When will Barack Obama apologize to George Bush? He spent the entire campaign impugning Bush’ handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, claiming that they required access to federal courts and that military detentions were not necessary. On Friday, Obama took another big step towards Bush by deciding to fight a federal court that essentially endorsed Obama’s views on the campaign trail:
The Obama administration said Friday that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release. The decision signaled that the administration was not backing down in its effort to maintain the power to imprison terrorism suspects for extended periods without judicial oversight.
In a court filing, the Justice Department also asked District Judge John D. Bates not to proceed with the habeas-corpus cases of three detainees at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, Afghanistan. Judge Bates ruled last week that the three — each of whom says he was seized outside of Afghanistan — could challenge their detention in court.
Jim Geraghty’s axiom applies: All of Obama’s statements come with an expiration date — all of them. That actually is good news for the Right, since we disagree with most of Obama’s statements. This case is a a good example.
Terrorists and insurgents captured by military and intelligence personnel engaged overseas do not get habeas corpus. Not even the Nuremberg defendants got habeas corpus in American courts, the example Obama liked to use (and got wrong) on the campaign trail. Their military tribunals were the final word, as they should be with detainees at Bagram or at Gitmo.
I’m glad to see Obama coming to his senses on this point. This is change I can believe in, but Obama should apologize to Bush in every brief his DoJ files along these lines.