Sunday, January 10, 2010

Watching Closely

It was kind of a mixed bag over at Watching America, but one thing is certain: people all over the world are still watching President Obama, especially with respect to how he is going to handle the Christmas Day failed terrorist attempt. The Brunei Times had an editorial dealing with that subject, especially as to how that episode might impact closing Guanatanamo Bay.

IT WAS heartening to hear United States President Barack Obama insisting that his plans to close down Guantanamo prison would not be changed because of the failed attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight carrying 278passengers bound for Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day.

Stopping the transfer of Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo had led to speculation that there may be a change of heart but US officials clarified that the transfer was temporarily put on hold because of the tense situation at that time but that there was no change to the plan to close Guantanamo.

...Notwithstanding the obstacle that has been recently thrown across Obama's path by the Democrats in Congress who had voted against providing money to close Guantánamo, the US president has to work harder to keep his pledge to the American public. Now is the time that he should prod the Democrats and Republicans who had been demanding the closure of Guantánamo for years.

While I am not too sure that there are very many Republicans who have called for the prison camp closure "for years," the editorialist has it right. Mr. Obama really does have to bring some pressure to bear on Congress regarding the transfer of the detainees to American soil where there can be no question as to what legal rights they have under the US Constitution.

What I found particularly interesting is that this small Southeast Asian country would be so concerned about Gitmo. Yes, the country's population is overwhelmingly Muslim (roughly two-thirds), but that only explains part of it. Brunei is not exactly a hot bed of Jihadism. I think the existence of such a gulag offends all reasonable people, regardless of their religious beliefs.

It's unlikely that the White House is monitoring what the Brunei press is writing about, but surely it must know that most of the rest of the world wants that damnable prison camp closed. So do decent people here.



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