How Can We Miss You When Your Policies Won’t Go Away?
As we’ve whined in the past, it can be difficult to criticize The President of These United States — not because The President of These United States is above criticism, but because the issues where he merits criticism tend to be complicated, and we don’t want to spend our evenings blockquoting yards of Glenn Greenwald.
It’s not like The Former President of These United States, where you could just point and laugh. Or cry. Or scream. Or fling feces.
Nor is it like the Obama Administration deporting a record number of illegal immigrants (sorry, “undocumented” just doesn’t work for us), which, while certainly worth a good cry/scream/fling, is just too broad for us to deal with.
But every so often we stumble across an easily encapsulated story that represents what nags at us:
An emotionally ill detainee still being held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was first recommended for release by the Pentagon in 2004, according to a federal judge whose ruling ordering that the man be freed was made public this week.
Despite the Pentagon’s recommendation, it wasn’t until 2007 that the Bush administration adopted the military assessment and put Adnan Abdul Latif, now about 34, on an approved transfer list. By then, however, the issue of transferring prisoners to Yemen, Osama bin Laden’s ancestral homeland, was mired in a diplomatic standoff over whether the Arabian Peninsula nation could provide security assurances and rehabilitate suspected radicalized Guantanamo detainees…
[U.S. District Court Judge Henry] Kennedy first ordered the Obama administration to arrange for Latif’s release “forthwith” on July 21. But a Justice Department spokesman, Dean Boyd, said government lawyers were still deciding Tuesday night whether to appeal to a higher court.
Latif has been held at Gitmo since January 18, 2002 — more than eight years, or almost a quarter of his life. That he can’t be “repatriated” to Yemen after we kidnapped him from Afghanistan is perhaps understandable — but at best as a temporary practical obstacle. So, while we’re waiting, why don’t we put him up in a nice hotel somewhere? If we’re going to continue caging him, the least we could do is gild the joint.
Look: We’ve accepted that Obama isn’t going to prosecute the leaders of an illegal war. But is it too much to ask him to provide justice, or even comfort, for the victims of an incompetent one?