Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Military to Obama: “How do you like our middle finger?”

Posted by Charles II on January 30, 2009

I heard this on Rachel last night, but CNN has the story:

A military judge Thursday refused to delay proceedings against the accused mastermind of the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole despite President Obama’s call for a temporary halt to trials of suspected terrorists.

Obama ordered a 120-day delay of pending cases at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on his first day in office, requiring prosecutors to seek delays in the 14 active cases before military commissions there.

But the judge, Col. James Pohl, refused the government’s request for a delay and ordered arraignment for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri to go ahead as scheduled February 9.

So, here are the reasons why this is a bad idea:

  • al-Nashiri was waterboarded (the tapes were destroyed)
  • the case uses military commissions which are unconstitutional and inconsistent with the Geneva accords
  • Obama issued an Executive Order, and Col. Pohl is giving him the middle finger
  • I hope Colonel Pohl gets a promotion to Captain for this bit of insubordination. But something tells me this has approval at high levels in the military, which is not content with botching occupations and wants to get into the judicial business.

    23 Responses to “Military to Obama: “How do you like our middle finger?””

    1. It isn’t technically insubordination for the judge in a proceeding to reject a request of the prosecution. That these proceedings are a mockery of justice is beside the point, Barack Obama did not order the judge to do anything.

      That said, I think the history of this case speaks for itself, and the judge’s claim that a delay would deny the public a speedy trial demonstrates clear incompetence at law. It is the accused who is entitled to a speeedy trial and this has been denied for six years!

    2. Charles II said

      I disagree. Barack Obama issued an order to the entire Executive branch. As Commander in Chief, he is the civilian authority over the military. Technically, the judge is not having the trial go forward, since he’s simply allowing the arraignment. But this is parsing words too fine. There’s some other agenda at work.

    3. There sure sounds like collusion’s going on — the colluders got the former commander of the USS Cole, retired USN Commander Kurt Lippold, to attack Obama over closing Gitmo.

      Which is rather interesting, as the article notes several paragraphs in:

      Lippold’s own pronouncements in the case were ironic. A Navy inquiry questioned whether Lippold had taken appropriate measures to prevent an attack on the vessel. No one was in the ship’s command center when the suicide boat rammed into the Cole’s side and no planning had been undertaken for such an eventuality. But Lippold was not disciplined.

    4. stogoe said

      I’m more concerned about General Odierno, who thinks his word supercedes those of the Commander in Chief:

      Via Crooks and Liars.

    5. I’m thinking of Seven Days in May, which was based on both the barely-failed 1934 business/military/media plot against FDR, and USAF Gen. Curtis LeMay’s anger with JFK over JFK’s refusal to nuke Cuba during the missile crisis. (Yes, JFK pushed for the film to be made; yes, the Pentagon was pissed about it.)

    6. Charles II said

      Excellent point, Stogoe.

      The upper reaches of the military are dominated by Republicans who think that they have a divine grant from God, nevermind that they f–k up everything they do. I’m sure that that was a consideration in keeping Gates on. This kind of insubordination is not compatible with a free society with civilian leadership of the military.

    7. Stormcrow said

      I’m sure that that was a consideration in keeping Gates on.

      I’m not so sure.

      Gates actually seems to be a halfway competent SecDef. That would make him unique to my own experience. I really don’t recall any others prior who could do the job with any semblance of rationality. And I’m 58 years old.

      If Obama sees him the same way, there’s no way on earth he’s part with Gate’s services willingly. Competent Secretaries of Defense DO NOT grow on trees. It’ll probably be another 50 years before we find another one. Obama doesn’t have 50 years to spare, and neither do the rest of us.

      As for Odierno, he absolutely must be sacked. If he isn’t, “Seven Days in May” could turn out to be prescient.

    8. I disagree. Barack Obama issued an order to the entire Executive branch. As Commander in Chief, he is the civilian authority over the military.

      You’re correct that Obama is the CinC, but he gave no such order. His instruction was to the prosecutors to ask for a postponement. They did so. All of the judges except this one agreed to a postponement. That this asshole didn’t doesn’t mean he refused an order, he wasn’t given one.

    9. Charles II said

      Mahakal, this is how the EO reads:

      Sec. 7. Military Commissions. The Secretary of Defense shall immediately take steps sufficient to ensure that during the pendency of the Review described in section 4 of this order, no charges are sworn, or referred to a military commission under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Rules for Military Commissions, and that all proceedings of such military commissions to which charges have been referred but in which no judgment has been rendered, and all proceedings pending in the United States Court of Military Commission Review, are halted.

      That looks like an order to me.

    10. Charles, thank you for providing the EO. You are correct, that sounds like an order and it is a legal order that should be obeyed.

    11. It would seem to be the role of the SecDef to take steps to enforce this order, and that should include action taken to deal with this judge.

    12. Charles II said

      You know, Mahakal, by the time you get to be a colonel, you’re not supposed to need reminders from your superiors…. :-)

    13. woody said

      On The Lamb, I asked What’s Next? Mutiny? Revolt? Secession?

      This is where that Commander-in-Chief thingy comes into play: Mr.O’s “IT,” the C-i-C. In the military, his merest requests have the effect of orders. His piss is the sweetest nectar, his shit cures boils.

    14. Woody: Yup. Unless of course he’s a Democrat, in which case you can ignore him. Or so some brass seem to think.

      I’ve got a post on this up at FDL right now, which links back to Charles’ post here.

    15. MEC said

      I know very little about military procedures, so I’ve had niggling thoughts about whether, unlike in the civilian government, the Executive can issue orders to the military Judiciary, or whether they’re equal powers same as in the civilian government. Is a military judge absolutely required to obey an order from the military “executive branch”, or even from the Commander in Chief?

    16. Charles II said

      Niggle and he shall Google (but be careful not to Spoonerize). According to the Government Printing Office, military courts are within the Executive Branch. Military Commissions, of course, were in whatever branch of government Dick Cheney was in.

    17. stogoe said

      Military Commissions, of course, were in whatever branch of government Dick Cheney was in.

      Ah, Fourthbranch. How did we ever get by without him?

    18. RCATexas said

      I’m afraid there may be a coup!!.(sp) The military brass have some balls to disregard anorder from President Obama. This is the time now to do that with the economy going in the tank, and that is why the military has put brigades all over the US just in case of unrest. WE will see. I do worry about some of the shit that Bush has his hands on and still does.

    19. Ted said


    20. RCATexas said


      ou have to be kidding. I think you need to go do some checking. His Birth Certificate has already been certified by the Govbenor of Hawaii, a Republican Govenor. Get over his win.

    21. Charles II said

      Oh, good grief.

      Even the nutwing, people like David Horowitz and World Net Daily, have conceded that Obama was born in Hawaii.

      What does one call people who are crazier than nuts?

    22. kleck01 said

      wow who ever wrote this article is an idiot. you dont get promoted from COL to CPT you get DEMOTED! and he may have told the president to F*%$ off but how can obama be making big military decisions when he hasnt served one day in any branch of the military. im in the army and i am not looking forward to serving under this man.

    23. Charles II said

      Um, Kleck.

      Saying Pohl should be promoted from Colonel to Captain is what is called “irony.”

      I realize that some people are unable to process anything more complex than simple declarative sentences, but if you think about it, I’m sure it will come to you.

      As for you and your alleged military service, it’s interesting that you refer to serving under Obama as if he were not already CiC. For your edification, a number of presidents did not serve in the military, including great leaders like FDR and Thomas Jefferson. Abe Lincoln’s service was, to be generous, thin. All of them served well as civilian commanders.

      You must have missed the part in civics class where they teach that we aren’t a military dictatorship, that our military is headed by a civilian.

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