Amnesty International Is Irate At Obama; So Is ACLU

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Here's their criticism from a press release:


President Obama is reinstating the same deeply-flawed military commissions that in June 2008 he called an 'enormous failure.' In one swift move, Obama both backtracks on a major campaign promise to change the way the United States fights terrorism and undermines the nation's core respect for the rule of law by sacrificing due process for political expediency.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls the commissions "inherently illegitimate." More, after the jump.


"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.

"Despite the administration's efforts to improve the system, the only explanation for reviving it would be to accommodate the damage that has already been done by the Bush administration's policies of torture, illegal detention and denial of fair trials. As unfortunate as it is to inherit that legacy, to accommodate those policies is essentially to ratify them.

"In this case, President Obama would do well to remember his own infamous words during his presidential campaign: you can't put lipstick on a pig."

The ACLU, through its John Adams Project with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has worked with under-resourced military lawyers to provide legal counsel for several of the Guantanamo detainees in the military commissions system. The cases of these detainees would be included in those the Obama administration plans to prosecute through the revived commissions. 

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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