“These are bad men who would hurt America. We can’t afford to let them loose.”
I’ve been taking a break from watching the news, particularly anything to do with politics. It was quite by chance the channel tuned to the TV was showing a clip from, “Meet the Press”, or some similar program, as I turned it on.
Newt Gingrich, whose parents must have had some inkling of his future character to name him after a slimy lizard, was the one repeating for the umteenth time those words we all grew used to hearing during the reign of the pathetic Bush and his puppet master, Cheney.
Gingrich was, of course, referring to the unfortunate inmates of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, incarcerated for years without trial and subject to the type of humiliations less recently fostered by the German Gestapo and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.
The debate on what to do with America’s captives has raised its cowardly head yet again following a speech by the current US president in which, while emphasizing repeatedly the rule of law, he announced his intention to introduce a system that would allow for the ‘prolonged detention’ of ‘suspected terrorists’ with no recourse to trial, or any other aspect of the US legal system.
The video below is taken from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, but has had the comments edited out so readers may judge for themselves the meaning behind Obama’s words:
The first half of the video focuses on Obama’s insistence that prolonged detention of detainees must operate within a legal framework. Yet, there can be no legal framework in place to allow for such prolonged detention. Habeus Corpus prevents any such framework.
“In our Constitution prolonged detention should not be the decision of any one man.”
Those words are as condemning of Barack Obama as the atrocity of Guantanamo Bay was to George W Bush.
In his closing remarks, Obama sets his seal on the fate of American freedom and democracy:
“And so, going forward, my administration will work with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime, so that our efforts are consistent with our values and our Constitution.”
There is no “appropriate legal regime” that can ever be consistent with the US Constitution. As to American values, they appear to be sinking below a horizon from which the light of morality may never again dawn.
During his presidential campaign, Obama insisted that terrorism does not constitute “war”, but an illegal act. He condemned the term, “war on terror”, as coined by the Bush regime.
He has now changed his mind:
“Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States……”
The rhetoric we are hearing today from the Obama administration is no different from that of Bush and his cronies.
“These are bad men who would hurt America. We can’t afford to let them loose,” said Newt Gingrich on Meet the Press. The inference is that Gingrich, along with other Americans, are the good men.
The misguided ideal of the United States as a shining beacon on a hill, spreading love, freedom, and democracy around the world is still at the forefront of political rhetoric in this nation. Americans love to see themselves as all-embracing, all-powerful, examples of how everyone else should be. They cannot comprehend when other nations or factions rebel against this American ideal.
It is then that the only true power of America is brought to bear – military might. Unable to live up to its great ideal, America resorts to the only real power it possesses, then stands shocked when its victims retaliate.
In one speech this week, Obama has proved to the world that he is no more than a pawn in the US political process. The grand words gushing forth on the presidential campaign trail now lie strewn along the road to the White House, mildewed and rotting in the gutters of Pennsylvania Avenue.
What happened to “change”? What happened to the resurrection of American decency and honor in the world? What happened to all those campaign promises?
In his closing remarks, Obama said:
“Right now, in distant training camps and crowded cities, there are people plotting to take American lives. That’ll be the case a year from now, five years from now, and in all probability ten years from now.”
What he failed to clarify was that there were people plotting to take American lives a year ago, five years ago, and most certainly twenty and more years ago.
How many more Guantanamo Bay Detention Centers will he have to build to house them all?
Video courtesy of Firedoglake
Filed under: Back to the future