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  • "A Failure of Leadership" in Confronting Terrorism

    Brookings Institution senior fellow Benjamin Wittes writes in today’s Washington Post:

    President Obama’s decision not to go to Congress for help in establishing reasonable standards for the continued detention of Guantanamo detainees is a failure of leadership in the project of putting American law on a sound basis for a long-term confrontation with terrorism. It is bad for the country, for national security and for civil liberties. It represents a virtually wholesale adoption of the failed policies of his predecessor — who, with equal obtuseness, refused to root American detention practices in clear law approved by the legislature and similarly failed to learn from repeated Supreme Court rebukes to this unilateral approach. It violates Obama’s much-noted statement this spring that he would “work with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime so that our efforts are consistent with our values and our Constitution.” And it delegates a profound and difficult policymaking exercise to the judiciary and, ultimately, to a single man on the Supreme Court.

    Read Wittes full op-ed here.

    Read Heritage Senior Legal Fellow Cully Stimson case for a durable legal detention framework here.

    Study the Detention of the Enemy During Wartime here.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to "A Failure of Leadership" in Confronting Terrorism

    1. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      Many people are using the Geneva Convention for a guide for the treatment of captured "enemies in battle". In other words, detainees are to be treated humanely under the rules of the Geneva Convention. Fine.

      By adhering to this standard, we are saying the detaineed are "prisoners of war".

      As prisoners of war; and, until the war is over, they can stay locked up as enemy combatants. There is no requirement under the Geneva Convention to release "prisoners" until the war is over.

      Unfortunately for these prisoners, this means life-imprisonment, since their "brothers", the Jihadist extremists, have no intent on stopping their murderous campaign. The detainees can blame their plight on their own cause.

      And, I have changed my view on where they should be incarcerated. They should be placed at the federal prison in Marion, IL.

      A month at that place, with those inmates, and the "prisoners" will beg to be returned to GITMO and the sunny tropics.

    2. Lars, Wisconsin, USA says:

      Biggest surprise here is NO surprise. Biggest mistake, bringing the "terrorist" to GITMO in the first place. They should have been kept in Afghanistan or Iraq and "handled" there. Terrorists from any country should never be given the same rights to trial as American Citizens or have use of our Consitution, which of course they would burn along with our flag if and when they get the chance.

    3. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      Dear Lars of Wisconsin,

      Hindsight is 20-20.

      GITMO is in Cuba and was close for easy access for interrogation. That aside, if we would have kept any terrorists ANYWHERE in the world, the ACLU and the left-fringe would have still screamed.

      Indeed, look how quick the world reacted about secret prisons.

      The issue was and is always one of "we need to protect the rights of Islamic Jihadists Murderous Thugs" no matter the cost to our national security. Lastly, what rights did these monsters display with the video-taped decapitations? Where is the outcry now? Forgotten by the left already.

    4. Bobbie Jay says:

      Is it just me? Or does it seem like Obama is discreetly protecting the terrorists?

      The only punishment to terrorists Obama wants to give is the least Obama can… the death of a TERRORISTS will show no blood on Obama's hands? He does reward the irresponsible and terroristic in this country!

      Mr. President, I do not like your character, one bit!

    5. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      War is war. Failing to act accordingly is acting on behalf of the Enemy.

    6. Ron, Oregon says:

      I have the perfect solution to the GITMO prisoner housing issue! Let's put them in the white house with their buddy, the prez, and they can all participate in a beer fest and act stupidly together, rather than independently as they and obama do now. There are a lot of rooms there, and it has the best security in the world. It would work fine – a perfect solution that should satisfy the left and the right. C'mon obama, please start acting presidential – I keep hoping you will. Do you know how to? Oh, I forgot, you are a community organizer. You should have stuck to what you think you do best. It certainly isn't being a president! I agree with Bobby Jay, I do not like your character one bit.

    7. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      What we all must understand is, first of all, Obama is not a "leader". He is a puppet following a script that has been in the process of being written for several generation. This socialist take over of our country was fully implemented after 9/11 when the attacks on anything Bush, began by the left, and their national news media cohorts, that continues today. These attacks were designed to beat down the conservatives to the extent they went into hiding thus making it so much easier for Obama to be paraded in as the "savior". Only problem for the left is that Obama was finally recognized as the Marxist he is. We are now out of hiding and intend to take our country back.

    8. Normca says:

      Obama and his ilk criticized the previous president for not consulting with congress and now he does the same. One cannot lead if he is not a leader. After all he voted present more than Yea or nae. These prisoners of war need to stay in GITMO until the war ends; not put on a vacation island, not placed in a high security prison in the USA, like Bill said, where the ACLU can get them released. They are being treated well [as the Red Cross has concluded]. The intent is to make the rest of the world like Obama, personally. America needs to be respected not liked.

    9. American Miles, USA says:

      It should be clear by now that Controller in Chief doesn't give a hoot about the American People. Never has. He wants to rule the world. Tried to push through this ControlCare bill before the August recess, a two week window, but wants to "take time to carefully consider" the recommendations of his own appointed commander on the ground in Afganistan. Hmm… Our troops are getting shot at and blown up while he takes time to consider, but healthcare, oh we got to pass that right now. Nobody is getting shot at because they don't have healthcare. Meanwhile, Mr. I'm going to keep my identity a secret & ashamed of my country Michelle, accompanied by Oprah, skippy off to Denmark to make a pitch for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Chicago. All on our dime of course. Just can't figure out which Chicago he's talking about, the one in IL or the one in DC? Doesn't matter, we continue with this kind of "change" there won't either one. And got to love that ACLU – I believe the first letter stands for "American". When you act on behalf of foreign people who are willing to strap bombs to themselves and blow up as many innocent people as they can, this is an American Civil Liberty? I never realized Taliban and Al Quida had American Civil Liberties. I must have missed that indoctrination video.

    10. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Mr. Obama knows nothing about military tribunals, or military justice, because he was never in the military. He knows nothing about international law and neither does his lawyer, Attorney General, Eric Holder. Prior to being named Atty. General, he made his money by defending Islamic terrorists.

      When the U.S. goes to war these days, our military are the only ones wearing uniforms. The enemy knows who we are, but we can't tell the enemy soldiers from the civilian population, because they are too cowardly to wear uniforms. They attack our forces, then hide in mosques, schools and hospitals in hopes of a counter-attack, so that Al Jeezera can show the world what the American monsters have inflicted on peaceable people. It's their strategy and it works.

      In earlier days, when combatants could be identified by their uniforms, the rules of the Geneva Convention made sense. Humane treatment of prisoners was something most countries could agree to, although I'm sure that survivors of Japanese and Vietnamese prison camps may beg to differ.

      But who are we kidding? When countries are at war, anything goes. In WWII, the Germans began by sinking passenger ships, suspected of delivering war goods to the British. They bomber civilian cities night and day. When it was our turn, we did the same thing, not only in Germany, but also in Japan. When waring nations bomb each other's civilian populations, they do with the idea that such will cause the opposing side to lose their will to continue and will sue for peace.

      When the U.S. brought nuclear war into the world, it changed things forever. There are no more "battle fields" as we knew them in the past, where soldiers from both sides would meet, have at each other, with one side or the other declaring victory and the survivors going home to lick their wounds. War today always teters on the brink of mutually assured destruction.

      Mutually assured destruction is insane and that makes war insane. Many feel that the best way to prevent such an event is to stay militarily strong, maitaining a strong defense.

    11. Bill Tulsa, Oklah says:

      I totally agree with statements that Obama is not, has not and will never be a "leader". Obama's interest have nothing to do with keeping our country great! This is obvious every time he gets in front of the world. In my opinion, he's a coward when it comes to dealing with nations that want to destroy us or our allies. Again, it's obvious he's out to destroy what America is! People must wake up!

    12. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Mr. Benjamin Wittes' article in today's Washington Posts expresses surprise that Mr. Obama is not doing what he said he would do, regarding "working with Congress" to develop reasonable standards for the continuation of detentions of Guantanimo detainees which would be consistent with our values and our Constitution.

      This presents a problem in that Mr. Obama does not share our values, nor does he think very much of our Constitution. He has gone on record as saying the our Bill or Rights (all amendments to the U.S. Constitution) are "negative rights", limiting the power of government. I suspect Mr. Obama was home sick the day they taught that the Bill of Rights was intended to limit the power of government, in high school Civics class.

      Mr. Obama was never in the military and has no experience with military tribunals, nor the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Nor, it seems, does his Attorney General, Mr. Holder, who has earned his money previously by defending Guantanimo detainees and who now finds it more important to American security to investigate former CIA operatives, and their interrogation methods of detainees subsequent to 9/11, who acted within guidelines approved by the Justice Department.

    13. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Does anyone know if thereis room for one more enemy at GITMO? We have a President in need of a room.


    14. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Does anyone know if there is room for one more enemy at GITMO? We have a President in need of a room.


    15. Normca says:

      The best news of the week. Even the French president is making fun of the American president. So now Obama is neither liked or respected. Gee I hope Ram is not monitoring this forum.

    16. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      The dems and obama do not care about this country or the people. They are all on their own agenda. The terroist should be treated like they treat us, but we are a people that tend to believe that we can bring people up to our status, these people can not be brought up to our standards, they could care less about America and our people. They have no respect for life or the well beung of their own people. Treat them like they treat us.

    17. Carol, AZ says:

      Thank you for the wonderful comments above….

      As a former resident of N.Y.and also a miltary wife, I would like to send this message to the Oval office.

      The un-doctored videos from 911 as hundreds jumpped out of windows,as the only option from burning to death.

      Many bodies blew-out from all directions, upon impact from the planes.

      We may also send the videos of the victems killed on the ground, from the impact of falling bodies.

      The human body parts that were found for months on various roof-tops from near-by buildings and….

      I, like you, know that freedom has never been free.

      As a nation, if we still have doubt of the value of information rec'ed from captured terrorist as the memory of 911 fades perhap the recent arrest in CO, NJ, & NY will be another reality check…

      How arrogant we have become, as we once again exaggerate, an question, our miltary responsibility who are there to protect us.

      TORRORIST DO NOT HAVE HUMAN RIGHTS beyond shelter, food, and clothing.

      If that rattles anyones moral objectivity you can once again re-read the beginning of my comments and ask yourself What about the human rights of un-armed civilans of 911?

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