Oath Redos and Gitmo, “Torture” Re-don’ts

President Barack Obama … (God, I will I ever get over typing that? President Barack Obama. President! “He’s the president in resident and he’s actually in charge” — to paraphrase the theme song of a short-lived Bush-bashing show. It still hasn’t hit me yet.) … took the Presidential oath again Thursday to thwart whackadoo conspiracy theorists with nothing better to do. It doesn’t matter that the Constitution is pretty cut and dry about how you become president. (First, get elected. Second, who ever won gets to be president as of Jan. 20 at noon. The oath is a tradition rich, but largely a formality.) But, a whackadoo will do what a whackadoo will do. And we all know a whackadoo loves to do. Sue! Sue! Sue!

WASHINGTON — In his first full day in the White House, Barack Obama pushed his top military advisers for a plan to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, and in an extraordinary exercise took the oath of office a second time over concern about a miscue during his swearing-in.

Obama retook the oath before a handful of aides in the White House Map Room—31 hours after he spoke the words before more than a million people arrayed on the Mall. In the first go-around, Chief Justice John Roberts botched the wording, deviating from the language in the Constitution. Following along, Obama repeated the mistake.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” White House Counsel Greg Craig said in a statement, Obama decided to retake the oath Wednesday. Roberts again presided. (Source: Chicago Tribune)

And PRESIDENT Barack Obama …

(Still, can’t get used to it! It’s a good “can’t get used to it” though! Like, I’m still a little drunk from all that pageantry on Tuesday and the long, long wait between now and last November. I’m gonna need a minute to get acclimated.)

… Also moved quickly to start the shut down of the detention facility/prison/torture europium at Guantamano Bay, Cuba.

A senior Obama administration official said the president would sign an order to shut the Guantanamo prison within one year, fulfilling his campaign promise to close a facility that critics around the world say violates domestic and international detainee rights.

A draft copy of the order, notes that “in view of significant concerns raised by these detentions, both within the United States and internationally, prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals currently detained at Guantanamo and closure of the facility would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.”

An estimated 245 men are being held at the US naval base in Cuba, most of whom have been detained for years without being charged with a crime. The administration already has received permission to suspend the trials at Guantanamo for 120 days pending a review of the military tribunals. (Source: UK Telegraph)

I don’t think I’ve ever versed my opinion on Gitmo, but I think I can sum it up in a few sentences (or more).

I think the Bush Administration was freaked out in light of the 9/11 attacks and threw common sense out of the window for brash, rash, rushed behavior. Very little was thought out. Very little was planned. Everyone was running on emotion, adrenaline and the fear of more attacks, so no one really thought very deeply like … what if we have the wrong people and we’re just keeping them cooped up without a trial? Do we keep the innocent locked up with the presumed guilty forever? And because we tortured everyone from the guys with the bombs and guns to the taxi drivers, doesn’t that pretty much mean a good portion of the intelligence we gathered was worthless? Wasn’t there … I don’t know … smarter, more measured way to go about this where the bad guys could have been prosecuted and the underlings, know-nothings and nobodies could have been weeded out early? You know? Before they went from being confused and scared, to hate-filled and bitter by their prolonged stay in purgatory?

Not to mention the whole morality/ethical/”You’re trashing the Genova Convention and Habeas Corpus” angle.

The rash actions with no following logic resulted in a whole tainted mess of counter productivity and ass-covering, revealing that it’s best, even when facing a crisis, to still think things through before you act, measuring the ramifications of holding thousands of men without trial for an indefinite amount of time. Then breaking the law in interrogating them.

I’m not surprised President Obama took to dealing with Gitmo from day one. The thing is a legal, logistical and ethical nightmare. The one good thing (and kind of messed up thing) is that with George Bush gone, some home countries are more open to taking back their citizens who have been trapped in Gitmo Limbo. This is only annoying to me because towards the end, when Bush slowly started to realize what a beast this thing was, the military was trying (albeit slowly) to get some countries to take their citizens back, but they were reluctant, prolonging that purgatory.

I mean, I don’t like Bush either, but what did Mahumoud do?

Not that the Bush Administration was helpful in cases where it was obvious they had the wrong guy and the country DID want their citizen back. This was the case with Germany and few other countries who fought with the US regularly over returning their people to face a court date in their homeland if they were, in fact, terrorists.

But that was more than a few words. My old journalism professor and advisor, Mike Montgomery, probably would put it more succinctly by simply saying: Lack of proper planning predicts piss poor performance.

Lord knows, there was a lot of “plans, what plans?” the last eight years.

The detention facility is slated to be closed in a year.

President Obama also signed an executive order ending the ridiculous “what is torture” debate, by declaring that the CIA would have to follow the Army Field Manual on interrogation. It was only a stupid a debate in the sense that torture was defined a long, crusty time ago and everything else is just parsing and, once again, ass-covering. I mean, if you think Jack Bauer is right to gouge people’s eyes out with a ballpoint pen to get to fictitious baddies, just say you’re pro-torture. To me, it’s like being pro-death penalty. It’s simply one way of doing things in a logic versus morals versus expediency versus need debate.

I think it’s a wrong way to do things. Just like I’m against the death penalty. But the real debate was: are we the “real” America that exists on this particular astral plane. Or the America that only exists on “24?” Because on “24,” the baddies are always obvious and the “right” people always get punished. The real world is far more murky and uncertain. You could have the right guy. You could also have a goat herder who knows nothing.

I’m sure the goat hearder won’t hold any grudges. Suuuuuure.

Some are concerned as to where we should house the true baddies in Gitmo. I have a suggestion. SUPERMAX!

The United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) is a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, USA. It is unofficially known as ADX Florence, Florence ADMAX and Supermax. It is operated by the federal government and is part of the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (FCC). ADX houses the prisoners who are deemed the most dangerous and in need of the tightest control. (Wikipedia)

If it’s good enough for domestic terrorists, white supremacists, notorious gang bangers, mobsters, actor Woody Harrelson’s daddy and the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing, I think it could handle some “Death to Smoochie” types pretty well. (For more notable Supermax residents, click here.)

They don’t call it the “Alcatraz of the Rookies” for nothing.

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