Sunday, June 27, 2010

Guantanamo: Obama screws up yet again

From the New York Times on January 22, 2009:
WASHINGTON — President Obama signed executive orders Thursday... ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year....
"[W]ithin a year," the article says. That means the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba should have been shut down by January 2010.

How has that been working out? Here is your answer. This is another blurb from the New York Times on June 25, 2010:
Stymied by political opposition and focused on competing priorities, the Obama administration has sidelined efforts to close the Guantánamo prison, making it unlikely that President Obama will fulfill his promise to close it before his term ends in 2013....
Naturally, this news was released in the Times on a Friday, so that this story will fly under the radar this weekend, and get minimal coverage when the news cycle begins on Monday. The cacaphony of noise coming from the people who voted for Obama should be louder than an arena full of soccer fans blowing on vuvuzelas, but I doubt we are going to hear very much, especially compared to when Obama's predecessor sat in the Oval Office.

After all, I'm sure many of you remember the common wisdom of just a year and a half ago: Obama was going to bring change; he was going to convince the world love and respect us again by taking benevolent actions like, oh, say, closing Guantanamo!

Many would argue that Obama can't do this by himself (even though it was an executive order that he signed that called for Guantanamo's closing); that the consent of Congress would be needed as well. Seeing as how the U.S. Congress still has commanding Democrat party majorities in both the House and Senate, this shouldn't be much of an issue, right? This same Times article says, nope:
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....”
Ah, so it's the Republicans' fault - the same Republicans who could easily be outvoted by their Democrat counterparts should the closing of Guantanamo need Congressional support.

So what is causing this "decision-making 'paralysis'" in the Obama administration regarding whether or not to close Guantanamo? Perhaps the opinions of millions of voters might have something to do with it:
When Mr. Obama took office a slight majority supported closing it. By a March 2010 poll, 60 percent wanted it to stay open....
Once again, President Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress (along with squishy Republicans like Lindsey Graham) have seriously misread the mood and intentions (and perhaps the ignorance) of the American voters out there. The idea of closing Guantanamo sounded wonderful to so many people. The problem came when the uncomfortable question was raised as to where to house some of these bloodthirsty terrorists who were housed there. Being banished to an island surrounded by hundreds of miles of shark-infested waters is one thing. But having a chance to escape into the Illinois countryside is quite another. Once people realized that the Illinois option - or something like it - was the alternative, then minds began changing right quick. Perhaps people should have thought of this before they pulled the lever for Barack Obama.

Of course, I should be careful about mentioning this thorny Guantanamo issue. Take note of what happened to me the last time I got into a discussion about it with someone.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

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