Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A study in contrasts...Obama does not equal Bush

As I read around the internet, I keep running into people who are saying that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can't be tried as an enemy combatant because he's an American citizen. That isn't the case, as Adam Serwer points out.
The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which Graham vocally supported, defines as eligible for military detention "a person who was a part of or substantially supported Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners." There's no evidence yet that the suspects in the Boston bombing acted with the support of or at the behest of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces. Unless that evidence emerges, it wouldn't be legal to hold Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant, even if he and his brother were motivated by extremist religious beliefs.
The reason this is important to point out is that it demonstrates why its been significant for the Obama administration to refocus George W. Bush's "global war on terror" to a "war on al Qaeda." If that language restricting military detention to "Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces" hadn't been included in the 2012 NDAA, folks like Lindsay Graham might have a legal case to make regardless of citizenship - even though the Obama administration has refused to use that provision when it comes to people with actual ties to al Qaeda.

Being able to label any act of violence as "terror" and then use that designation to replace the rule of law with the rule of war was the very reason the Bush administration declared a global war on terror in the first place. It gave them free reign to do whatever the hell they wanted. When folks like Senator Graham push for any "terrorist" to be tried as an enemy combatant, they are harking back to those days.

One of the things the American public is in the midst of witnessing is the very stark contrast between the Bush and Obama administrations. We've already seen that our law enforcement is up to the task of dealing with the Boston bombing. And now we're in the beginning stages of a very public display of how our courts are up to the task as well.

There's a reason why the neocons are squirming at all this. Here's the Boston Globe editors explaining that:
Some candidates seem to feel that asserting a manly contempt for defendants’ rights is a winning political stance. But it’s also hard to avoid the impression that McCain, Graham, and some other hawks are rehashing the battles of the Bush era, in search of vindication.
The Obama administration is in the midst of undoing the damage of declaring a global war on terror. These guys know that - and they don't like it one little bit.

Its true that some of our emo friends have been so tied up in their own biases that the contrast they're seeing now caught them off guard and forced retractions of their "hair-on fire" within days. But I suppose that expecting them to learn from their mistakes going forward is perhaps too much to ask. No big deal though. Maybe they actually enjoy being wrong ;-)


  1. Hi SP
    I wonder if you didnt miss your calling as a poet. Your analysis and commentary is lyrical in tone and could easily become prose.

    I visit you each and every day. You always just make me feel better so thanks for that especially.

  2. They definitely seem to enjoy being wrong, since they do it so often. The radicals on the Right and the Left seem to agree on one thing, it's that Obama is "doing it wrong." No matter what "it" is.

    Instead of the hysterical demands (or fears), Tsarnaev was questioned legitimately to find out if there were any more devices, and then they brought the court to the hospital, where a judge read him his rights, and the charges against him, and he had lawyers representing him. Very much "by the book," and very much in accordance with our Constitution. It must be a grave disappointment to the hair on fire brigade.

    1. Very much "by the book," and very much in accordance with our Constitution. It must be a grave disappointment to the hair on fire brigade.

      Norbrook - if they weren't losing the lunch over something, the Emo-Progressives would have to make stuff up.

      Case in point, Glenn Greenwald couldn't resist sniping at the administration because he follow the rule of law. Huh? What, come again? You get mad about due process over Bradley Manning but then get bitch about due process being actually followed? GG and Amy Goodman couldn't even give credit to Obama without throwing shading on Democracy Now!

      Also, he claims that police doing a desperate manhunt for two or possibly more bombers in neighborhood is a suspension of due process. I guess every neighborhood watch violates the 4th amendment as well?

  3. Another reason the chickenhawks are screaming so loudly may be last week's release of a bipartisan report on torture. You can read it at detaineetaskforce org. None of them have gone on trial for war crimes. Yet.