I’ve been asking people what Obama could do now, without needing the approval of Congress, to address many of the serious problems facing the country.
- Announce that all War on Terror detainees in Guantanamo will be entitled to a speedy trial or be released, and all detainees seized outside of active war zones shall be entitled to prompt habeas corpus review.
- Direct the DOJ that the “state secrets privilege” will no longer be used to shield executive conduct from allegations of lawbreaking and judicial review, but instead will be used only for its traditional purpose: to prevent specific secrets documents from being used in litigation.
- Cease targeting American citizens for assassination who have had no due process and are not on an actual battlefield.
- Instruct the Attorney General that the White House does not wish for any Bush-era War on Terror crimes to be immunized from the rule of law, including prosecution if warranted.
- Refrain from prosecuting whistle-blowers and journalists who have exposed government corruption and lawbreaking except in cases where serious national security harm has resulted.
- Announce a definitive timetable for full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and scrap plans for a large State Department private army to be assembled to be stationed in Iraq for the indefinite future.
- Order the State Department and Defense Department to cease awarding contracts to Blackwater/Xe based on past abuses and the dangers that relationship creates in the Muslim world.
Glenn Greenwald was a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and is currently a contributing writer at Salon. He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The National Interest, and In These Times. He is the author of two New York Times bestselling books: How Would a Patriot Act (a critique of Bush executive power theories) and A Tragic Legacy (examining the Bush legacy).
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