Obama the 2008 Candidate Beats Obama the President in Federal Court
A ruling out of a federal trial court in New York last week that restricted the federal government's ability to detain terror suspects shows the dangers of leaving the war on terror up to the Obama administration. While the Administration is aggressive in some short-term ways, such as increasing the use of drone attacks, it may be sacrificing the long-term advantages of the policies put in place by the Bush administration, such as gathering intelligence from high-ranking al Qaeda leaders (who are now dead rather than providing intelligence to us at Guantanamo Bay). Here, the Obama administration is being painted into a corner by the arguments that the President and many of his supporters in the legal community -- some prominent members of which serve in the Administration -- voiced before they had any responsibility for protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. Namely, they argued that the war on terror was not really a war, that detention of terrorists had to occur under the same civilian rules that apply to garden-variety criminals, and that judges should manage the whole process.
Their wish has finally come true in Hedges v. Obama, where a trial judge has rushed by legitimate arguments that this is a faux case, holding that detention of al Qaeda and Taliban supporters is illegal. The parties to the case tell you everything you need to know about how legitimate this is: Obama is being sued by "Christopher Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Jennifer Bolen, Noam Chomsky, Alexa O'Brien, U.S. Day of Rage, Kai Wargalla, and the Hon. Brigitta Jonsdittir, M.P." They are suing to make a political splash, but had the good fortune to find a trial judge who agrees with Obama the 2008 candidate, rather than Obama the President.