It’s always amusing to me how, once people get into office, reality smacks them in the forehead and a lot of the partisan rhetoric evaporates into the spring sunshine.
President Obama tried his best to tap dance around sensitive Guantanamo Bay issues Thursday, but he couldn’t varnish over the fact that he has now accepted one of the main tenets of President Bush’s war on terrorism — that some detainees have to be held indefinitely without charges and without trial. (Read about it here.)
The president said his policy is different from Bush’s because it would include a periodic review. But there is no getting around the fact these people will not have the benefit of the basic constitutional right to a trial.
Amusing, yes, but this also is encouraging. The president at least understands, finally, that this is no ordinary war. The nation isn’t fighting another nation, it is fighting an international band of criminals whose hatred of the United States knows no bounds, and who doesn’t care if it kills Republicans or Democrats.
Meanwhile, Obama’s promise to move many Guantanamo prisoners to the United States has set off a fury of fear in Congress. The majority may be fellow Democrats, but they don’t want their president to put terrorists within their states or districts, possibly turning them into terrorist targets. The Senate voted 90-6 to take away money Obama had requested for shutting down Guantanamo.
All of this makes the wrangling over punishing the Bush administration for its terrorism policies ridiculous. The nation needs to unite and realize we are all in a war against a dangerous and implacable foe.