During the campaign Obama was adamant that he would close the terrorist holding facility at Guantanamo.
Now, well he says he will still close it, but it won’t be done quickly.
“President-elect Barack Obama said this weekend that he does not expect to close Guantanamo Bay in his first 100 days in office. “I think it’s going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak to help design exactly what we need to do,” Obama said in an exclusive “This Week” interview with George Stephanopoulos, his first since arriving in Washington.
“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize,” the President-elect explained. “Part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted even though it’s true. And so how to balance creating a process that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo American legal system, by doing it in a way that doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up.”
Following this statement Obama received quite a bit of criticism on left of center blogs. To quiet the criticism it was leaked on Monday that one of the first executive orders issued by the new administration would be one to close Guantanamo. Some on the Left are suspicious as to whether Guantanamo will really be closed.
They are right to be suspicious. If Guantanamo is closed I will be shocked. Unless Obama can get the home governments of all the detainees to take them, which he can’t, he is going to encounter incredible political resistance in the states where he would attempt to transfer them from Guantanamo. All it will take is one hostage situation, or one terrorist attack on the continental US, and Obama could be in political hot water. I imagine Obama is also pondering this factoid: 61 of the detainees released, 11% of the total released from Guantanamo, have since their release been involved in terrorist activities. If Obama does a mass release from Guantanamo, one can imagine what the numbers might be in the years to come. Message to Obama supporters: your guy will not take political heat for anyone, and especially not for people gullible enough to swallow this particular campaign promise, which he is backtracking on even before he is sworn in.