In a stark reversal, President Obama on Monday ended a two-year freeze on military trials for terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and established a system for holding dangerous detainees there indefinitely, without charges. Administration officials say the president remains committed to closing the military prison, but critics say he's just perpetuating the policies of his predecessor. Is Obama essentially conceding that George W. Bush was right? (Watch an AP report about the reversal)
Yes, Obama's hypocrisy is shocking: "This isn't a flip flop; it's a lie," says Rick Moran at American Thinker. The administration insists Obama has changed Bush's policy, but he's basically restarting the same military tribunals he vilified Bush for during the 2008 campaign. Smell that? It's the "nauseating stench of hypocrisy."
"Obama takes steps to promote terrorism and ruin America's image, while stoking a climate of fear and creating more terrorists"
Obama has not changed his mind: This is "embarrassing" for Obama, says Frank James at NPR, but it probably "won't hurt him politically." He remains committed to closing Guantanamo, but Congress is blocking him. In the meantime, at least he's adding procedures "to bring the detentions closer to the norms of U.S. constitutional values and the Geneva Conventions."
"Obama Gitmo reversal: Maybe embarrassing but unlikely to hurt politically"
Whatever the reason, this makes a mockery of justice: Obama is trying to soothe his disappointed supporters, says Amy Davidson at The New Yorker, by setting up some "court-like trappings" for prisoners held "indefinitely without charges." But he's still sidestepping "the rule of law." Maybe he's doing it less brazenly than Bush — but that doesn't exactly "count as a moral stand."
"More time at Gitmo?"
Obama is finally accepting reality: The 172 detainees at Guantanamo aren't pickpockets — they're "accused war criminals," says the New York Daily News. It would be "costly, dangerous and politically untenable" to insist on trying people like the confessed "9/11 mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian courts. Obama is now giving them access to a "fair and constitutional justice system." This just proves "it is never too late to do the right thing."
"Obama turnaround on military tribunals at Gitmo gives terrorists their day in right court of justice"