Getting used to a new Gitmo zip code

(Originally posted on Jurist)

The Obama administration’s announcement that it intends to move “War on Terror” detainees not cleared for release to the Thomson Correctional Facility changes very little beyond enabling President Obama to honor the letter, if not the spirit, of his pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

What this decision in fact demonstrates is a lasting commitment to two ideas that President Obama rejected as a candidate: Military Commissions and indefinite detention without charge.

Military Commissions amount to little more than a cynical attempt to create a trial format with a sufficiently low burden of proof that it will admit evidence that could not be used in a real court. The concept of indefinite detention violates one of the most fundamental tenets of American – and international – justice that every defendant has a right to challenge his accusers in court. Both set disastrous precedents.

The decision to move the detainees will also have little positive impact on the position of the detainees themselves – indeed it will most likely further retard cases already unconscionably delayed. Nor will their day-to-day lives be improved, it is likely to be quite a while before the recreational facilities at Thomson match those now on offer at Guantanamo.

The bottom line is that the Obama administration is not fooling anyone either at home or abroad. Changing Guanatanmo’s zip code does not make indefinite detention any less palatable or military commissions any more legitimate.

Sadly, the good citizens of Thomson, Illinois, should get used to the idea that the name of their hometown will soon join Guantanamo and Abu Garaib as a shorthand term for American double standards and that it will likely become as effective a recruitment tool for Al-Qaeda as its predecessors.

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4 thoughts on “Getting used to a new Gitmo zip code

  1. I thought you had the potental and the guts to do the right thing. I'm very sorry your not. I voted for you last time and I will the next time, but now only because I don't want any republican in power.

  2. I thought you had the potental and the guts to do the right thing. I’m very sorry your not. I voted for you last time and I will the next time, but now only because I don’t want any republican in power.

  3. Ohhh boohooo.

    Enemy Combatants will continue to be detained during armed conflict. Just as they always have in the history of the world in any conflict the U.S. has ever been engaged.

    boohooo.

    Obama is actually capable of learning something. Wow.

    As far as Thomson vs. GITMO I actually agree with you 100%. Those poor guys are going to lose some of the recreation facilities (you've come a long way from refering to GITMO as a torture dungeon). And just think about the difference in the weather!! Brrrr… Lot of them are going to turn down outdoor rec time in the winter. I'm soooo sad.

  4. Ohhh boohooo.

    Enemy Combatants will continue to be detained during armed conflict. Just as they always have in the history of the world in any conflict the U.S. has ever been engaged.

    boohooo.

    Obama is actually capable of learning something. Wow.

    As far as Thomson vs. GITMO I actually agree with you 100%. Those poor guys are going to lose some of the recreation facilities (you’ve come a long way from refering to GITMO as a torture dungeon). And just think about the difference in the weather!! Brrrr… Lot of them are going to turn down outdoor rec time in the winter. I’m soooo sad.