In a letter to Pres. Obama, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed support for the closing of the Gitmo gulag, and appreciation for the Obama administration’s continued rejection of torture and the many Bush admin. erosions of the rule of law. However, Feingold rejected the use of even modified military commissions (Feingold and Obama both voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006) and promised senate judiciary hearings as to whether the Obama modifications brought these tribunals within the rule of law. (Feingold sees no reason why normal federal courts or military courts cannot try all the detainees or terrorism suspects. Neither do I.)
Feingold also challenges the Obama administration’s claim that a few Gitmo detainees cannot be tried or released. Feingold alleges that the very concept of indefinite detention (or preventive detention) without trial is “almost certainly unconstitutional.” I agree.
I’m glad to see the Congress (at least in the form of Sen. Feingold) reassert itself as a separate and equal part of government. And the only cure for the Obama administration’s move toward the right (in the face of pressure from Cheney and co.) is to give pressure from the left. But this still falls short of the need for the D.o.J. appointing a special prosecutor to investigate and try all involved in Bush-era war crimes (or any war crimes since the change of administrations).