Like President George W. Bush, President Obama now asserts that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force gives him the right to hold some terrorism suspects indefinitely without trial. At Guantanamo, this is expected to affect 50 or so prisoners who, the administration has determined, can be tried neither in federal court nor before a military commission but are too dangerous to release.Kudos to the Post's editors for calling them out on this. This goes hand-in-hand with the "what if Bush did it?" complaint. For eight years, every misstep or perceived overreach on the part of the Bush administration was blared to us in BOLD FACE ITALICIZED CAPITAL LETTERS but Obama gets a pass.
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If the administration's abdication is irresponsible, the reaction of the civil liberties community has been breathtakingly hypocritical. The American Civil Liberties Union has consistently opposed any indefinite detention regime and pushed for detainees to be charged in federal or military courts or released. So we wouldn't expect them to join us in criticizing Mr. Obama for failing to seek a new legal regime. But it is odd that the same policy which, when pursued by the Bush administration, constituted "thumbing its nose at the Constitution" and putting a "stain on America's name at home and abroad" now elicits nothing but a few measured tsk-tsks.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
WaPo editors note hypocrisy of the left
A Washington Post editorial today notes what bloggers on the right have grumbled about since Barack Obama took office; that the left's most despised policies under George Bush are suddenly not so bad when continued by Obama.