“I commend the Obama Administration for issuing this Executive Order. The bottom line is that it affirms the Bush Administration policy that our government has the right to detain dangerous terrorists until the cessation of hostilities. This is clearly another step in the right direction.”Rep. Peter King

Pres. Obama and his Administration must be thrilled. Bipartisanship rules, even on anti-American policies. Maybe the Right will finally quit calling Barack Obama a secret Muslim.

Obama Bolsters Gitmo… was TIME magazine’s headline.

ACLU blasts: President Obama Issues Executive Order Institutionalizing Indefinite Detention.

In a statement accompanying the order, Obama said he remained committed to closing the prison, a pledge he made on his first full day in office. That pledge, enshrined in his first executive order, was widely seen as a repudiation of the detention system his predecessor built. But the new order suggests that Obama’s original pledge was more about dismantling a facility than a system. – ProPublica

I don’t play a lawyer when I write, but I do have a highly keen interest in all things surrounding the law, especially where the Executive Branch is involved. Many legal eagles and political writers have weighed in, with opinions varying. The bottom line in Pres. Obama’s Executive Order is that we’ve known this was coming and nothing in it is remotely surprising.

It’s highly embarrassing, as far as I’m concerned, when Democratic apologists pen cover stories for the Administration on the thinly veiled excuse arguing that Obama has not channeled George W. Bush in his Executive Order. Adam Sewer occupies this perch:

The new policies don’t amount to a “reversal” on the issue of whether Gitmo should be closed. Republicans are eager to portray Gitmo staying open as a “vindication” of the prison’s usefulness, but the fact that the indefinite detention order is limited to detainees currently at Gitmo means that the administration won’t be reopening the facility to new detainees, as Bush apologists have suggested doing.

Gitmo isn’t open because the administration doesn’t want to close it, although its efforts in this area are ripe for criticism. It’s still open because Republicans in Congress successfully frightened Democrats in Congress out of giving the administration the necessary funds to close it when they had control of Congress.

Deborah Perlstein over at Balkinization stands on the Sewer side of the argument:

Probably most unfortunate about the reporting so far is that it obscures (in lower paragraphs at best) what has been and remains the single greatest obstacle to the closure, or even amelioration of the situation, at Guantanamo: Congress. In 2008, both presidential candidates and their parties embraced the need to move toward closing the detention facility. In 2008, efforts by Congress even to conduct hearings into detention-related matters were still met with the criticism by some that Congress was interfering in matters properly left to the executive branch. Since then, Congress has become engaged up to its eyeballs in micromanaging the executive’s handling of a handful of detainees, and is otherwise devoting its Guantanamo-related energy to preventing the President from bringing criminal charges in our own courts against men who the President and Congress believe have committed crimes. We are through the looking glass.

Segue to Glenn Greenwald:

President Obama yesterday signed an Executive Order which, as The Washington Post described it, “will create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay” and “all but cements Guantanamo Bay’s continuing role in U.S. counterterrorism policy.” The Order — which codifies a system of charge-free indefinite detention and military commissions once ostensibly scorned by Democrats — was captured perfectly by this headline from Time… None of this is the slightest bit unexpected. The new Executive Order has been previewed for months and merely codifies what has long been Obama’s policy: “long” in the sense of “since he’s inaugurated” — not, of course, “when he was a Senator and presidential candidate.” I’m writing about this merely to address the excuse from the White House and its loyalists that the fault for this policy, this inability to “close Guantanamo,” lies with Congress, which forced the President to abandon his oft-stated campaign pledge. That excuse is pure fiction.

It is absolutely pure fiction.

The spirit of Gitmo was never going to be squashed, even if the off shore detention facility was closed. Housing detainees in the United States, something that should have been done a long time ago, wouldn’t have changed Obama’s military commission, indefinite detention, holding people without charging them policy.

It was Barack Obama’s position — not that of Congress — that detainees could and should be denied trials, that our court system was inadequate and inappropriate to try them, and that he possessed the unilateral, unrestrained power under the “laws of war” to order them imprisoned for years, even indefinitely, without bothering to charge them with a crime and without any review by the judiciary, in some cases without even the right of habeas review… – Glenn Greenwald

Once again, Pres. Obama quenches his thirst for bipartisanship, but this time embraces the Bush-Cheney era with both arms.

Rush Limbaugh said gleefully yesterday on his show that with this Executive Order on Gitmo he could no longer tell the difference between Dick Cheney and Pres. Obama. There’s little evidence to argue otherwise, though Obama loyalists and Democratic sycophants will try.

In the short run, and within US politics, there is little choice but to support Obama and the Dems as the lesser evil, at least as regards domestic policy. – from Crooked Timber

We’ve gone from “Change we can believe in” to “Vote Obama-Biden – The Lesser Evil.”