In a season full of broken promises by Barack Obama, this one reeks as deeply as any: President Obama just announced that he will reinstate George W. Bush’s kangaroo courts, the military tribunals that make a mockery of justice with standards of law as low as those of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland.
It’s okay, says Obama, using the same warped logic as Bush before him, because the people who will be put through the kangaroo courts are dangerous terrorists.
Think about that. If you are at all familiar with the system of American justice, as it’s supposed to work, you can spot the flaw in Obama’s justification from a mile away: These “terrorists” are really just people accused of terrorism. They haven’t been actually determined, through any due process at all, to be guilty of doing anything wrong at all. In the American system of justice, you’re not supposed to be presumed guilty. The system is supposed to presume that you’re innocent until you are proven guilty through the process of a trial by a jury of peers, with full legal protections.
Under Bush, and now under Obama, people are presumed guilty until proven innocent. Obama is presuming that people are terrorists, before trial and before the fair presentation of evidence and before any right of self defense. Obama is punishing the accused before trial by making a declaration that a certain group of people shall be deprived of fair trial because they’re guilty of crimes they’ve never been convicted of.
I don’t like terrorists. I’m not concerned about this unconstitutional seizure of Judicial powers by President Obama because I want to coddle terrorists. I’m concerned about Obama’s re-creation of these kangaroo courts because they can be used against innocent people as easily as they can be used against genuine terrorists. As soon as you create a special class of courts in which people are deprived of their legal rights of self-defense and fair trial, you create a class of courts that can be used to shove political dissidents, members of cultural minorities, and just plain unlucky people, into prison in spite of a lack of solid evidence of any crime.
I’m concerned because the Bush-Obama kangaroo courts could be used against me, because they could be used against you. When combined with Obama’s confirmation of suspension of habeas corpus, government secrecy, unitary executive powers to quash citizen lawsuits and deny freedom of information requests, and establish a system of Big Brother government spying against American citizens, the recreation of these kangaroo courts represents as grave a threat to American liberty as has ever existed.
Barack Obama was supposed to end these types of abuses, not continue them. Remember those promises? What a fraud Obama has turned out to be.
Oh, but President Obama is making new promises. Now Obama is saying he will reinstate the kangaroo courts of George W. Bush, but along with the promise to reform.
Why should we believe Barack Obama anymore? Obama always promises to reform the authoritarian programs he embraces. Time after time, those promises are exposed as lies.
Remember last year, when Barack Obama voted for the FISA Amendments Act? Obama said he was voting for the system of Big Brother spying against the American people, but promised that he would reform the system after he became President.
Where are those reforms? They never happened.
At about the same time last year, Barack Obama announced that he would expand George W. Bush’s Office of Government Religion (officially the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives). He said it was okay, because he would reform the office. He promised.
Where are those reforms? They never happened.
It’s the modus operandi of Barack Obama. He breaks his promises, but promisers to institute reforms, later sometime, that will make everything all right. Then, when most people have stopped paying attention, Obama just moves on without making the promised reforms at all.
As President of the United States, Barack Obama is now on the record as supporting all of the worst policies of the Bush White House. The leader who was supposed to bring change has in fact brought nothing of the sort.
Obama lied to his supporters, over and over and over. He exploited sincere Democratic activists who wanted more than just a change of face in the White House.
If Barack Obama were serious about respecting the American system of justice, he would use that system, instead of perverting it. Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, demolishes Obama’s justification for using Bush’s kangaroo courts in one swift, devastating blow: “These military commissions are inherently illegitimate, unconstitutional and incapable of delivering outcomes we can trust. Tweaking the rules of these failed tribunals so that they provide ‘more due process’ is absurd; there is no such thing as ‘due process light.’ If the administration’s proposed rules really bring these proceedings in line with constitutional requirements, there is no reason not to use our tried and true justice system. If they don’t, these tribunals have no place in our democracy. “
I am plainly disgusted by Barack Obama’s betrayal of trust, and I am perplexed by the rank and file Democrats who continue to justify Obama’s use of the very same policies that they once said made George W. Bush the worst President in American history.