In one day and a few strokes of the pen, President Obama signed an executive order that will close Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and prosecute terrorism suspects in the United States.
Granted, closing Gitmo is easier said than done:
Underscoring the difficult decisions Obama must make to fulfill his pledge of shutting down Guantanamo, the plan could require the creation of a new legal system to handle the classified information inherent in some of the most sensitive cases.
The issue is only so difficult because the Bush Administration dispensed with Habeas Corpus, and much of the United States Constitution with it.
With a few more strokes of the pen, President Obama banned torture.
To think that in 2009, it would take an act of the President of the United States to ban torture by the United States.
“Both civil libertarians and ex-CIA officials involved in interrogations and detentions policies hailed the changes,” says the Washington Independent.
Under the executive orders issued Thursday, the CIA’s interrogators cannot question detainees using “any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2 22.3.” That manual was rewritten by the Army in 2006 to reemphasize its compliance with the Geneva Conventions and U.S. laws banning torture. The Bush administration took an unyielding stance toward exempting CIA interrogations from that manual and those laws. But the Obama administration revoked all Bush administration executive orders from September 11, 2001 onward “concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals,” and directed the attorney general to conduct a thorough review of all other “directives, orders, and regulations” on the subject issued by the Bush administration that are no longer applicable.
Remember the Geneva Conventions? They’re worth reviewing. Seems we have a president who knows them, and desires to uphold them.
We all stand taller today.
Nicely done, Mr. President.