Saturday, June 26, 2010


I must admit that I was quite surprised to find this article in the NY Times. It's been so long since the msm referenced the closure of Guantanamo Bay I had assumed that it was a dead issue, as in "ain't gonna happen," that it was just one more of those typical campaign promises made by typical politicians who will say anything to get elected. The media considers that kind of subject newsworthy only when re-election time comes around.

Although the timing is puzzling, the article certainly is informative.

When the White House acknowledged last year that it would miss Mr. Obama’s initial January 2010 deadline for shutting the prison, it also declared that the detainees would eventually be moved to one in Illinois. But impediments to that plan have mounted in Congress, and the administration is doing little to overcome them.

“There is a lot of inertia” against closing the prison, “and the administration is not putting a lot of energy behind their position that I can see,” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and supports the Illinois plan. He added that “the odds are that it will still be open” by the next presidential inauguration.

And Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who also supports shutting it, said the effort is “on life support and it’s unlikely to close any time soon.” He attributed the collapse to some fellow Republicans’ “demagoguery” and the administration’s poor planning and decision-making “paralysis.”
[Emphasis added.]

I hate it when I have to admit I agree with Sen. Lindsey Graham. His assessment, however, is accurate. I understand that President Obama's administration has been hit with crisis after crisis, but come on! The President of the United States should be able to multi-task. The rest of us sure have to if we want to keep our heads above water these days, and we do it without a staff of hundreds.

What is so maddening about this issue is that the White House knows that closing this symbol of our national shame would be one way to enhance our national security, even if it doesn't have the spine to admit that everything about this prison camp is morally wrong.

The White House insists it is still determined to shutter the prison. The administration argues that Guantánamo is a symbol in the Muslim world of past detainee abuses, citing military views that its continued operation helps terrorists.

“Our commanders have made clear that closing the detention facility at Guantánamo is a national security imperative, and the president remains committed to achieving that goal,” said a White House spokesman, Ben LaBolt.

If that is the case, then why isn't President Obama jawboning Congress the way he did on healthcare reform, on bailing out the banksters, on promoting the Afghanistan surge, and, more recently, on financial reform? Is he that afraid of Congress and of Republicans?

Or is it more than that? There does seem to be some evidence of that.

Instead of pushing to close Guantanamo Bay, he has apparently decided that it was successful enough to open a branch office prison camp in Afghanistan and to continue the Bush administration policies with respect to fighting the release of those Gitmo detainees who never should have been detained in the first place.

Nope. No changes here. I don't see any under the sofa either.

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