Barack Obama, undeterred by his failure at every aspect of foreign policy, is showing a sense of urgency to add another failure to his dark list. Obama has directed the Pentagon to present a plan to close Gitmo to Congress this week:
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s plan outlining the long-stalled effort to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, expected in the coming week, includes details suggesting that the Centennial Correctional Facility in Colorado is one suitable site to send detainees whom officials believe should never be released, administration officials said.
The plan represents a last-gasp effort by the Obama administration to convince staunch opponents in Congress that dangerous detainees who can’t be transferred safely to other countries should be housed in a U.S.-based prison.
Obama brashly promised that he would close Gitmo within one year of taking office. As they are so wont to do, the flacks at Politifact decided to rewrite that guarantee to avoid having to issue Obama a promise broken:
Overall, it seems like Obama is making small but tangible progress on keeping this promise. However, a significant amount of work remains, and there are many restrictions on transfers still on the books, so we can only move the meter so far — from Promise Broken to Stalled.
With an ego that can be measured only in Astronomical Units, Obama will go to any length to escape the possibility of Gitmo being the albatross around his neck once he leaves office, regardless of the cost to the country. Presenting the plan to Congress is simply a perfunctory exercise. Obama made it clear that ultimately he doesn’t give a damn whether Congress goes along or not:
“I would not take anything off the table in terms of the president doing everything that he can to achieve this critically important national security objective,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said this week, when asked whether Obama would act unilaterally. “And this is a pretty transparent case of the United States Congress putting narrow political interests ahead of national security.”
Gitmo still holds 112 detainees, 53 of which are eligible for transfer:
In order to approve a transfer, Defense Secretary Ash Carter must conclude that the detainees will not return to terrorism or the battlefield upon release and that there is a host country willing to take them and guarantee they will secure them.
The rest are “either facing trial by military commission or the government has determined that they are too dangerous to release but are not facing charges.” The rate of recidivism is high:
As of September 2012, 168 out of the 602 released Guantanamo Bay detainees are suspected of returning to terrorism.
Americans overwhelmingly oppose the transfer of the terrorists to US soil, but Barack Obama is not known for putting the concerns of Americans before his own. In recognition of this, Congress has passed veto-proof legislation determined to keep Obama from importing these terrorists into the US. Thus, Obama can once again be expected kick sand in the face of one of America’s properly elected governing bodies and whip out his pen and his phone. But let’s examine the motivation here. Obama:
“It is something that continues to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world, the fact that these folks are being held,” Obama said. “It is contrary to our values.”
Hold on a second. Holding them “inspires” jihadists and extremists? What is Obama going to do to change that? We’re still going to hold them. We’re going to hold them on US soil instead of in Cuba. If holding terrorists in Gitmo was an inspiration to extremists, holding them on US soil ought to put that on steroids. However, once they’re on US soil Obama can do all sorts of things, like put them under the aegis of his DOJ. That ought to send shivers down your spine. Phrases like “time served” and “good behavior” and “promise to appear” flow through the mind. If holding them is against our values, it suggests Obama has something else in mind. If Congress stymies Obama’s importation of detainees, he could well likely throw up his hands and say “Well, I’ve got no alternative but to release them.” Yes, Obama could just release them. The war on terror is over, right? Do I think Obama could really do this?
As a gesture of his patriotism Obama did threaten to defund the US military if Congress did not capitulate to his demands to close Gitmo. And don’t forget that Obama insisted on an NDAA including indefinite detention of Americans. Apparently that’s not contrary to Obama’s “values.”