Sunday, February 08, 2009

Obama and the Terrorist Victims' Families

It was a Bush-like gesture--meet with the victims' families of the 9/11 and Cole attacks, offer a sympathetic ear and a hug if they wanted one, and pass along the reason why he is shutting down the trials of the men who most likely murdered their kin.

Obama is very good at courting his enemies--it's a very useful talent for a president--but he seems to be perplexed at how to handle the Gitmo detainees. The most likely reason he signed the EO on day one was to shield the incoming administration from future lawsuits while biding time for the new Clintonistas to find a 90s-like solution that removes everything from the front pages.

He can't be dumb enough to let the big fish get their day in American courts knowing full well their lawyers would likely have convictions overturned due to national security concerns or allegations of torture. While that might serve him well in his continuing efforts to defeat president Bush, he knows that if a guy like KSM were to ever get free and plan another attack he would be responsible for the destruction of the Democratic Party. He'd never be allowed to take the risk. Perhaps that's why the administration has kept the rendition door open.

But as he spends the next four months mulling over his options it leaves the question open as to what will happen if we get attacked again and acquire more HVT detainees, or if we finally capture bin Laden or Zawahiri or al-Masri? Where would they go and what would happen to them? As you recall, that question was posed to spokesman Robert Gibbs on his day one presser:
Q And since you said you need to get guidance from the NSC on my first question, is it fair for me then to conclude that it is an open question what you --

MR. GIBBS: No, it's fair for you to conclude that I want to make sure I don't make a mistake. (Laughter.)
This was followed by this exchange the following day:
Q You had a question yesterday on Osama bin Laden you said you would check and get back to us.

MR. GIBBS: I think folks did check and get back to you guys.
What was the reply? Do these replies go to the individual journalist or get printed somewhere?

Perhaps it doesn't matter to them. According to Dana Priest they've already won the war. This bunch might possess enough hubris to actually believe it.

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