutting down Gitmo because he cared about US national security. Obama only feels prevented from shutting down Gitmo because he only worries about his own personal political career & being reelected.
The more time passes, the more the moderates discover that the BDSers and the hopey-changey circus didn't know jack.
As Obama and the Worshippers of the Zero try to impose their agenda of Better, Smarter, Different they run right smack into the reality that Bush and his team kind'a knew what they were doing by setting up Gitmo, military commissions, etc.