Andrew McCarthy has an excellent article today entitled “While You Weren’t Looking, Obama Kills Military Commissions” which details how, once again, Obama is bypassing laws and doing things his way:
In the blink of an eye, the second Obama term has turned the clock back to the pre-9/11 days, when al-Qaeda was a law-enforcement problem, not a national-security challenge.
… the administration has never forfeited its goal of returning to the Clinton-era counterterrorism, when all terrorists were deemed defendants presumed innocent, not enemies to be quelled. Now, with the help of President Obama’s Islamist confidant, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Obama has found a way around Congress’s ban.
Turkey and Jordan was able to hand over al-Qaeda leader Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, to Obama and pals and what did they do? They wisked him off to New York where now instead of being interrogated for intelligence as he would of been at Gitmo he is enjoying his own defense lawyer and all the perks the Bill of Rights gives him.
…The Obama administration’s intention is to try the same case against Abu Ghayth that it planned to present against KSM. This is a bold presidential decision to undermine military commissions and to proclaim that the civilian courts are the government’s venue of choice for all terrorism cases — even those against wartime enemy combatants.
Moreover, as Attorney General Holder must know, by proceeding with this civilian prosecution in New York at the very moment when KSM and the other 9/11 defendants are facing a military commission at Gitmo, he has given KSM & Co. an exquisite legal argument that proceeding with their military commission would be arbitrary and unjust in light of the grade-A due process Abu Ghayth is getting. That is, the government is virtually inviting the federal courts to invalidate military commissions — which was a top goal of many Obama administration lawyers back when they were in private practice, volunteering their services to terrorist detainees.
How long until KSM is handed over for a US trial? A trial in which the standard of evidence collection is much much different than in a military commission. Do they believe that collecting evidence in a war zone will be sufficient?
While in Iraq, I (among other tasks) assisted in investigations of al-Qaeda detainees, helped gather and evaluate evidence for targeting decisions, and cooperated with Iraqi-government prosecutions of local insurgents. Yet all our procedures and standards made allowances for the reality of war. In a war zone, every mission was a combat mission, and running around “chasing down leads” would be nothing short of idiotic. Our best evidence was gathered through means and methods dangerous to describe and stupid to disclose.
The laws of war, of course, anticipate these difficulties and allow for the military commissions we’ve created. That’s why we should use them.
So while Obama still sends drones into hostile territory to kill terrorist leaders, because we are war, he is signalling that we are in fact NOT at war by bringing this enemy combatant suspect to our shores.
The Obama Doctrine — kill American terrorists overseas, try foreign terrorists in New York City
How does this make any sense? How is this consistent with any principled approach to fighting our War on Terror?
Senators Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte – and a number of other lawmakers – have rightly raised serious objections to Ghaith’s civilian detention and civilian trial.
Enemy combatants should be interrogated relentlessly, not given Miranda warnings.
…Our enemies, working with their allies on the international left, want America’s hands to be tied, for us to use police methods and – more importantly – police weapons and tactics even while they arm themselves to the teeth and work tirelessly to kill as many Americans as they can.
In addition, the Obama administration is demonstrating that it exists as an “imperial presidency.” One that is more arbitrary than the Bush administration it so self-righteously criticized. Under this Obama doctrine, the ultimate questions of war and peace, life and death, appear to follow no principle or pattern beyond the administration’s own whims.
This administration has failed to articulate a coherent approach to fighting deadly enemies. It brags about its “kill list” during a presidential campaign, yet after the campaign it doesn’t seem to mind when Egypt denies us access to the Benghazi suspects (by the way – where is the retaliation for that dreadful attack?).
Simply put, Bin Laden family members should not get their day in court in Manhattan.
The only coherent, common thread amongst this confusion is the apparent absolute power of a president of the United States – relying on Congress’s bipartisan declaration of war when he wants to and ignoring it when he doesn’t want to.
Even more ironic is the fact that this enemy combatant suspect’s father-in-law was rightly assassinated by our military, ordered by Obama, because he was the leader of the group we are at war with.
But not anymore it seems.
Let the show trial begin.