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?

U.S. still holds detainee Pentagon wanted freed in 2004 [McClatchy]

The wheels of bureaucracy and diplomacy grind slowly and stupidly.

“how can we miss you when your policies won’t go away”

or wishfuly,
if you and your policies can’t live without our complicity, why aren’t you dead yet?

Answer: The next president is always going to use precedent from the previous one because the apparatuses set up by the predecessor have fully taken root, and just like a weed or pulling a 200-year old oak trunk out of a ground, it takes a backhoe to remove them. Obama has not been willing to use that backhoe, or possibly might not have the guts to do so.

Reagan, in my mind, has been the only prezdint in recent memory to use not just a backhoe, but freaking dynamite to uproot systems that were in place to protect the weak.

@rptrcub: It didn’t help that Obama kept Gibbs as Defense Secretary and all of his underlings in place at the Pentagon.

@SanFranLefty: The awful thing about all of this is that the standard thought among the true believers, certain members of the Great Orange Satan to be sure, is that “at least he’s not President McWalnuts or god help us the Talibunny.” Yeah, that’s true in many ways. Things could be worse. But honestly, if you lost one leg to gangrene and had to have it amputated, and said “at least I didn’t lose both legs,” it still wouldn’t change the trauma of losing a limb. This won’t end with Gates.

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