So it’s the day after President Obama’s inauguration. How’s everyone feeling? I’m still pretty damn excited, though it doesn’t quite feel real yet… I came to political awareness under Bush’s reign; I’m more than eager to see how such awareness might evolve alongside this administrative change.
On this day after, I second Jay Smooth in “Why I’m Happy, Why I’m Not Satisfied”:
Time to get to work! (Or, rather, to continue working, with enthusiasm!).
Refreshingly, it seems the Obama administration agrees. Already, Team Obama has ordered a 120 day halt on the prosecutions of detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
Such a request may not be automatically granted by military judges, and not all defense attorneys agree to such a suspension. But the move is a first step toward closing a detention facility and system of military trials that became a worldwide symbol of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism and its unyielding attitude toward foreign and domestic critics.
The legal maneuver appears designed to provide the Obama administration time to refashion the prosecution system and potentially treat detainees as criminal defendants in federal court or have them face war-crimes charges in military courts-martial. It is also possible that the administration could re-form and relocate the military commissions before resuming trials.
So it might be difficult to foretell direct results, to say the least.
“This is a good step in the right direction, although we still think that the unconditional withdrawal of all charges and shutting down this tainted system is warranted,” said Jamil Dakwar, director of the human rights program at the American Civil Liberties Union. “The president’s order leaves open the option of this discredited system remaining in existence.”
Jamil Dakwar is right, of course. This action is not nearly enough. However, I don’t believe that the urgency and necessity of successive steps distracts from the urgency and necessity of this first one. I commend it!
President Obama has acknowledged in recent interviews that shutting the facility is likely to be prolonged an complex. And the administration now faces a number of potentially daunting challenges to following through on the president’s campaign promise. Obama is expected to sign an executive order soon that will lay out in detail his plan to empty the facility.
I look forward to learning all about it.
Posted under Politics
This post was written by Emily on January 21, 2009