Patterico's Pontifications


Susan Boyle, Round Two

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 8:07 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This week’s “Britain’s Got Talent” segment with Susan Boyle.



Sen. Leahy on Guantanamo, Then and Now

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Let’s look at how Democratic leader Sen. Patrick Leahy’s views on Guantanamo have changed over the years. First, from a recent Huffington Post article entitled “Time to Support the President and Close the Facility at Guantanamo Bay”:

“Guantanamo has become the symbol of the severe missteps that our country took in recent years. Changing our interrogation policies to ban torture was an essential first step. But only by shutting the Guantanamo facility down and restoring tough but fair procedures can we repair our image in the world.”

Now let’s consider Leahy’s 2005 view:

The question isn’t Guantanamo by itself. Obviously, if we’re holding people, we’re going to hold them somewhere. The question that the rest of the world keeps asking this nation, this great nation of ours, is what is this legal limbo they’re being held in? How do you get them out of that legal limbo?
Both Republican and Democrats have said that; [President Bush’s] own cabinet is now saying we are considering [closing Guantanamo]. What I’m far more interested is not so much Guantanamo but saying to the rest of the world we have rules and we’re going to follow rules. Today we do not. I don’t care what anybody says. We do not have rules, not consistent rules.”

What about prolonged or preventive detention, something Barack Obama advocated in his recent foreign policy speech? Here’s Leahy’s view in 2005:

Let us make a very clear statement to the rest of the world what they are. If they’re going to say we are going to hold them until hostilities are over, if hostilities are defined as being under a terror threat, that’s going to happen for the rest of our life. Do we hold them for the rest of our life?
I think we have to show the rest of world not that we say, well, we can hold them forever so long as there’s any terror threat, well, that will last throughout your lifetime and my lifetime, but rather say, we are saying for procedure, we are either going to charge them with something or we are going to release them.

I can’t find Leahy’s current response to Obama’s preventive detention policy, other than his Huffington Post statement that he wants to restore “tough but fair procedures.” Please link it in the comments if you find his response. My guess is he was against it before he was for it.


Barack Obama Disappoints Rachel Maddow

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 3:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Rachel Maddow on the good and bad in Obama’s recent foreign policy speech:

“How can a President speak the kind of poetry that President Obama does about the rule of law, and call for the power to indefinitely, preventively imprison people because they might commit crimes in the future? How can those two things coexist in the same man, even in the same speech?

Well that brings us to the self-consciously, awkward, embarrassing part of this speech today. After condemning the Bush Administration for what he called their ad hoc legal strategy, for trying to make things seem legal that patently weren’t, this is what President Obama proposed … “

You can see it all in the following Firedoglake-YouTube post. It includes Maddow describing Obama’s foreign policy as Bush-like and “one of the most radical proposals for defying the Constitution that we have ever heard made to the American people.”


Leaders Want Obama to Provide GTMO Plan

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 2:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama’s recent foreign policy speech didn’t satisfy Washington leaders regarding his decision to close Guantanamo. Now there are widespread appeals, including from within the Democratic Party, calling on Obama to give them a plan:

“We’re saying, ‘Mr. President, give us the plan,’” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, pressed Obama for details on how he intends to fulfill his promise to close the detention facility on the U.S. navy base in Cuba. Officials report that 240 suspected terrorists are housed there.

“We’re working hard now to figure out what the options are and what the best one would be. And that really is a decision the president is going to have to make, certainly in meeting this deadline of what we do,” Mullen said.”

Mullen may not be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs much longer. Meanwhile, Republicans are focused on the possibility that detainees could end up in America:

“I don’t know why it is better to have somebody in a so-called “supermax” facility in, say, Colorado than it is to keep them in Guantanamo, a state-of-the-art facility that we built not too long ago for the explicit purpose of holding these people,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. “There’s nothing wrong with the prison in Gitmo, and there are a lot of problems — as FBI Director (Robert) Mueller pointed out in testimony just this week — with bringing those people to the United States.”

Colin Powell, who wants to be the leader of his own Moderate Republican Party, pointed out it was a procedural mistake for Obama to prematurely seek blanket approval from Congress to move the detainees:

“There’s a lot of internal home resistance to bringing these people into the country. So you come forward with a plan that makes some sense and you tell us how you’re going to resolve all of these cases and do it in a way that we can support and then maybe we can move forward. So I think it was premature to ask for the money,” Powell said.”

Powell is an insider who knows how Washington works, and I think this is his way of saying the Democratic Congress will fund an Obama plan to move GTMO detainees to U.S. prisons but only if they are told which prisons will house the detainees. That way the politicians who will end up with detainees in their backyards can vote “No” while the others can safely vote “Yes.”


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