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Withering Uighurs (President's Column)
By John Wesley Hall
President's Column columns.
On Jan. 22, 2009, President Obama issued a series of Executive Orders that put an end to some of the worst Bush-era policies on the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects. Obama banned the use of torture, ordered the CIA to close its secret “black site” prisons, halted the Military Commissions, and directed the Department of Defense to shutter the prison camps at Guantánamo Bay.1 Although this action demonstrated a willingness to follow the Constitution and restore the rule of law, the Orders fell short of an about-face, delegating most of the heavy lifting to a Cabinet-level review panel and leaving the door open to the indefinite detention of many so-called “enemy combatants” in American custody.
Over the past three months, there have been troubling signs that President Obama is considering an indefinite detention “escape hatch” for detainees who cannot be released or easily prosecuted.2 This would be a terrible mistake. If, as the president declared in his Inaugural Addres
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