Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Obama's Failure to Close Guantanamo? It's the Fault of Bush and of the Trap Laid by His Evil Henchmen

It's all Bush's fault! (Bounced.) Indeed, it isn't just his fault, it was an evil trap deliberately left there by Dubya and his henchmen!

Bush Derangement Syndrome is back in force in France (but did it ever leave Europe's shores?), as Le Monde — which obviously has no idea of the contents of the Geneva Convention — describes the Guantánamo situation as a "judicial trap" (and "a pure illegality" concerning "that place of shame" where "torture" was "practiced" on "so-called terrorists") laid by lying, conniving, treacherous officials of the Bush administration. With most Le Monde readers adding their habitual hooey, this of course means in turn that Barack Obama is but a poor defenseless victim of the evil Bush — as you can see in the piece's title (Barack Obama Caught in the Guantanamo Trap) and in very first sentence (read in the original French).
The legal trap set by the Bush administration, rooted in the ideology of the "war on terror", closes in on the Obama Administration. … the U.S. president [signed] a presidential order authorizing the internment without trial and for an unlimited period of some detainees at the military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

... That trap, set up after al Qaeda's attacks on September 11, 2001, initially consisted in the invention of a legal category, called "unlawful enemy combatant", for the sole purpose of derogating from American and international law, especially the law of war as codified in the Geneva Conventions.

Insomuch as the so-called terrorists did not fit into the usual categories of the law, it was as simple to create the Guantanamo prison as it was to practice torture on them, as long as "legal guidelines" decreed them to be in accordance with the law.

... According to the principle of self-fulfilling prophecy, by legalizing de facto a legal "black hole", the Bush administration created prisoners untouchable by the courts.…

On May 21, 2009, Mr Obama acknowledged that the latter constitute "the most difficult specific issue facing" his administration. Today, by decree, he finds himself entangled in this outrageous situation and [having had], in turn, to confirm a pure illegality: the endless deprivation of liberty imposed on human beings without trial.

"You broke it, you fix it", goes an American saying … Washington, under George Bush, "broke" the respect that his administration owed to international law. Barack Obama intended to fix it. Faced with a Congress where Republicans (massively) and Democrats (mostly) choose security imperatives over any other concern, he vows he still wants to fulfill that promise. And, ultimately, to close that place of shame.

But meanwhile, he too has come to derogate from international law. The easy solution would be to follow the view of a certain Jack Goldsmith, former writer of George Bush's "legal guidelines"; he recently advised Obama to stick to a simple standard: "Do not put the terrorists on trial, lock them up." Realism consists in remembering that the renouncement of law always ends up turning against he who allows himself down that path, even if he believes what he is doing is only temporary

related: What should enrage every decent citizen is that the real torturers — from Zimbabwe to China, from Syria to North Korea — get a pass from the political left ("The demands to shut down our Guantanamo lock-up for terrorists have nothing to do with human rights. They're about punishing America for our power and success.")