A History of Excuses: How Gitmo Stayed Open

Jason Ditz, January 24, 2011

McClatchy Newspapers are running a fascinating history entitled “How Congress helped thwart Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo.” The article cites heavily from WikiLeaks cables, showing how the “done deal” announcement by President Obama from January of 2009, promising to close the detention center within 12 months, fell by the wayside.

Fascinatingly, the cables show that the ground was laid for the continuation of the facility’s operation before President Obama even took office, and growing annoyance abroad about the US demands to accept detainees when none of them would ever end up in America clearly didn’t help.

At the same time, the article makes Congressional unwillingness to relocate innocent detainees to the US as a “block” on Obama’s plans, as though they were to be taken at face value. Clearly, President Obama could have closed the facility any number of ways, and civilian trials for detainees would have gone a long way both in removing the taint of the detention system and convincing other nations that the innocent really were just that, innocent.

Instead, President Obama made an announcement in January 2009, then praised Congress when it defunded the closure just a few months later. By the end of the year, officials weren’t mentioning it anymore, and two years later President Obama is still claiming to be sincere about “wanting” to close the facility, even as he lays the groundwork for its continuation long after he is out of office.

The Congressional opposition to Gitmo’s closure was very real, but the notion that innocent people could be detained eternally simply because Congress didn’t like the idea of letting them go is nonsense. President Obama is clearly complicit in keeping the facility going, and his feigned interest in closing it is only making matters worse, by giving the false impression that any such effort is ongoing.




8 Responses to “A History of Excuses: How Gitmo Stayed Open”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AngelaKeaton, Therese. Therese said: #WikiLeaks A History of Excuses: How #Gitmo Stayed Open « Antiwar.com Blog http://t.co/bq7hzHP via @AddThis [...]

  2. The real question is – Where are the American churches and the liberal institutions that should be challenging this human rights outrage? Unconcerned, it would seem. Where are the American churches and liberal institutions as our BFF (best friend forever) Israel steals every bit of Palestinian land and ponders how to next drive these people off? Also, unconcerned, it appears.
    I understand. These are tough times financially, and one can't be rocking the boat. This is also, what I tell myself, as I throw, unopened, into the trash every fund seeking letter from PBS, campaigning Democrats, and other "dogooder" institutions that I get.

  3. When the Democrap send me a fund raising letter I tape a penny and send the request back without postage.

  4. We should give the place back to Cuba and get out of there.

  5. Rename it Camp Obama. It's about the only honor the Teabaggers would give him.
    Unless he was to 'see the light' and run Republican.

    The Churches? What churches? America doesn't have churches, it has corporations and enterprises – most of them make money selling 'God'. They wouldn't want to 'louse up' business complaining that America's 'business' ain't about God.

  6. The Churches? What churches? America doesn't have churches, it has corporations and enterprises – most of them make money selling 'God'.

    Perfectly stated! If it owns and meets in its own building, has a "congregation" brand name, a full-time paid CEO, er, sorry, pastor, and puts special emphasis on the fact that its membership fees (Oops! Sorry again, that's "tithes and offerings") are tax-deductible, then you know you've stumbled upon an Ecclesiacorp[TM pending] franchise.

  7. Why not just close it via executive order? Seriously. It's not as if equally big and bigger things haven't been implemented by that route before.

  8. Where are Hollywood bigwigs such as clooney and Mia Farrow to shine the spotlight on their own government missdeeds.