John Quiggin wonders how to respond in the aftermath of the Obama Administration’s decision to reaffirm reliance on Guantanamo Bay, and the Administration’s reaction to the prison conditions being endured by Bradley Manning. I won’t respond on the Manning issue, as I have not blogged about it in the past, and as I would want to read more about it before commenting. But note that in his discussion, Quiggin never considers the possibility that the Obama Administration took the actions that it took regarding detention policy because it has come to realize that for all of the criticism the Bush Administration had to endure on the issue, using Guantanamo Bay as a detention center, and employing military commissions and indefinite detention was the best available policy to deal with a unique national security challenge.
Of course, I understand why the likes of Quiggin are loath to give the Bush Administration credit for anything. But eventually, one may have to admit that on this issue, objectionable as the Bush Administration’s approach may have been to some, it was better than all of the other options available. And if there were a better option at hand, one would think that the Obama Administration, now in its third year, would have found it.
Relatedly, here is my latest podcast.