The phrase "to confess error" is generally used in appellate law to denote the government's admission that its behavior or legal position in the lower court was mistaken. But the Obama administration's conduct of "lawfare" -- its lame attempt to conduct the war on terror via subpoena -- might as well be the subject of a confession of error as well. As today's Wall Street Journal puts it
White House aides say they are working up an executive order to allow the U.S. to hold enemy combatants indefinitely, while last week a Democratic Congress barred the Pentagon from spending money to transfer detainees held at Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. mainland. Did we just wake up and discover this is 2003 and George W. Bush is still President?
No part of President Obama's agenda has been as thoroughly repudiated as the one regarding terrorist detainees. From the February 2009 promise to close Guantanamo in a year, to the misbegotten attempt to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan, to the near acquittal of Ahmed Ghailani in a civilian trial, the Administration has failed to change the fundamental architecture of Mr. Bush's legal war on terror. Sounds like it's time for Mr. Obama to accept that Mr. Bush mostly got it right, much as Republican isolationists eventually accepted Harry Truman's Cold War institutions.