February 21st, 2009
10:00 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama keeps Bush view on Afghan detainees

Former detainees pray near Kaubul in 2005 following their release from U.S. custody at Bagram Air Base.
Former detainees pray near Kaubul in 2005 following their release from U.S. custody at Bagram Air Base.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration told a federal court late Friday it will maintain the Bush administration's position that battlefield detainees held without charges by the United States in Afghanistan are not entitled to constitutional rights to challenge their detention.

"Having considered the matter, the government adheres to its previously articulated position," said a Justice Department document filed in federal court in Washington.

In a controversial 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court last year ruled that detainees held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay had a right under the constitution to challenge their continued detention. However, the court did not say whether it applied to prisoners in other locations abroad, including Afghanistan.

Five prisoners held at Bagram Air Base, backed by human rights groups, have gone to court to claim the same rights as the men detained in Guantanamo Bay.

The new administration, which was given a month by a federal judge to declare whether the government wants to change its position, has now indicated it will continue to argue that it is against its security interests to release enemy combatants in a war zone.

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soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. FreeNLovIt

    Obama wants to overhaul health care; can he do it? –> reported by AP..

    First and foremost, let's help the doctors lower their legal fees. Nobody should be getting 80 million dollars for suing anybody. I think it should be limited to just 10 million dollars.

    February 21, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. FreeNLovIt

    We need to promote innovations in medical treatments to lower the costs and create a ceiling to reduce legal fees for doctors!!! So if Obama is going to overhaul healthcare, he needs to consider these items on his plates.!!!!! Where's my Hillary!!!

    February 21, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. cnnnewser

    So...what will happen to these people? Military jails?

    February 21, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. lt

    OMG...you mean Bush was right about something? The earth is shaking at its core and I feel a sudden chill...the temp in hell is dropping dramatically. What will hard core Dems do...where will Pelosi and Reid find their continued vitriol? The Repubs CAN'T be correct on ANYTHING! IT IS AGAINST THE LAWS OF NATURE! (or at the very least...true and holy partisanship!!

    February 21, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. E.C.Coleman

    THESE CRIMINALS DO NOT DESERVE ANY RIGHTS WHATSOEVER...............
    THE UNITED STATES IS WEAK AND DOES NOT STAND UP FOR
    THE CITIZENS HARMED BY THESE TERRORISTS.
    THERE SHOULD BE NO POSSIBILITY THAT THESE CRIMINALS ARE EVER, EVER RELEASED OR GIVEN RIGHTS.

    February 21, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Tom in S.A.

    First smart thing Obama's done.

    February 21, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Jennifer

    Thank God! The new administration made the right call on this issue.

    February 21, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Willy Brown

    None of them are because they are not US citizens #44.

    February 21, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. John

    I'm happy they are going to keep these terrorists locked up. The biggest mistake would be letting these people out of prison. My solution for the Gitmo detainees is to put them all on a ship and send them out to sea and let the Navy use them as target practice. Otherwise if let them all go we will just have to seal with again after another attack on our country.

    February 21, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. floridian

    First, CNN, I would suggest that, like Afghanistan, Gitmo is "abroad".

    So, now we have an answer as to what to do with the Gitmo detainees - move them to Afghanistan and close Gitmo. Then President Obama can claim two campaign promises - closing Gitmo and keeping America safe.

    February 21, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. coffeeTime

    During the campaign, all you ever heard from Obama and the Dems was Bush did this bad and Bush did that bad. Now that Obama is in the driver's seat, it's amazing how much of what Bush did is suddenly not so bad. Shocking? No, just politics as usual. Unfortunately, the Kool-Aid drinkers never seem to learn this lesson.

    February 21, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. Rachel, MD

    There must be a reason and I'm sure he'll explain it. Barack is not Bush and I have complete confidence in him.

    February 21, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Dexter Skagway

    What's new is old again. Change is the same.

    Hillary said "Human rights cannot interfere" in dealing with China." Yuck

    Obama promises change but gives us the same old faces and retains many of Bush's most disturbing policies.

    Bush and the conservatives stunk on ice, and now it looks like Obama and the liberals will do a variation on the same theme.

    The American political system is in failure.

    February 21, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. sandie shuck

    IT was amazing to me that people believed and were ready to hang George Bush on his military politicies yet Obama is just copying him.
    Afghganistan is a very dangerous place for our troops and their is no way that we can win that country without doing what we did in Iraq-that is convincing the people of the country to take on the war with our aid, in training and supplies
    I cannot belive that anyone now who voted for Obama and beleived in his political campaign promises of ending the war would dare say one thing about Bush.
    Obama keeps saying he inherited a mess-no, he asked for it.
    I was hoping that he would be man enough to get out there and say I inherited a bad economy but still comfort us by saying that it is his job to fix it and he will. He was on TV and keeps saying "crises" "crises" "crises" and now I am scared.
    My employer just let us know 3 level of cuts. Round one will be immediately be put into effect. Round two will be coming in the fall, and hopefully, round 3 will not happen next year.
    By the way-I am a single mom and just lost $11, 934.69 in the last quarter (2008) of my retirement. I only had $51,000 in it after 21 years. I cried and cried as I would like to retire in a few years as I have healthe problems.
    I also found out my employer will be charging me more for health care (at least I have it and it is very good) and my union dues went up last year. HMMMM.
    Now get this-I and some of my friends, who are only hanging on by a thread, called around to see if we could get our mortgages refinacned on our very modest homes. Guess what-the answer is no- I heard today on Fox if you have a loan supported by Fannie and Freddie they said keep bugging the lender. Mine is not so in other words if you are not making your payments you get help and/ or your loan is backed with the governments pet projects , Fannie and Freddie, keep trying. So I am just about ready to give up as I am just barely making it, there is no help (even though I have not been on a vacation and pay my house taxes very year with my vacation pay) I get no help.My house payments are the same as rent up here minus the insurance and property taxes. My dauthter is disabled and I want the house for her went I pass on. This will help her get proper care.
    Oh yeah-I bought my house for $149,000. My house went up to $200,000 last year and now is down to $179,000 and this is in Washington state where housing is very expensive. I did not buy over my head at the time. I use to have money left over every month and could afford to take my duaghtyer out to eat and the show.
    Now we are even cutting back on groceries.
    PRESIDENT OBAMA BE HONEST AND GET OUT THERE AND QUIT WITH YOUR PET PROJECTS AND QUIT WASTING MONEY ON THINGS SUCH AS A RAIL SYSTEM FROM DISNEY LAND TO VEGAS. IT WILL TAKE 5 YEARS JUST FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES.
    QUIT GIVING PELOS'S DISTRICT MILLIONS FOR HER PET MOUSE PROJECT.
    I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE PHILLIPINO VETS GET MONEY BUT NOT NOW.
    I DO NOT WANT MONEY TO GO TO ACORN.
    WHY WAS THERE NOT MORE MONEY GIVEN TO EDUCATION. OUR STATE JUST GOT MONEY FOR EDUCATION BUT IN OUR TOWN IT WILL NOT SAVE ONE JOB. SO WHAT WAS THE EDUCATION MONEY FOR. IN OUR SMALL TOWN WE ARE WAITING TO HEAR WHAT SPORTS WILL BE CUT.
    OUR ONLY MANUFACTURER IN OUR SMALL CITY JUST CUT NIGHT SHIFT AND OUT OF THE 135 DAY JOBS LEFT, 35 WERE CUT LAST WEEK.
    OUR LOCAL PAPER SAID THAT OUR STATE'S BUDGET SHORTFALL HAS JUST GROWN 20% AND ARE WATING FOR MORE.
    wHEN WILL THIS END.
    WHO WILL GET THE SHOVEL READY JOBS. OUR STATE IS NOT GETTING THEM. WE NEED THOUSANDS OF NEW JOBS.
    WHY CAN'T WE ALL GET REFINACNED LOANS ON OUR HOMES.

    February 21, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. Gary

    Obama keeps the detainees in the same status as Bush. The Obama review of the prison in Guantanimo says that it meets the standard of the Geneva Convention just as Bush said. He is stepping up drone attacks in Pakistan just like Bush did. He is committing more troops to the war in Afghanistan just like McCain and the Bush administration recommended. He is going to drawl down troops in Iraq based on recommendations of Generals on the ground likely for longer than 16 months just like McCain and Bush were. There is no change in this policy, it was just campaign rhetoric. Bush and Cheney lookded bad because the media wanted them to. In the end the policies of the Obama administration will not be significantly different than Bush and Cheney.

    February 21, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Simmy

    Bring our troops home from Iraq first; then Afghanistan. I hope we count our losses, strengthen those (Iraqi/Afghan) soldiers where they're weak, so that they can stand on their own. Build up some of the torn down areas, and leave them to rebuild the remaining infrastructures on their own.

    The longer we stay and coddle them, the more dependent they will remain. They need to be thrown out of their nests to fend for themselves. We can't repair all of the damage done by the Bush administration; we must submit to that fact. Tough love is necessary.

    Cleaning up the last of Bush's mess over there, Bin Laden, should be our only focus in the region now. Because logistics and culture in the region mirror some of the characteristics of Viet Nam, we must work quickly, but efficiently, to avoid another disaster.

    God Bless Our Brave Warriors in Iraq, Afghanistan, and ALL over the world! You're not forgotten!

    February 21, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Pete S

    WOW you mean Bush was right on this? How can that be?

    February 21, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Ray Fisher

    Our President is stuck behind the eight ball with the wars since he inherited them and was not at the beginning, cannot appear soft on terror and must reorg the military policy as with all other policies. He still must contend with Gates, Iraq, retention, extended deployments, Republicans and Pelosi!!! My Lord, our President is surrounded by terror!!! He must wake in cold sweat repeatedly every night yet he has America upon which to rely and she will always support her President. The entire war policy must be reviewed, detainees included and perhaps a economic revitalization of Afghanistan is in order. Perhaps as part of a new Global Fair Trade Agreement!!!

    February 21, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. fearful for my country

    it's already a proven fact that if we let these guys go then they will return to kill Americans. They are our enemy and should be dealt with severely. Firing squad is cheap enough. It's a more humane death than they will deal to americans.

    February 21, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. DEM in HI

    Is this the person who promised change and getting rid of Bush's failed policies? I hate to say it, but he is turning into a Bushie. How disgusting for Obama to make promises during the election and go back on many of them. He is proving he is nothing but the typical politician who will lie, cheat, and just say what is needed to get elected. Glad I did not vote for the flip-flopper.

    February 21, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Rick

    We need to resolve what the term "battle field" means. If this means that anywhere we fight is one, then that means that some of these prisoners could be falsely held by people wishing to turn in people they don't like or pointing the finger elsewhere, such as the red scare or the Inquisition.
    Be careful, or we may end up repeating the same mistake. Again.

    February 21, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Coby

    Change We Can Believe In, indeed.

    This man is going to end up being just as big of a war criminal as Bush.

    February 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Butchure American
    go out of Afghanstan

    February 21, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. Jean

    Obama and crew don't have a clue about foreign policy.

    As a matter of fact they don't have a clue about anything.

    GOD help us all!

    February 21, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. nathan from CA

    this is so wrong

    i'm starting to get a little disappointed with my obama vote back in november

    February 21, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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