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May 23, 2009

Yet Another Take on Guantanamo

Yesterday was eventful; at least in terms of an issue that could define the Obama administration's first term: what to do with the “detainees” still being held in varying degrees of anonymity at Guantanamo?

In terms of the evening political line-up that's been evolving on cable TV since the war on terror began in 2003, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann can be thought of as liberal counterweights to the unabashed fascism of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, with Anderson Cooper holding some fuzzy middle ground at CNN.

Although Maddow had been an Obama supporter, she has, of late, been critical of his backsliding on gays in the military and failure to emulate Harry Truman by solving that problem with an Executive Order. Yesterday she surprised me a bit by firmly taking him to task because his position on Guantanamo actually extends their (illegal) detention. Thus, while claiming to correct the Bush Cheney “mess,” it compounds it by accepting its major premise (I don’t recall if she mentioned Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus).

I completely agree more with Maddow’s impeccable logic. On the other hand, I would also point out that the model for such legal (and “scientific”) schizophrenia has long been Nixon’s drug war, which has sold its particular brand of pseudo-scientific nonsense so successfully that one of the few things every nation in our deeply divided world now agrees on is that any traveler daring to bring a minute amount of herbal cannabis into one of their ports of entry will be arrested forthwith and treated as a criminal.

When Maddow, who hails from San Leandro and went to Stanford, is able to spare some outrage for the federal medical marijuana “criminals” from her home state who have been unfairly prosecuted and are still being imprisoned for obeying a valid state law, maybe I’ll find her quest for federal Judicial purity a bit more credible. Until then, America’s vaunted "Rule of Law" is nothing but politics: whatever one is able to get away with.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at May 23, 2009 02:13 AM