President Obama Must End Illegal Military Commissions

Our colleague Gabor Rona is down at Guantanamo this week, in his words “on a trip that should not occur, to a destination that should not exist, to witness events that should not happen.” On an American Constitution Society blog, Gabor calls on President Obama to immediately suspend the military commissions, something that can be accomplished with little more than the time and strength it takes to say it, and the effects would be both practical and symbolic:

“Of all the illegal, counterproductive and just plain irrational architecture that the Bush administration has designed to combat terrorism, nothing is easier to bring to a screeching halt, and there is no better way to signal a break with the past than to suspend the military commissions.”

Time is of the essence; in just a few days the military commissions are slated to begin trying a child soldier for the first time in modern American history, contrary to the tenets of international law and common decency. An immediate announcement by President Obama

“to suspend military commissions would be powerful evidence that he meant what he said in his application for the job that the majority of voters hired him to accomplish – to bring change to America. The message would be clear not only to all Americans, but the entire world, that he will act decisively to fulfill his stated commitment to end these illegal proceedings, to transfer the cases that should be prosecuted to the federal criminal justice system where they belong, and to begin the long march of returning his country to the rule of American and international law.”

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Published on January 20, 2009

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