Ethically troubling

Ethically Troubling

by digby

From the stating the obvious files:

TOOBIN: There are 172 people in Guantanamo now. We don't know how many fit into each category but this category of people that we are saying you can hold them --

SPITZER: Hold forever essentially.

TOOBIN: -- forever without any kind of trial, without a commission, without a criminal trial.


TOOBIN: That's morally, legally, ethically troubling and we have not heard the last about that category of people.

One certainly hopes so. But then I think that many of us believed this one had been definitively decided already when we voted in huge numbers in 2008:

Barack Obama
Democratic Party Nominee - President

President Obama says Guantanamo should be closed and habeas corpus (AP) should be restored for the detainees. He says the United States should have “developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused.”

In June 2008, Obama praised (NYT) a Supreme Court decision allowing Guantanamo prisoners to challenge their detention in civilian courts. He called the ruling "an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus."

In February 2008, Obama criticized the prosecution of six Guantanamo detainees charged with involvement in the 9/11 attacks. He said the trials are "too important to be held in a flawed military commission system that has failed to convict anyone of a terrorist act since the 9/11 attacks and that has been embroiled in legal challenges" (SFChron). Instead, Obama said, the men should be tried in a U.S. criminal court or by a military court-martial.

Obama voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (PDF).

I guess all this is so 2008 and nobody really cares much about it anymore. But the fact that we are going to keep people under indefinite detention forever makes me feel sick to my stomach. It's hard to imagine a less humane or decent decision.

It's one thing for people to be locked up and know their fate. It's quite another to simply be held in limbo forever. Some might even call that torture.