Hilzoy reacts to a report over the weekend that Obama is working on an executive order to grant him to right to hold terror suspects indefinitely:

I also don't envy him the politics of it. Obviously, if some released detainee commits an act of terror against the US, all hell will break loose. And the costs of that will not be purely political: people might not get health insurance, or we might be unable to act on global warming, if some released detainee decides to blow himself up in an American city. I wish that my fellow citizens were also moved by the wrongness of keeping people who might be innocent locked up without recourse, but apparently not enough of them are. But that doesn't make it right. Obama does not have to do this. The rule of law is one of our most basic values. It underwrites the freedoms that we go on and on about, but are apparently unwilling to risk much of anything to preserve.

AL has similar thoughts:

I think the best explanation for what's going on here is simple political cowardice. I suspect that Obama, if not subject to political pressure, would not be in favor of indefinite detention. But I think he's unwilling (or at least very wary) of giving the Republicans this kind of political fodder to attack him with. That's not a defensible reason for doing the wrong thing, of course, but I suspect that it is the explanation. Doing the right thing in this case would carry significant political risk.

Greenwald also gets in his shots.


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