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The More Things Change: Obama Adopts Bush Policies on Detainees

By February 22, 2009

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More bad signs out of the Obama administration's endorsement of the Bush version of the "war on terror."

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"The Obama administration has told a federal judge that military detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there, embracing a key argument of former President Bush’s legal team," The Times reports today. "In a two-sentence filing late Friday, the Justice Department said that the new administration had reviewed its position in a case brought by prisoners at the United States Air Force base at Bagram, just north of the Afghan capital. The Obama team determined that the Bush policy was correct: such prisoners cannot sue for their release."

This comes on the heels of last week's compendium of disappointments. As the Times also had it on Feb. 17,

In little-noticed confirmation testimony recently, Obama nominees endorsed continuing the C.I.A.’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights, and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without trials even if they were arrested far from a war zone. The administration has also embraced the Bush legal team’s arguments that a lawsuit by former C.I.A. detainees should be shut down based on the “state secrets” doctrine. It has also left the door open to resuming military commission trials. And earlier this month, after a British court cited pressure by the United States in declining to release information about the alleged torture of a detainee in American custody, the Obama administration issued a statement thanking the British government “for its continued commitment to protect sensitive national security information.”
"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." Remember that Obama line from the inauguration speech? So far, it's proving as empty as the vacuum at the heart of the Bush administration's moral compass.

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