Khalid Sheik Mohammed can be held indefinitely without trial, says Obama administration


Seems like this is a view that many people did not agree with a couple of years ago.

Has anyone changed their minds now?

For example, in a November 2009 thread about Khalid Sheik Mohammed, I asked, “But isn’t this sort of no-matter-what-the-law-says-we’re-holding-you precisely what Bush was called evil for?”

“No,” replied Diogenes, “Bush was called evil for not bringing charges or having trials at all.”

So based on that, is Obama also evil?

Evil or weak, it amounts to the same thing for most purposes. He’s just another rightwinger, just barely better than a Republican.

Yep- in this matter, he’s just as wrong and evil as the Republicans are.

Is that the answer you’re looking for?

Well, no, but it’s a consistent answer.

I was looking for, “It was incorrect to call Bush evil for this reason, just as it’s incorrect to call Obama evil.”

I don’t believe in evil people, just evil actions. This action is evil.

Bush is evil for many reasons, including this one. And stupid, and ignorant, and…you get the point.

I wasn’t aware that we were all required to answer for things Diogenes said - surely you should be asking him?

That said, my view is that detaining someone indefinitely without charge or trial is offense to the principles of freedom and justice that America espouses so loudly. It’s definitely wrong no matter who is doing it. I don’t think it makes Obama intrinsically “evil” any more than I thought it made Bush intrinsically “evil” (or Tony Blair or Gordon Brown); it’s just plain wrong and it makes them wrong for doing it. I am seriously disappointed in Obama for continuing and attempting to justify this shameful practice.

Cheney, OTOH - definitely evil. It’s those eyes…

Perhaps you missed the phrase, “For example.” Diogenes was not the only person on this board criticizing Bush for the proposition that a detainee could be held indefinitely. I offered his words as an example of that thinking.

I have a slightly different take. I think Bush made about as big a mess out of his whole detention/interrogation policy as is possible to make, so much so that he probably screwed any future president from making reasonable new policies about detentions or trials.

I think Bush screwed things up on two counts: one, that harsh interrogation techniques so poisoned the well on the reliability of any evidence gained from the detainees themselves, and two, so hyper-politicized the existence of Guantanamo that Congress will probably never allow it to be closed, for fear that dangerous criminals might actually be kept in Federal prisons within the borders of the United States. How scary is that – criminals in prisons? Clearly we cannot allow it.

And third, he tricked Obama into not knowing that he had done so. Obama was completely unaware of the hyper-politicized existence of Guantanamo, which is why he promised to close it. It was quite a shock for him on January 21st, 2009, when he got to the office and started work.

I’m having trouble giving Obama or the current Congress any kind of pass because Bush may have screwed some things up. Either you believe in a certain type of justice or you wimp out and say things are different this time. The latter is the same logic Bush used, and it doesn’t fly in my book.

Calling something evil clouds the issue and makes it almost impossible to discuss rationally. I thought this was unjust and the wrong policy when Bush was doing it, and I still do. I also think New York legislators screwed up by backing away from the trials, and for that matter, so did Congress when they chickened out on closing the Guantanamo prison.

New York legislators?

Following on this…

The greater degree of moral culpability rests on those opposing the New York trial for political and monetary ends.

Obama’s presidency has been weakened for a variety of reasons. Among them is the Fox party’s media outlets churning up disingenuous hyperbole regarding this issue. There are members of Congress preying on ignorance and fear to use this as an attack on Obama, not for the principles involved, but because any opportunity to wreak havoc and weaken his administration is held as a higher good.

This does not mean that Obama’s failure to act is above reprobation. But political weakness is not evil.

It is, though, possible to argue that he too is sacrificing *habeas * for political gain. Making this an issue and pushing for a New York trial or reopening Guantanamo would increase the likelihood that he would be a one-term president. The ends don’t justify the means, so there is no difference between violating habeas in the first place and maintaining its imprisonment in order to maintain power.

I thought it was wrong when Bush did it and I think it’s wrong when Obama does it. I’ve been deeply disappointed that a Democratic president has not only continued and, actually, expanded, the civil liberties violations of the Bush II administration, but has not prosecuted the officials in that administration for their civil liberties violations and possible misconduct in fomenting war with Iraq.

They kicked up a storm once they realized people were opposed to the trials being held in the city.

Well said. To some extent, I’m more disappointed that Obama would do this, because he used to teach constitutional law. He has to know better. I don’t think Bush ever really grokked the concept.

Are you implying that Obama was being disingenuous when he said he wanted to close Guantanamo during the campaign? If not, why do you think Obama has been unable to fulfill that campaign promise?

ETA: to be clear, I think the major factor in not sending detainees to trial rests more with Bush’s interrogation techniques, not the politics of it. So you aren’t really responding to the primary reason GTMO hasn’t been closed and the real terrorists sent to trial.

You do know that there is jack-all in the Constitution which forbids it? Or even which suggests it’s a bad idea?

I’m not even saying it is a good idea (not hre, not today), but the idea that it is somehow against the Constitution, or any other law, is ridiculous.

No, I think he was being naive. I have little doubt that he said what he said in good faith.

But he was irresponsible to say it, because he didn’t understand the forces in play.

And now that he’s taken a line essentially identical to Bush’s line, it would be nice – although a practical impossibility – for him to say, “I criticized Bush for this during the campaign, but it turns out now I see his point.”

It would be equally nice, and not nearly as impractical, for SDMB participants guilty of the same error to admit it.