...the problem is indefinite detentions. But in its general sloppiness, the press over the last 8 years has branded the problem as "Guantanamo Bay," giving Obama the ability to claim progress by closing Gitmo, while still maintaining the right to indefinite detention at the Administration's pleasure.
I guess we have to take our allies where we find them in defending the Constitution, so I will quote Russ Feingold's thoughts here (despite his history of legislative attacks on the First Ammendment). Via Q&O:
While I recognize that your administration inherited detainees who, because of torture, other forms of coercive interrogations, or other problems related to their detention or the evidence against them, pose considerable challenges to prosecution, holding them indefinitely without trial is inconsistent with the respect for the rule of law that the rest of your speech so eloquently invoked. Indeed, such detention is a hallmark of abusive systems that we have historically criticized around the world....
Once a system of indefinite detention without trial is established, the temptation to use it in the future would be powerful. And, while your administration may resist such a temptation, future administrations may not. There is a real risk, then, of establishing policies and legal precedents that rather than ridding our country of the burden of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, merely set the stage for future Guantanamos, whether on our shores or elsewhere, with disastrous consequences for our national security.
Anyone monitoring what Barack Obama has been saying since taking the oath of office who doesn't see a rather large authoritarian streak in the man hasn't been paying attention. What he is suggesting is blatantly worse than what the Bush administration did. Unfortunately, it is mostly being lost in the ground clutter of the financial crisis. But it is certainly there for those who take the time to look.
Update: This Rachel Maddow video on Obama's speech is great. She calls it the Department of Pre-Crime based on the Phillip K Dick novel and Tom Cruise movie: