In one of its first actions, the Obama administration instructed military prosecutors late Tuesday to seek a 120-day suspension of legal proceedings involving detainees at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — a clear break with the approach of the outgoing Bush administration.
The instruction came in a motion filed with a military court in the case of five defendants accused of organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. The motion called for “a continuance of the proceedings” until May 20 so that “the newly inaugurated president and his administration [can] review the military commissions process, generally, and the cases currently pending before military commissions, specifically.”
The legal maneuver appears designed to provide the Obama administration time to refashion the prosecution system and potentially treat detainees as criminal defendants in federal court or have them face war-crimes charges in military courts-martial. It is also possible that the administration could re-form and relocate the military commissions before resuming trials.
Elections have consequences, as they say.
I’m just returning from the National Mall, where I stood with millions of Americans of all shapes, colors, ages and sizes for the inspiring inauguration of our 44th President. It was cold outside, but the crowd was fired up. Here is President Obama’s inaugural address as prepared for delivery. There were certainly some foreign policy high points that we at Dispatch will dissect shortly. For now, though, have a read of his speech.
My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
This is probably Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s most famous foreign policy speech, delivered in protest to the United States’ war in Vietnam. It was delivered at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in April 1967. A few weeks prior, Dr. King led an anti-Vietnam war protest in front of the UN building in New York City.
I’m off the Hill to liveblog the confirmation hearings for Susan Rice, nominee to be the next United States ambassador to the United Nations. Watch us watch her talk about the role of the United Nations in American foreign policy at Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Just prior to Dr. Rice’s hearing is a “business meeting” of the SFRC in which they will vote on the nomination of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State….should be an exciting few hours on the Hill.
4:23. That’s it! Senator Kerry calls the hearing adjourned. Probably seemed longer if you weren’t liveblogging…
4:17. For those of you who missed the
fireworks brief sputterings of heat without much light, Megan Carpentier posts a fairly withering critique of Senator Vitter’s distractions over at Madam Secretary.
4:11. Kerry citing some pretty scary climate change numbers — you can tell he’s serious about this issue.
3:46. Kerry says it’s time to have some fun! Except he’s beginning with Afghanistan…
3:44. At least she understands that there are an “enormous number of bad options” re: Somalia. This is not, of course, reason not to try to figure out the best…or at least the least bad.
3:42. Clinton talking about piracy…she’s not a pirate in disguise, so take serious her support for an international anti-piracy coalition.
3:43.Clinton admits “no wisdom” on how to solve the Somalia crisis. Very fair humility, as it’s an exceedingly protracted problem, but let’s hope she gets the “whole national security apparatus” working on it, as she is suggesting now.
3:41. Feingold and Clinton both were surprised to learn that Somalia is just 20 miles from Yemen. [Evidently, they were both wrong. Commenter Patrick points out that Africa is 20 miles from Yemen, not so much Somalia.
3:34.. UN must be more transparent and efficient, Clinton agrees, but rightly adds that the U.S. must be a “good partner” with the UN and needs to “bear our burden” when we ask the UN to undertake peacekeeping or other initiatives that benefit U.S. interests. A fair description of the U.S.-UN relationship as a “two track agenda.” If we don’t do our part, we can’t achieve a reform agenda.
Eat the View wins the ideas for On Day One contest! For the unitiated, Eat the View is a project of Kitchen Gardeners International, which supports the cause of local food production and consumption. Eat the View wants President-elect Obama to plant a vegetable garden on the White House lawn, and in so doing show his support for home gardeners and local food production. Roger Doiron started the campaign with an idea submitted to On Day One back in February. Since then, this idea has morphed into a movement of socially conscious gardeners advocating that the new president plant a vegetable garden on the White House lawn. Congratulations to Doiron!
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.