Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gitmo documents prove Obama more afraid of Republicans than terrorists.

No one is really surprised at what the recent release of Gitmo related documents by Wikileaks reveals. People arrested and incarcerated for no other reason than wearing a brand of watch known to be worn by terrorists. People without a shred of evidence against them held for years without a trial or hearing. People who were completely innocent of any crime, held with no representation, hearing, or due process.

Gitmo has been a stain on the United States since its inception by Bush and Cheney and was implemented for only one reason -- they knew, even if the press refused to hold them accountable, that their gross negligence in ignoring 8 months of specific warnings was the real reason the 911 attacks succeeded. The real intelligence failures had been at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue not at the CIA or FBI who had given Bush repeated warnings gathered from their intelligence that we were about to be hit by a major attack from Al-Qaeda and in the words of one CIA memo in August of 2001, that  the attack was going to be " spectacular". Bush and Cheney ignored all of it including an intelligence report that Al-Qaeda planned on hijacking US airliners as part of their attack,  and they knew they couldn't afford for it to happen again and still survive politically, and so every American value or law including the FISA law,  everything that makes our judicial system the best in the world, was thrown out the window to create Gitmo.

Even that well known left wing radical Colin Powell has called Gitmo a disgrace and that if it was in his power he would close it immediately.

And Obama? Well, we all know about Obama and how as far back as 2007 when he first started to run he declared he would close Gitmo if he was president. He also had some prime vacation land in the Okeefenokee swamp to sell and most of the press and many Democrats bought that too.

Obama as  recently as a few weeks ago made grandiose statements about why he was intervening in Libya, because,  he said, our "values" were being attacked. At the same time Gitmo's very existence is an attack, and a self-inflicted wound, on our values. But being more concerned with conservative and Republican political backlash, his promise to close Gitmo is now under his very crowded bus.

The documents provided by Wikileaks simply re-enforced what everyone already knew. That Gitmo is a disgrace to the American system of government, violates not just the Geneva convention but the American system of justice and is doing more harm than good.

Recently a representative of the ACLU called those who created Gitmo "cowards" for not trusting the American system of justice. Maybe. Though the ACLU calling Bush and Cheney cowards is not exactly going to cause them to miss a meal.  The real coward is Obama, who now, with no excuses, having all the facts, having promised many times to close it, knowing it has yielded absolutely nothing of value in the war on terror, and having attacked it while running for president, would rather renege on his own promises, statements and decisons then face Republican political attacks.

The White House did release a statement concerning the release of the Gitmo documents. It sounded a lot like Bush, calling their publication in the New York Times "unfortunate" and saying the detainees at Gitmo were there because the safety of Americans were the administrations highest priority.  Obama, sounding like Cheney, concluded  that the release of these documents" put American lives at risk".

What puts American lives at risk, are not the release of the documents, but as Colin Powell and others have pointed out,  what the documents reveal -- the continued incarceration of innocent people for the flimsiest of reasons. Knowledge of what the US government is doing with Gitmo is not the problem, but what is being done may very well put American lives at risk overseas and in the middle east.

 But like Bush and even Nixon before him, Obama thinks its knowing the truth thats the real problem, not what the truth reveals. Including the truth that his decision not to close Gitmo has more to do with his political weakenss and fear of political attack than in doing what is right.

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