Obama ends Bush’s war on the Constitution

In a swift, bold move, President Barack Obama put an end to former President George W. Bush’s war on the Constitution and freedom, ending his predecessor’s so-called "war on terror" and signaling to the world that, from now on, the United States will abide by the rule of law.

Obama’s move leaves Republicans waiting for the next terrorist attack so they can pounce and claim Obama left America vulnerable to its enemies but those who believe in law and playing by the rules applaud the new President’s efforts.

Obama signed an executive order that begings the process of closing the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and prohibiting the Central Intelligence Agency and the American military from torturing prisoners in flagrant violation of the accords of the Geneva Convention.

In doing so, the President delivered on two of his more visible campaign promises.

Reports Dana Priest in The Washington Post:

President Obama yesterday eliminated the most controversial tools employed by his predecessor against terrorism suspects. With the stroke of his pen, he effectively declared an end to the "war on terror," as President George W. Bush had defined it, signaling to the world that the reach of the U.S. government in battling its enemies will not be limitless.

While Obama says he has no plans to diminish counterterrorism operations abroad, the notion that a president can circumvent long-standing U.S. laws simply by declaring war was halted by executive order in the Oval Office.

Key components of the secret structure developed under Bush are being swept away: The military’s Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility, where the rights of habeas corpus and due process had been denied detainees, will close, and the CIA is now prohibited from maintaining its own overseas prisons. And in a broad swipe at the Bush administration’s lawyers, Obama nullified every legal order and opinion on interrogations issued by any lawyer in the executive branch after Sept. 11, 2001.

It was a swift and sudden end to an era that was slowly drawing to a close anyway, as public sentiment grew against perceived abuses of government power. The feisty debate over the tactics employed against al-Qaeda began more than six years ago as whispers among confidants with access to the nation’s most tightly held secrets. At the time, there was consensus in Congress and among the public that the United States would be attacked again and that government should do what was necessary to thwart the threat.

8 Responses to "Obama ends Bush’s war on the Constitution"

  1. ChescoRes  January 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Obama nullified every legal order and opinion on interrogations issued by any lawyer in the executive branch after Sept. 11, 2001.

    ===========================

    Amen.

    THANK YOU Mr. President.

  2. Wayne K Dolik  January 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    A fascist shift begins when a Gulag is established. Military tribunals always replace the normal court system at the beginning of “the movement”. This is always done to keep the public citizen quiet. It was done under Stalin, Lenin, and Mussolini etc. We are supposed to be afraid.

    This is a good sign for America. Now let us all demand that we as a nation return to the rule of law that the framers of the United States Constitution gave us. We never needed to change our stinking laws one bit! We can win fair and square. Let us do it the American way.

  3. JerryG  January 23, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Gitmo is a lightning rod for the flailing right! Talk radio is alive with the story of the Gitmo detainee released to the Saudis who was supposedly rehab’d but is now allegedly the number 2 guy for Al-Qaeda in Yemen. He will be the proverbial poster child for why shutting down Gitmo continues to put America in danger!

    The American public is, generally speaking, ignorant to who the remaining detainees are, 9/11 conspirators aside. Droned into our minds is that they are all killers and jihadists who are hell-bent on destroying America. Just today, here in South Florida, I heard a radio host (Todd Schnitt) on AM, who also is on Sirus, say that he has no problem shutting Gitmo down as long as they are all executed! President Obama can not, with just the stroke of a pen, placate us. He must define how he is going to distinguish just who of the remaining detainees is a true danger to America and who isn’t and to where those deemed a danger to the security of the USA will be sent. (Already I’ve heard a Ft. Leavenworth official comment, and I’m paraphrasing, “Not here”)

    Quite frankly, I believe Gitmo is an issue about which most Americans aren’t really passionate or concerned with right now, for a variety of reasons which should be quite evident to us all.

  4. ChescoRes  January 24, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Hey, JerryG, my favorite guitar player!

    The thing about the guy who was released from Gitmo that the wingnuts WON’T ever say, is of course that this guy was released by BUSH!!! Just watch how they will try and make it seem like Obama let the guy out.

    I agree that it is critical to know how President Obama will distinguish who is a true threat and who isn’t. No easy answers there, that’s for sure.

    As far as caring passionately about this issue, I (as usual) am probably not like most Americans. My heart has been sick for a long time over the issue of my country’s entry into the community of torturers.

    There is of course, MUCH more work to do to clean up the mess Bush left us, but I don’t see how we could have asked for more in 4 days.

    FOUR DAYS. Simply amazing.

    You Rock on Obama!

  5. griff  January 24, 2009 at 3:14 am

    Hmmm. Right. Hardly an end of the war on the Constitution. What of the Patriot Acts I and II? The Military Commissions Act? The John Warner Defense Authorization Act? These are laws legally enacted and require more than an executive order to undo.

    Have we read the order? I have. Let’s review.

    Section 1, part c reads…”Individuals currently detained at Guantánamo” and “individuals covered by this order” mean individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense in facilities at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base whom the Department of Defense has ever determined to be, or treated as, enemy combatants.”

    Section 8, part a reads…”Nothing in this order shall prejudice the authority of the Secretary of Defense to determine the disposition of any detainees not covered by this order.”

    Section 8, part c reads…”This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.”

    All show and no go. Plenty of loopholes and the order only concerns current Gitmo prisoners. Business as usual for everyone else, meaning Habeas Corpus has not been restored to the American people, only a few hundred prisoners at Gitmo.

    A high-profile but low-yield PR move. Nothing more. Besides, where is the Congress in all of this? More executive orders? They should be done away with entirely. Of course, the Constitution doesn’t actually provide for executive orders in the first place. Sorry, but your headline doesn’t pass the preliminary sniff test.

    So if Obama was really a Constitutionalist, he would follow the guidelines set forth by said document and work through the Congress to set policy, not by executive fiat.

    The endless propaganda implying that Obama is some kind of Constitutional reformist may fool the majority of the medicated masses, but I’m not buying.

  6. silentSCREAM  January 24, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I’m with ya there, griff.

    “Hmmm. Right. Hardly an end of the war on the Constitution. What of the Patriot Acts I and II? The Military Commissions Act? The John Warner Defense Authorization Act? These are laws legally enacted and require more than an executive order to undo.”

    The [visible] war on the Constitution may suffer a respite of sorts under the Obama administration, but the battle will rage on sooner rather than later. Our government is severely broken. And so long as so many Americans wedge their noggins deep within the backside of arrogant nationalism and/or fall victim to ancient superstitions, the ruling-class remain unmotivated to effect meaningful repairs. Why should they when tried and true smoke and mirror tactics pacify the sheeple so well.

  7. Carl Nemo  January 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    As always, thanks Griff for your incisive analysis concerning hot button issues…: )

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. Carl Nemo  January 24, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    All we can hope is that if there is another terrorist type attack on America that people realize that it’s an attack orchestrated by criminally disposed malcontents with a deadly agenda and not that of another nation such as Iraq which had nothing to do with the orchestration of 9/11.

    It will take the combined cooperative efforts of high level law enforcement agencies worldwide along with clinically inserted special operations type personnel on occasion to take them out.

    Wasting national financial resources in faraway places fighting “tankhead” style wars in a conventional manner will not succeed. All the engineered Iraqi conflict has done is to grossly enrich the pockets of the MIC and a host of freebooting war profiteers with little to show for our efforts, at least none in proportion to the expenditure of both lives and national treasure.

    So President Obama’s seachange concerning an endless, unwinnable war on terror makes sense and will hopefully in time pay dividends, not only in lives saved, but the retention of badly needed financial resources.

    Carl Nemo **==

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