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Hail to the Jailer-In-Chief

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday November 15, 2008 11:31 AM

Looks like the Hope-'N-Change Team may be turning into the Rope-'N-Chains Team. The New York Times reports:

[A]s Mr. Obama moves closer to assuming responsibility for Guantánamo, his pledge to close the detention center is bringing to the fore thorny questions [including] a matter that people with ties to the Obama transition team say is worrying them most: What if some detainees are acquitted or cannot be prosecuted at all?
Golly, that would be terrible, wouldn't it?
[S]ome liberals are arguing that to deal realistically with terrorism, the new administration should seek Congressional authority for preventive detention of terrorism suspects ... even if they cannot be successfully prosecuted.

“You can’t be a purist and say there’s never any circumstance in which a democratic society can preventively detain someone,” said one civil liberties lawyer... who has been a critic of the Bush administration. ...Whether the Obama administration should push for a preventive detention law has inspired “a very hot and serious debate,” said Ken Gude, a national security scholar at the liberal Center for American Progress, adding, “I’ve had conversations with progressives who think it is a good idea and conservatives who think it’s a terrible idea.” ...[A] move by Mr. Obama to seek explicit authorization for indefinite detention without trial would be seen by some of his supporters as a betrayal.

Not to worry. They'll eat it and like it. It will give them an opportunity to display their crackpot realism, like
Benjamin Wittes, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, [who has] argued... that Americans needed to cross a “psychological Rubicon” and accept the idea that preventive detention was a necessary tool for fighting terrorism.

“I’m afraid of people getting released in the name of human rights and doing terrible things,” Mr. Wittes said in an interview....

In the end, the Obama administration may conclude that it is simply not feasible to seek a new preventive detention measure. Doing so could portray the new administration as following in the footsteps of President Bush....

Meaning, I suppose, that the Obama administration will simply... maintain the status quo. No further attempt will be made to legitimize indefinite imprisonment without trial; but neither will any attempt be made to end it.

The change we can believe in, as expected, is merely a change of face, as an Obamaphile friend said with such enthusiasm on Election Day.

Comments (2)

Some people can never be let go. So Serious, Reasonable People suggest we let go of Old Ideas. Like Justice.

It's so true, this problem with purism. Holding onto human rights at this point would be as dumb as insisting that the way you end a Depression is to give more money to capitalists, especially ones who've promulgated and looted for decades from two of the most sociopathic industries.

Luckily, nobody's THAT pure...

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