laying the blame ….. in the wrong place

Steve Benen: Many in the media, and many more of President Obama’s detractors from the left, are hitting his administration pretty hard today for this reversal (the Obama administration has decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for his role in the attacks of Sept. 11 before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and not in a civilian courtroom). The development is obviously disappointing, but if we’re assigning blame, let’s at least direct at those responsible.

…Attorney General Eric Holder … told reporters this afternoon that his original decision was still the right one, but blamed Congress for “tying our hands.”

He happens to be right. Even today, Holder wants to do the right thing, and so does President Obama. And yet, Gitmo is open today, and KSM will be subjected to a military commission in the near future, not because of an administration that backed down in the face of far-right whining, but because congressional Republicans orchestrated a massive, choreographed freak-out, and scared the bejesus out of congressional Democrats. Together, they limited the White House’s options to, in effect, not having any choice at all.

There’s plenty of room for criticism of the administration, but those slamming Obama for “breaking his word” on this are blaming the wrong end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

More here

22 Responses to “laying the blame ….. in the wrong place”

  1. 1 sherijr
    April 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Well thats what the ‘PL’ does- they blame President Obama for all of Congress’ mishaps/choices- because it’s easier apparently to jump on the Obama=bad bandwagon, rather than actually call their congressperson and demand better representation. These loud noisy few do not represent anyone but themselves, and they’re professionally angry and imo- they’re lazy and dishonest toboot !

  2. 2 Jessica
    April 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I must say this issue does not bring out any emotion in me. On a scale of 1 to 10 this is about a 1.5. Maybe I’m too ignorant on the subject, I don’t know. I guess everybody has their issue that they are passionate about.

    • 3 Theo67
      April 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      The reason why this issue brings out the passion in me is because there are hundreds of men, including very young teenagers, who were scooped off the streets in their home countries, kept from their families without notification of their whereabouts for years, tortured, sold into bondage for political or financial gain – and Bush & Cheney just got on their helicopter on Jan 20, 2009 and didn’t spare them a second thought. Many would have been happy to just have these people die off. Certainly, some of the people in Gtimo are actually very bad men, and deserved to be picked up and tried and judged. But there are many more who aren’t/weren’t bad men. I can’t imagine what that would be like, as the incarcerated person or as a member of their family. Especially in those early days when the Red Cross wasn’t given permission to see them, or they were being held in the secret prisons. We need to close this chapter in humanity’s history – it’s a dark period. I won’t say it’s as bad as slavery, but it has hints of the same elements. As human beings, we shouldn’t be able to sleep at night, knowing that some innocent people were deprived of their freedom because of the wild fever of fear that Cheney and Bush perpetrated on this country, and we shouldn’t defend our own right to freedom when we are willing to turn the other way when others are denied justice so that we can feel safe – no matter the cost.

  3. 5 anniebella
    April 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t blame the President one bit for Gitmo not being close. I do blame Congress, The Republicans and the gutless Democrats. There was a empty prison in Illinois were the people in that town want to bring those prisioners there because it would be jobs for the people, but Congress blocked everything. You had people all over the country saying we don’t want them in our backyard don’t bring them here. So what was the President to do? Please tell me. What was the President to do, set them free. I’m so dam sick of this sorry ass media. Excuse my language.

    • 6 HZ
      April 4, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Anniebella, thank you for your comments on this issue. I watched Attorney Eric Holder this morning make his statement, and he was direct and on point. He placed the blame on Congress where it should be. I watched the hearings of Congress when Attorney General was treated by Graham and many others on the committee, and these senators were unmerciful and just down right disrespectful to Attorney General during that hearing. So today, I could see and feel the disappointment in Attorney Holder’s heart of how difficult it was for him to make this announcement. However, he still make it clear that he still stand by his choice and the reason why. He was hurt , and you could see it all over him. But we will continue to stand with the DOJ and Attorney General Holder and the President. I will close with this one:

      “Every morning, take a full glass of gratitude.”
      “When getting to work take one spoon of peace.”
      “Every hour, take one pill of patience, one cup of brotherhood/sisterhood and one glass of humility.”
      “When getting home take one dose of love.”
      “When getting to bed, take two caplets of clear conscience.”

      I think President Obama and Attorney General Holder can very well be in very good physical and mental, moral, human-kindness, center core at a good leveling point with this dosage daily from what we see in them daily in this Administration.

  4. 7 Sue in Minnesota
    April 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Yeah, this one is on Congress. Glad AG Holder spelled that out.

    That President Obama is made the epicenter of every problem past, present and future, is remarkable to me. Unrealistic, trite and disingenuous.

  5. 8 Fred
    April 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    The usual sources are responding in predictable ways. Apparently the administration is “caving”.

    Thanks for this article. He totally nailed it as usual.

  6. 9 HZ
    April 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Yes, Sue I think so. Shame on them.

  7. 10 Dorothy Rissman
    April 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    This is a big one for me. I am so friggin tired of the flack from the frustrati benches. Not one single Congress critter was willing to vote for bringing the terrorists(?) here for trial. Then when he tried to buy a prison, every single one of them voted against it.

    I find it very interesting that all of those liberal dems were promoting the closing of the facility well before the 2008 election. It is good politics to promise things to your constituents. When Obama actually tried to do so, they turned their backs on him. This one makes me angry. PBO was willing to do it, but they chickened out. Where were their spines?

  8. 11 Dorothy Rissman
    April 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Chipsticks, I want to tell you a little story about Washington Monthly. Before TPV, BWD, you and other pragmati sites, Steve was my only rock. I read DailyFaux and TMP. The hatred was over whelming, particularly on DailyFaux. Everyday I would wait for a few supportive comments or diaries. The firebaggers basically ruined any diary written by an Obama supporter.

    So I am chugging along constantly in a bad mood and worried. Then suddenly Steve started turning on the president. I really freaked–oh no, he went over to the bad side. So I wrote him a nasty letter. I was so upset. I never heard back, but as Steve began to move back to supporting PBO, I realized I had to apologize. So I wrote another letter trying to explain why I had gone off the deep end.

    He is a great guy.

    • April 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      Ah Dorothy, what a lovely story – you were so great to write back to him, I don’t think I’d ever be big enough to do that for anyone! I really do trust Steve Benen, even when he is critical of the President I know it’s from the heart and not part of some pathetic professional left agenda. I honestly can’t think of any commentator I trust more.

      • 13 Dorothy Rissman
        April 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm

        I think you are right Chipsticks. He is smart and sensible. Sometimes when all you hear is bad, bad, bad, bad, it gets to you. As I said, your site and others eases the pain. hugs. dr

  9. 14 Sue in Minnesota
    April 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Think we should all write our Congress people and let them know we are disappointed in their lack of support, and legislative efforts regarding Gitmo. Please make it clear to them that they are being held accountable not the DOJ or the Whitehouse. Raise your voices to both Democrats and Republicans. I am off to do just that.

    • 15 Dorothy Rissman
      April 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Sue, I think that is a good idea. As I understand, an actual letter is better than an email. I should do that once a week. Thanks for the suggestion.

      • 16 Sue in Minnesota
        April 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm

        Then letters I’ll send. Thanks Dorothy, I did not know that, have sent a boat load of e-mails, but I can switch it up from here on in. I have placed a fair amount of calls, but trust their impact even less than something written.

  10. 17 anniebella
    April 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    During the WH briefing today I listen to that Jake Tapper of ABC news who made some comment about how the President didn’t keep his word concerning closing Gitmo. I never like that Tapper guy, I put him and CNN Ed Henry in the same group. The I can’t stand those bastards group.I sent Tapper a email at ABC News to let him know just what I thought of his statement. The President tried, so I don’t blame him one bit. And Sue my Congressman and Senator will hear from me concerning this also.

    • 18 majii
      April 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      It’s not the president who is the wimp regarding Gitmo. It’s Congress, the American people, particularly those on the right who seem to fear everything, and the MSM for not reporting the truth! He did what he promised, but Congress refused to allow Gitmo to be closed, and last month, they introduced legislation cutting off the funding that would allow the DOJ to bring the detainees to the mainland for trials in civilian courts. The reason Tapper is acting clueless is because he and his network and all the others misled the public about PBO and Gitmo. He can kiss my derrière, along with the rest of the hypocrites. This is NOT a promise that PBO didn’t keep!

      • 19 Theo67
        April 4, 2011 at 11:25 pm

        Rant to follow:

        I broke my own embargo on Rachel, and I regret it tonight. She reported this Gitmo piece as the president “kicking his base in the teeth on the same day that he announces his re-election campaign”. I could not believe it. And then she called on his “base” to not let him get away with it. I plan on writing to her to let her know that she undermines her “journalistic credentials” when she panders to these emotional rants, instead of presenting the facts.

        She also had Chris Hayes on to set the PL stage for accusing the President for what the Republicans are planning with their vote to end Medicare. Instead of keeping the pressure on the Republicans, they decided that if the President happens to say he wants to work in a bi-partisan manner to find a way to reform the entitlements, then he’ll be somehow giving cover to the Republican plan to end Medicare.

        The President is saddled from the left and the right. We can’t make progress like this.

      • 21 anniebella
        April 5, 2011 at 7:51 am

        Agree with you majii totally. I listen to Maddow for a few minutes, then I couldn’t take her crap any longer. Her show was the only one I watched on Msnbc, no more. She will be hearing from me.

        • 22 Ladyhawke
          April 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

          I just found another amazing post on The Reid Report about the KSM announcement yesterday. It is awesome. I love this site. Here is the bottom:


          To be clear: Barack Obama vowed to close Gitmo, and took concrete steps to try and do so. But he could not have anticipated the obstruction that would come from his own side in Congress — not on the campaign trail in 2007 and 2008. Once in office, he was confronted with that obstruction almost immediately, and tenaciously.

          Is there a way that the president can vault over Congress and bring KSM to trial in New York? The answer is no; not without directly violating numerous edicts passed by Congress (which back in the Bush days, liberals would have considered impeachable.) And the idea that “Bush did it” is more of the liberal fiction that George W. Bush routinely defied Congress, when in fact, Congress colluded with him on national security policy every step of the way.

          I also sent this post to The Rachel Maddow Show. This is real journalism. Reporting the facts and not emotional outbursts.


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