Posted by JM Ashby
President Obama recently drew the ire of critics when he ordered the continuation of military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, and what critics fail to acknowledge or recognize is that the president has been left with very little choice.
President Obama signed an order to close Guantanamo the day he took office, but congress has repeatedly, and unanimously, voted against closing Guantanamo, moving the detainees to secure locations inside the United States, or even carrying out civilian trials. This leaves the president with no choice other than to proceed with trials in the only way that they can, which is by continuing the process in a military court located at Guantanamo. The only other option is indefinite detention without trial, which no one wants.
Republicans in congress actually want to take things a step further now. They want to completely cut the Department of Justice out of the loop, and place the interrogation and detention of prisoners entirely in the hands of the Department of Defense. They want the processing of military prisoners to occur completely outside of civilian law without any oversight by the nations chief law enforcement official.
This would place the military's handling of detainees above the law and above oversight in the name of "national security."
Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are teaming up with Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee to write legislation that would take decisions about trying detainees out of the attorney general's hands and hand that power to the secretary of defense.
In the wake of the White House's new executive order allowing Guantanamo detainees to be held indefinitely, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) unveiled legislation that would, among other things, affirm the military's right to detain, hold and interrogate detainees at its discretion without Department of Justice or Attorney General Eric Holder involvement.
"affirm the military's right to detain, hold and interrogate detainees at its discretion without Department of Justice or Attorney General Eric Holder involvement"
What could possibly go wrong?