Friday, June 26, 2009

Is Obama Backtracking On Indefinite Detention?

The Washington Post is reporting that Obama administration officials may be working on an executive order granting the President the authority to hold terrorism suspects indefinitely. If you think this sounds eerily familiar you are not wrong. This is precisely the tack that President Bush took in dealing with terrorists in U.S. custody. The tack that I speak of is using Executive power to control the confinement of terrorists, essentially bypassing Congress and the courts.

I pray this isn't true, but I fear that it might be. The Obama administration is finding itself in an increasingly more difficult situation because it looks less and less likely that it will be able to successfully dispose of the remaining prisoners at Gitmo by its self-imposed deadline of January 2010. It is getting no cooperation from Congress who refuses to appropriate money to allow the detainees to be brought to the U.S., and it also faces the specter of a major battle in the Supreme Court if Kiyemba moves forward. These pressures may finally be taking their toll on the Obama administration.

One of the very first things Obama did when he took office was take a strong, decisive, and expedited stance towards resolving the Gitmo issue. I've applauded that stance from the beginning; however, it seems that his plans may have been a little too ambitious, and he may have painted himself into a corner with the only route of escape being down the road that Bush travelled.

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