Obama {hearts} indefinite detention


I’m serious:

Obama broke the detainees into five categories. … With one category, he isolated to “detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted, yet who pose a clear danger to the American people.” He promised “[w]e are not going to release anyone if it would endanger our national security, nor will we release detainees within the United States who endanger the American people.” Of course, this would mean holding people in violation of domestic and international law — precisely what George Bush did. It is part of the Administration’s effort to appear principled by doing an unprincipled thing. The reason that we cannot try these individuals is because they would win. The solution, according to both Bush and Obama, is not to give them a trial.

So, the suspected terrorists we can’t even convict in kangaroo courts of Obama’s own design, will just get caged up forever without a trial. This is despite the fact we have no evidence against many of them.

That’s not justice, that’s changing the rules of the game so the government always wins. It’s certainly not how you uphold American values as Obama claims to be doing:

But I believe with every fiber of my being that in the long run we also cannot keep this country safe unless we enlist the power of our most fundamental values. The documents that we hold in this very hall — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights — these are not simply words written into aging parchment. They are the foundation of liberty and justice in this country, and a light that shines for all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world.


Obama is quickly turning himself into Bush 2.0 or Bush-lite on matters of foreign policy and civil liberties. He still has the chance to counterbalance his atrocious foreign policy record through domestic reform, but that’s going to be an uphill battle after the giveaways to the banking industry.

To be successful, Obama will need to usher in true health care reform with a public option. That, along with a new effective energy policy would make him a net success in my opinion. But if Republicans and corporate interests succeed in watering his proposals down to irrelevancy, we’ll have to look to future Presidents for real change.

Meanwhile, we can’t just write off Obama on foreign policy. We need to let him know he’s making the wrong decisions.

Flickr via by Matt Wright


  1. Ted

    what do you think Obama’s reasoning is?

    I mean, I trust he’s doing the right thing.

    he’s smarter than us, and more informed than us… I can’t think of anyone better to make decisions for this country. which is why I voted for him.

  2. Jordan M

    I think the left’s vaunted trust in Obama doing ‘the right thing’ is about the same as the right’s trust that Bush was doing ‘the right thing’.

    Also, I nominate Chris for detention for using heart as a verb. I Heart Huckabees was a terrible film and spawned this terrible cultural leftover.

  3. Chris

    I think Obama is likely giving in to rightwing critics or military/intelligence officials who say that letting these people go is dangerous. Other than civil libertarians, there isn’t a large group of people willing to fight for the rights of suspected terrorists, so Obama’s likely figured the political fallout for continuing Bush’s policies would be low.

    I’m sure he thinks he’s doing the right thing to keep the country safe, but he’s doing so at the cost of a basic human right to be able to challenge your detention. Without that right, the government can simply assert any of us are terrorists and hold us forever in prison. No evidence required. Our country was founded in direct opposition to those authoritarian powers. Elections, legislatures, courts and the free press were designed to provide a counterweight to excessive secrecy and executive power.

    And Jordan is right, we shouldn’t trust that Obama is smarter or more informed than us. By admitting he couldn’t try these people even in his military commissions, Obama is saying he doesn’t have the evidence or more simply doesn’t know that these people are dangerous or have committed any sort of crime at all. So by what right can we hold them?

    Sorry about the rambling response…

  4. Ian

    Well I would trust he is more informed than us, because its a little foolish to think you are more informed than the President on such an issue, or even equally informed. I don’t know if I trust he is doing the right thing, because that is certainly a subjective view point. I don’t think it is the right thing to keep these people detained without trial and Guantanomo needs to be closed. I don’t care what Obama knows, that is my subjective truth.

    Also I am certain that “<3” has been around much much longer than I Heart Huckabees. (I Heart NY is an obvious example, but I doubt that was the first). I think the internet has made it more prevalent since its a cutesy short hand for the word love. Kind of like you can hear people actually say “LOL”.

  5. Andrew

    “I mean, I trust he’s doing the right thing.

    he’s smarter than us, and more informed than us… I can’t think of anyone better to make decisions for this country. which is why I voted for him.”

    Dude, it’s our job to criticize everything these people do. I mean, anyone who thinks he’s capable of running the United States Government clearly hasn’t made a habit out of criticizing himself.

  6. Jordan M

    People using it in sentences as ‘heart’ instead of saying ‘love’ started with I <3 Huckabees. Notice the difference between Chris using a <3 and {heart}.

  7. Biff

    I personally am willing trade a few civil liberties for 10% discount on my medical co-pay. It’s all subjective and doesn’t really matter anyway. Besides, President Obama is so much more intelligent and informed and smarter than we are and it isn’t realistic to make demands of our leaders. Trust in Obama and Hope for Change!