Der Spiegel: Obama Is Discrediting Himself & the US

The honeymoon is over.
Europe is taking a hard look at President Obama and is starting to have some reservations.
Der Spiegel reported:

Obama Is Discrediting Himself and the US

had hoped that US President Barack Obama would undo all the damage done by his predecessor. Now, it looks like he might continue the Bush-era practice of trying terror suspects in military tribunals. German commentators are disappointed.

When US President Barack Obama entered office in January and promptly pledged to shut down the US prison at Guantanamo and suspended all further military tribunals of the kind used by his predecessor George W. Bush, human rights groups across the country and the world were relieved. Finally, they thought, America would cease locking away terror suspects without recourse to the justice system.

Not surprisingly, though, closing down Guantanamo has proven much easier said than done. Even those prisoners deemed not to be dangerous are creating headaches for Washington as the search continues for countries willing to take them. Domestically, opposition is large to an Obama administration plan to release a group of Chinese Uighur prisoners into the US.

Many of the 241 prisoners, however, cannot simply be released — and recent reports in the US media indicate that Obama may be grabbing for a Bush-era tool that he appeared to have jettisoned: military commissions. According to the New York Times this weekend, the Obama administration has begun leaning towards trying some of the remaining inmates in such controversial tribunals.

Obama has never categorically rejected the military commissions as a means of dealing with Guantanamo prisoners, some of whom are accused of having been involved in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US. During the campaign, though, he did say that “by any measure, our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure.”

Any return to using such military commissions would be a major disappointment to human rights groups who were hoping that Obama’s election signalled a new era in America’s handling of terror suspects. As German editorials show on Monday, frustration across the Atlantic is equally high.

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