9-11 Gitmo Decision the Latest of Obama Flip-Flops


obama3By Alexander Mooney

Those who have followed President Obama’s stance on which court is appropriate to try accused terrorists can be forgiven for getting a severe case of whiplash.

After all, it was candidate Obama in 2008 who made clear he intended to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year of his presidency and put an end to military commissions there – the proceedings that extend only limited trial rights to accused terrorists. Then, it was President Obama who quickly signed an order calling for Guanatanomo’s close while his Justice Department soon vowed that, in the interest of justice, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other alleged 9/11 terrorists will be tried in civilian courts.

But three years later – the same day Obama formally announced his reelection bid – Attorney General Eric Holder announced the alleged 9/11 terrorists will in fact not be tried in a civilian court but instead in a military trial at Guantanamo – the same court in the same facility Obama long ago promised would be shuttered.

The seeming about-face might, more than anything else, be a dramatic affirmation of the old axiom, “You campaign in poetry, but govern in prose.”

It was a prediction none other than former Vice President Dick Cheney – an ardent defender of the use of military commissions – made shortly into Obama’s presidency:

“I think the president will find, upon reflection, that to bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be cause for great danger and regret in the years to come,” he said during a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in 2009.

So what exactly did candidate Obama say in 2008 when it came to trying accused terrorists?

First, he was going to close Guantanamo, calling it an ineffective “legal black hole:”

“By any measure, our system of trying detainees has been a failure. Over the course of nearly seven years, there has not been a single conviction for a terrorist act at Guantanamo. There has just been one conviction for material support of terrorism,” he said in June of 2008. “Meanwhile, this legal black hole has substantially set back America’s ability to lead the world against the threat of terrorism, and undermined our most basic values. But make no mistake: we are less safe because of the way George Bush has handled this issue.”

Then, he was going to restore habeas corpus rights to alleged terrorists:

“Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy. We cannot afford to lose any more valuable time in the fight against terrorism to a dangerously flawed legal approach,” he also said in June of 2008.

Promising to return America to the “moral high ground” in the war on terrorism, Obama issued a high profile executive order in his first official day as president that required the Guantanamo Bay detention facility be closed within a year.

But last month, the president signed a very different executive order – one that resumed military trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees. Still, White House officials insisted nonetheless the president “remains committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.”

Despite that order, civil liberty advocates took solace in the fact the president and his justice department at least appeared to stand behind their vow to try accused terrorists in civilian courts.

That was, until Holder’s announcement today.

The president’s primary concern is that the accused perpetrators “be brought to justice as swiftly as possible,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters today in response to questions of the apparent about-face.

{Political Ticker/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Pnei hador kpnei hakelev.

    BHO campaigned on what the people wanted to hear. He surrounded himself with naive “advisors” who fed him what the people wanted to hear.

    Then reality struck.

    He is slowly learning that the US is indeed in mortal danger, and as POTUS his primary responsibility is the security of the nation.

    Too little, too late. The damage has been done, and lives – American and other – have been lost needlessly due to the Administration’s naivete, inexperience, and political correctness.

    Fortunately, der Aibishter fihrt de velt, but it is sad that POTUS (the position, not the man) has to be the shaliach for such bumbling actions.

  2. the article above, and Comment # 1, are fiction. Why do people who comment insist on fictionalizing their comments? Why does a conservative media organization entitle an article “flip flops” when it is a lie? Answer: Because this conservative republican media lackey organization chooses to lie to its readership for its own agenda.

    Obama didn’t flip. He tried to do it. Obama hasn’t been able to close it becasue he needs Congress to fund the incarceration elsewhere and Congress won’t.

    Commenter # 1 and the Conservative lying “Political Ticker”- from where the article comes- should just read the NY Times . Just read the news.

    This has been in the news for over a year but people who comment in this forum just choose to make things up out of thin air.

    For example CNN reports today on KSM being tried in Gitmo
    CNN…4/ 4/ 11
    “We weren’t out advocating for this decision,” a senior Defense official told CNN. “But we do have a court system (at Guantanamo Bay) that is both prepared to handle, and is already handling, people accused of crimes relating to terrorism.”
    The official said a lack of funding from Congress on more permanent detainment options for terrorist suspects within the continental United States “left the Justice Department short on options.”

  3. and to continue from above Eric Holder is now in the NYT quoted as follows:
    He criticized restrictions imposed by Congress last year that banned the military from using its funds to transfer detainees to domestic soil, even for trials. “We must face a simple truth: those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future,”
    Mr. Holder said. “And we simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their families who have waited nearly a decade for justice.”

    And to quote Paul Campos professor of law at the University of Colorado on April 5th, 2011:
    ” The federal courts have been averaging more than 50 terrorist convictions a year since 9/11.”

    and further he said ” There isn’t a shred of evidence that our criminal courts can’t achieve something very close to a 100 percent conviction rate for people who have been charged with terrorism-related crimes, a category so broadly defined under federal law that it includes such things as giving any financial support to any group that has been classified as a terrorist organization. “