We do not maintain Guantanamo because we want to. We maintain it because it is in the best interest of our national security to do so. In this way, Guantanamo is not a unique site-not sui generis or separated from historical practice, as many of its critics say. It is, in plain terms, a humane and professional wartime military prison: the unpleasant but inescapable necessity of any conflict, well-grounded in the laws of war. Guantanamo was created to house captured combatants and has always been set for closure once hostilities end.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document ...
Rouhani told a news conference that the deal was a political understanding reached with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, not a pact requiring parliamentary approval. The deal also says Iran would implement the terms voluntarily, he said. ... "If the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is sent to (and passed by) parliament, it will create an obligation for the government . it will mean the president, who has not signed it so far, will have to sign it," Rouhani said. "Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?" ... The president said a parliamentary vote would benefit the U.S. and its allies, not Iran.Similarly, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported, "President Rouhani underlined that the submission of the JCPOA to the Parliament would mean that the president would have to sign the JCPOA, an extra legal commitment that the administration has already avoided." So Iran doesn't want to be bound legally by the JCPOA.
The Iranian foreign minister addressed the U.S. domestic political debate regarding the negotiations, referencing a letter sent by 47 Republican senators to leaders of the Islamic republic warning that any deal agreed to by President Barack Obama could be undone by a subsequent administration. The initiative was led by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark, whom Zarif called out by name Wednesday, saying with a chuckle that upon completion of a deal Iran expects sanctions to be dropped in the U.N. Security Council “whether Sen. Cotton likes it or not.” “We don’t want to get bogged down into the domestic procedures in the United States. I’ve studied and lived in the U.S.,” Zarif said. “I know enough about the U.S. Constitution and U.S. procedures, but as a foreign government I only deal with U.S. government. I do not deal with U.S. Congress.”Shortly thereafter, Sen. Cotton released a statement urging Congressional approval of any Iran deal, and reiterating the need to oversee President Obama's efforts:
I should bring one important point to the attention of the authors and that is, the world is not the United States, and the conduct of inter-state relations is governed by international law, and not by US domestic law. The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfill the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations.Zarif's statement isn't exactly incorrect, but it in no way negates the fact that for any agreement involving the United States to be a binding agreement on the international stage, it must first pass Congressional scrutiny... which is exactly what Senator Cotton and his 46 compadres pointed out. Conversely, any agreement reached without Congressional consent is not legally binding.
Senator Cotton: Ok now I want to explore the so-called risk balance between recidivism of released terrorists and the propaganda value that terrorists get from Guantanamo Bay. How many recidivists are there at Guantanamo Bay right now? Secretary McKeon: I'm not sure I follow the question... Senator Cotton: How many detainees at Guantanamo Bay are engaged in terrorism or anti-American incitement? Secretary McKeon: There are none. Senator Cotton: Because theyre detained. Because they only engage in that kind of recidivism overseas. Now let's look at the propaganda value: How many detainees were at Guantanamo Bay on September 11, 2001?After a few more questions and feeble answers, Senator Cotton goes in for the kill.
WALLACE: But Senator-elect Cotton, realistically, what do you think you can get down about ObamaCare while President Obama is still in office? COTTON: Well, Arkansans are conservative people, but they're practical people as well. They realize it's going to be hard to repeal a law named ObamaCare when the president is named Barack Obama. What they want is relief from the immediate harms. The House of Representatives has already passed a lot of bills that would stop those harms, like preventing people from having to pay a tax that they can't afford in ObamaCare plan, or business from having to pay a tax if they can't provide an ObamaCare plan, or letting people keep their plans as was promised. Those passed the House with bipartisan support. The president has taken some of those steps as an administration measure. I think we could pass that legislation again and the president would be hard pressed to explain why he wants to veto it if he's already done it as an administrative measure and it has broad bipartisan support.I'm all for managing expectations during a lame duck session, but isn't what Sen.-elect Cotton is talking about the point of electing new representatives to Congress, as opposed to just throwing in the towel?
Tom Cotton, running for Senate to unseat Mark Pryor in Arkansas, held a blogger telephone conference today. I sat in on it, breaking my usual policy of sitting in a hermetically sealed room with the drapes drawn and the lights out avoiding all human contact. All someone...
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