Skip to comments.WILL OBAMA DEFY CONGRESS ON GITMO PRISONERS?
Posted on 12/30/2014 4:14:18 AM PST by Kaslin
resident Obama has long advocated closing the U.S. terrorist prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He likely would have done it long ago, had Congress not stopped him.
Now, however, Obama is not in the mood to abide by anything Congress says. And he is again talking about closing Guantanamo.
The result could be an ugly and protracted fight between the president and lawmakers of both parties. But it's also possible Obama will avoid a conflict and simply use his executive authority to release a prisoner here, a prisoner there, until Guantanamo is very nearly empty -- all done without any meaningful debate.
Meanwhile, as he has done with immigration, the environment and Cuba, Obama will essentially dare Congress to do anything about it. It's all part of the new executive-action presidency.
Back in 2010, when the House and Senate were still controlled by Democrats, huge bipartisan majorities opposed Obama's plan to close Guantanamo and transfer its inmates to the United States. A defense spending bill passed unanimously by the Senate in December 2010 barred the president from spending any funds to transfer inmates to the United States or to close the prison.
That prohibition remains. The latest spending bill, the so-called "CRomnibus," forbids spending for any transfers to the United States or any effort to house Guantanamo prisoners in this country.
But Congress has not barred Obama from transferring Guantanamo inmates to other parts of the world. So far, Obama has released 96 prisoners and is preparing to free more of the remaining 132 detainees.
Just recently, the president released four Afghans who had been held almost since Guantanamo opened in 2002. While some estimates suggest one-third of released inmates have returned to the battlefield, the Obama administration argues that the recidivism rate is falling.
Whatever the case, Obama will soon face an essentially unsolvable problem. Of the 132 remaining inmates, there is a hard core of perhaps 40 or 50 who, because of the nature of their terrorist activity and their detentions, the United States will never charge with crimes, will never put on trial and will never release.
In a May 21, 2009, speech at the National Archives outlining detainee policy, Obama admitted that those inmates present "the toughest single issue that we will face" in trying to close Guantanamo. "These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States," the president said.
Granted, it is not a good thing that there are prisoners whom the United States must keep behind bars for life without ever charging or trying them. But that is just one of the baleful effects of the war on terror. The question is, where should those prisoners be held?
Obama, the constitutional law professor, appears to believe there is some magic way to bring them into the United States, put them in the civilian justice system, and never grant them the basic constitutional rights of charge and trial. Who would be comfortable with that?
It seems obvious that the best place for such prisoners is somewhere outside the United States. If such detentions have to exist -- and they do, for this small group -- it just so happens there is a prison at an American facility in Cuba that is perfect for the job.
That's what bipartisan majorities of Congress have said over and over again. Nevertheless, Obama wants to act on his own. "I'm going to be doing everything I can to close (Guantanamo)
," the president told CNN recently. "It is contrary to our values and it is wildly expensive."
Obama conceded that "there's going to be a certain irreducible number that are going to be really hard cases, because, you know, we know they've done something wrong and they are still dangerous, but it's difficult to mount the evidence in a traditional Article Three court. You know, so we're going to have to wrestle with that."
The president can wrestle all he wants, but he's not going to find a way to imprison inmates inside the United States without charge or trial that is, in Obama's words, "consistent with our values." The best way to deal with those cases is to keep them in Guantanamo until they die.
The New York Times recently reported that the administration hopes that "if it can shrink the inmate population to below 100, Congress will revoke a law that bars the transfer of detainees into the country." That was unlikely when Democrats controlled Congress, and it is more unlikely with Republicans in charge. The only question is whether Obama will try to find a way around Congress and the law.
Whatever the president does, he can't change the fact that Guantanamo is the best answer to a very difficult problem.
He’ll prolly give Gitmo to Cuba.
That would not surprise me, Carter gave the Panama Canal after all to Panama
Last I heard, the Pope was making arrangements for the gitmo monsters.
GOPe Leadership & Obama are teammates.
Yes that one
The king has already defied Congress by releasing prisoners.
That's really the problem right there, isn't it? If you're dealing with people who will never be charged with crimes, will never be put on trial, and will never be released, then what the hell was the point of apprehending them at all?
This is where the leftist lawyers who represent this sort of client really have a point.
And if he does what is Congress going to do about it?
Yell? Stomp their feet? Cry about the abuse of power? And then do absolutely nothing.
Did Congress ever authorize anyone to send these prisoners to Gitmo in the first place?
Defy Congress? I think he’s well beyond that. They are irrelevant. He simply does what he wants to do and doesn’t give a damn what Congress thinks. If he were defiant, it would be more contentious.
The prisoners are not criminals, they are prisoners of war. They are battlefield enemies that must be removed from the battlefield so long as the war is in process.
Since the war will likely never end, the detention of the battlefield prisoners will never end so long as they are alive
The wackos that are the Obama administration believe there is no such thing as war any more and that lawyers are superior to warriors and must resolve the issue by making languages changes such as you have picked up calling the detained criminals rather than warriors.
Obama has already defied Congress on GITMO detainees Byron.
You should already know that.
They are not prisoners of war. Prisoners of war cannot be held indefinitely like this, and there is no legal basis — under U.S. law, international law or treaties that include the U.S. as a signatory nation — to detain them indefinitely simply by stating that “the war will likely never end.”
I'll even go so far as to suggest that a government that declares an idiotic "War on Terror" against nobody in particular, thereby making every human being on the planet a potential "prisoner of war," has no legitimacy whatsoever.
I get it..... you like the ascension of the lawyers intent on destroying the country
How can anything he does be said to “defy” Congress? “Ignore” would be more appropriate. Congress will do nothing that even hints of seeming effective to stop whatever he wants to do.
a) Weakens America/AmericansYou tell me, will this accomplish any of the above?
b) Distances America's allies
c) Strengthens America's enemies
d) Serves Islam
e) Harms Israel
Or some combination of the above.
No, then he won't.
Yes, and he will.
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