Obama on August 01, 2007 said,
This brings me to the fourth step in my strategy: I will make clear that the days of compromising our values are over.
Major General Paul Eaton had a long and distinguished career serving this country. It included training the Iraqi Army. After Abu Ghraib, his senior Iraqi advisor came into his office and said: "You have no idea how this will play out on the streets of Baghdad and the rest of the Arab world. How can this be?" This was not the America he had looked up to.
As the counter-insurgency manual reminds us, we cannot win a war unless we maintain the high ground and keep the people on our side. But because the Administration decided to take the low road, our troops have more enemies. Because the Administration cast aside international norms that reflect American values, we are less able to promote our values. When I am President, America will reject torture without exception. America is the country that stood against that kind of behavior, and we will do so again.
I also will reject a legal framework that does not work. There has been only one conviction at Guantanamo. It was for a guilty plea on material support for terrorism. The sentence was 9 months. There has not been one conviction of a terrorist act. I have faith in America’s courts, and I have faith in our JAGs. As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.
This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.
Barack Obama will revive the heavily criticised George Bush-era military tribunals for detainees at Guantánamo Bay but will make them fairer, according to US officials.
Obama suspended the tribunals within hours of taking office in January, ordering a review of the military commission system. But he stopped short of abandoning the process altogether.
The military trials will remain frozen for another four months as the administration adjusts the legal system – expected to try fewer than 20 of the 241 detainees at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.
Officials say the amended system would limit the use of hearsay and ban evidence gained from cruel treatment, including the use of "waterboarding", a form of simulated drowning.
Defendants will be given the opportunity to pick their own lawyers and be provided with more protection if they do not testify. The decision to persist with the tribunals was immediately attacked by critics.
"It’s disappointing that Obama is seeking to revive rather than end this failed experiment," said Jonathan Hafetz, a national security lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union.
"There’s no detainee at Guantánamo who cannot be tried and shouldn’t be tried in the regular federal courts system."