You should have a tag: "Obama is like Bush but with more procedural protections."Today, the WSJ is laughing at the lameness of the new protections:
Part of the tribunal face-lift is that "the accused will have greater latitude in selecting their counsel." Say what? Enemy combatants already have better access to attorneys -- white shoe and pro bono, no less -- than nearly every criminal defendant in America. Perhaps this means Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 90 Yemenis and the rest will now be able to choose lawyers from both Shearman & Sterling and Covington & Burling, instead of one or the other.I'm laughing at Obama, but I'm also thanking him for doing the right thing and reasonably tolerant of the way he's tried to save face by pretending he's not doing exactly the same thing Bush did.
Another red herring is supposedly tightening the admissibility of hearsay evidence. Tribunal judges already have discretion to limit such evidence, and the current rules are nearly indistinguishable from those of the International Criminal Court. The sensible exceptions involve evidence obtained under combat conditions or from foreign intelligence services, which are left untouched by Mr. Obama's nips and tucks.
In any event, Mr. Obama deserves credit for accepting that the civilian courts are largely unsuited for the realities of the war on terror. He has now decided to preserve a tribunal process that will be identical in every material way to the one favored by Dick Cheney -- and which, contrary to the narrative that Democrats promulgated for years, will be the fairest and most open war-crimes trials in U.S. history.
Let me quote another commenter on yesterday's post. D-Day said:
Ann,(Background: Here's my 11/8/08 post "How McCain lost me.")
I was convinced that you were wholly deluded when you decided that Obama was going to be more of a pragmatist than most people (especially his own backers) expected. I very grudgingly concede that you may have been somewhat right. I underestimated his willingness to lie.