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Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's Old Is New In Military Commissions

Professor Darren Hutchinson examines the military commissions Obama is establishing to try detainees, and finds that while there are some differences from the Bush tribunals, it is hard to conform Obama's campaign promises with the current proposal:

As a Senator, Obama voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and he successfully campaigned on the promise that he would would restore the image of the United States in the international community. Many liberals view the Bush administration's denial of basic civil rights as one of the greatest blemishes on the image of the United States.

During his campaign, President Obama criticized the use of military commissions, rather than federal courts, to prosecute terrorism suspects. When he first took office, President Obama issued a series of executive orders, including one that imposed a 120-day stay on all proceedings in military tribunals while a task force studied and developed alternatives to the existing process.

Today, additional news sources confirm that the Obama administration will "stay the course" and utilize military tribunals, rather than federal courts, to prosecute accused terrorists.

Read the whole post.

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  1. Obama previously initiated a 120 stay to review the current processes but some people interpreted that action as a death knell for military tribunals.

    However, Obama now realizes that the situation is much more complicated. Many of the current cases just wouldn't stick in Federal courts.

    In allowing tribunals to move forward, Obama has concurrently enacted some additional restrictions that supposedly increases legal protections for terrorism suspects. Additional rules will block the admissibility of evidence obtained through coercive interrogations. Detainees will also have more options when selecting counsel to represent them.

    Do you think this is a good thing? I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to your continuing analysis of the Obama administration.

    PS: I've been to Ithaca a couple of times -- it is a great college town. Is the Moosewood restaurant still in business?

    Jason Baumgartner
    Colorado Springs, CO

  2. This is a good announcement, but it just goes to show, that either his promises were insincere, or he owes Bush an apology. However, I won't hold my breath.

  3. This is a totally different type of commission, because Obama has good intentions. That means he'll ensure there are "appropriate safety measures" in place, unlike Bush's show trials. Merely saying "appropriate safety measures" automatically makes it better, see?

  4. Another Obama decision I can like, even though I don't like that he flopped again.