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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Suspends Military Commissions

Already making good on his rejection in yesterday’s inauguration speech of the false “choice between our safety and our ideals,” President Barack Obama put a halt to the system of military commissions in Guantanamo Bay last night, issuing the order on his first day as president of the United States.

The order, filed on behalf of the president by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, stated that the suspension of tribunals was meant to provide “the newly inaugurated president and his administration time to review the military commission process, generally, and the cases currently pending before the military commissions, specifically.”

While President Obama had made clear his intentions to close the detention facility at Guantanamo both during his campaign and after his election, it was unclear when and how he would do so. Finding a way out of the legal black hole created by President Bush is no easy task. Still, yesterday’s order is a promising start.

In other Guantanamo news, President Obama has selected former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias -- the man whose tenure as Navy defense lawyer inspired the film A Few Good Men -- to serve as the government’s chief prosecutor at Guantanamo. Mr. Iglesias made headlines in 2006, as one of the eight U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration for political reasons. .

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