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Executive Orders

By Matthew Yglesias

"Executive Orders"

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Barack Obama signed some executive orders today, and they sure are a sight for sore eyes. One orders a comprehensive review of detention policies with the following mission:

The mission of the Special Task Force shall be to conduct a comprehensive review of the lawful options available to the Federal Government with respect to the apprehension, detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations, and to identify such options as are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.

Another orders the development of a plan to close Guantanamo Bay, and a final one deals with the special case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri:

I have today signed an Executive Order entitled Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities (“Review and Disposition Order”), which mandates a review, coordinated by the Attorney General, of the status of all individuals that the Department of Defense is currently detaining at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, in order to effect their prompt and appropriate disposition.

For more than 5 years, the Department of Defense has detained Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri as an enemy combatant in facilities within the United States. Al-Marri is the only individual the Department of Defense is currently holding as an enemy combatant within the United States.

Because he is not held at Guantánamo Bay, al-Marri is not covered by the review mandated in the Review and Disposition Order. Yet it is equally in the interests of the United States that the executive branch undertake a prompt and thorough review of the factual and legal basis for al-Marri’s continued detention, and identify and thoroughly evaluate alternative dispositions.

We’re back on track to the rule of law.

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