Free Markets, Free People

Fumbling Gitmo

I think perhaps the promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – a supposed symbol of American shame – and the subsequent inability to do so is symbolic of how inept, to this point, this administration has been.  President Obama, while a candidate, had a guaranteed applause line each time he promised to close the facility.  The left had so thoroughly demonized it that it was prime red-meat for every campaign rally.  And, in fact, Obama signed an executive order on his first day in office ordering it closed.

And here we are, a year later, with the facility still open and the administration still dithering about what to do with the inmates.  In the meantime, the American public has come to realize that it is the inmates that are the problem, not where the inmates are incarcerated.  Closing Gitmo doesn’t solve a thing.   In fact, the public realizes, it forces some very unappetizing choices – like housing those we deem to dangerous to our country to release not in some isolated prison on a island far away, but in the heartland of America.

That realization has sparked some pretty heavy push-back from the public as it has come to realize those truths:

Americans remain opposed to closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and moving some of the terrorist suspects being held there to U.S. prisons: 30% favor such actions, while 64% do not. These attitudes could present a significant roadblock for President Obama at a time when he seeks congressional approval to move terrorist suspects from Guantanamo to a converted state prison in northwestern Illinois.

You see, hollering about how we had to close Gitmo during the campaign and then making it a priority on his first day of office then ran up against the “then what” question. And, as is obvious, they – the campaign and Obama- hadn’t considered the “then what” question. They had no plan. It is indicative of how poorly prepared they were to assume office (they apparently thought that the “King” would sign a “proclamation” and the “serfs” would make it so) and how little they understood of how things really work. Closing Guantanamo Bay has gone from being a symbol of “hope and change” to being an albatross around the administration’s neck. No matter what they do now, it is most likely to be unfavorably received by a majority of Americans and provide campaign fodder for a future Republican opponent.

Gitmo, in a nutshell, characterizes this administration in so many ways. Naive, unprepared, leaderless and yet arrogant. That is not a good combination for a successful presidency and unsurprisingly, so far, it hasn’t been one.



14 Responses to Fumbling Gitmo

  • The “Gitmo” issue has devolved into something akin to promising to end all rainy days and ending up with a drought.

    • It strikes me more as a case of promising to end all rainy days and ending up with a flood.  To me, it seemed that the phrase “closing Gitmo” implied that we were no longer going to keep those poor men in legal limbo on some remote island prison.  In other words, we were going to process their cases and bring some finality to a situation that made many Americans uncomfortable.
      Now the public is discovering –to its growing horror– that all it means is that we’re moving them into the USA.  That’s it.  Oh, we’re going to hold a potentially disastrous show trial in NYC for a few of the more notorious prisoners, and a court martial for a couple of others, but that’s it.  And indications are that the trial in NY will likely be a sham, as we have no intention of letting any of the defendants go free.
      So the only thing that has happened is that we’ve moved them from one prison to another.  Aside from the concern over housing them within the US’s borders is the realization that “closing Gitmo” will amount to nothing more than just that… closing Gitmo.  The administration assumed that it could pull that bit of sleight-of-hand and that it would be enough to score some political points.  Surprise!  They were wrong.

      • TonusThe administration assumed that it could pull that bit of sleight-of-hand and that it would be enough to score some political points.

        And it was.  Imeme signed that order and there was much rejoicing on the left.  He still gets kudos from them (including a nifty prize and a fat check… what’s he doing with the money, by the way?) for his “outreach efforts” in foreign affairs.  Imeme is a creature of the short-attention span media: what’s big news today will be forgotten by tomorrow.

        Plus, he’s figured out that his biggest constituency (MiniTru) is almost completely brainless and won’t think to ask “what’s next”: they will simply cheer when he does what they think is right and not stop to ask whether it really IS right.

        Let’s also ask ourselves why Gitmo is so notorious and such an (alleged) propaganda / recruiting tool for the terrorists.  Answer: MiniTru made it that way.  For the past several years, any lefty organization or politician that cared to string together a couple of anecdotes about the horrors of Gitmo got full press coverage until Gitmo became almost synonymous with Auschwitz as a place of horror (cf. Dick Durbin comparing the personnel at Gitmo to the Gestapo or gulag guards).  The reason, of course, was to trash Bush, NOT any particular concern for the detainees, human rights, America’s image, or any of the other alleged reasons that lefties raved that Gitmo had to be closed.  No matter why MiniTru did it, they succeeded: Gitmo is and forever will be a blot on our nation’s honor.

        So, we will move the detainees to somewhere else.  We will continue to treat them much as we did at Gitmo.  Years will go by.  Few people will notice.  Few people will care (until another Republican gets into the White House!).  Indeed, we could treat the detainees much WORSE, but if MiniTru doesn’t report it, then it effectively won’t have happened.

  • What would you call a federal program that discards one of the best maximum-security prisons in the world and then spends $250 million to replace it? [answer: Cash for Klinks]
    There is an unsettling pattern here. Cash for Clunkers threw out perfectly serviceable used cars and borrowed $3 billion (from the Chinese) to encourage car sales that probably would have happened anyway. Now we’re talking about closing down Guantanamo, and moving some of its inmates to Thomson, Illinois, to an institution with obviously fewer advantages than the facility in Cuba.

  • That is not a good combination for a successful presidency and unsurprisingly, so far, it hasn’t been one.

    Really?  I dunno, man.  I mean, he’s a solid B+ so far, bumping up to an A- if he gets healthcare reform (any reform of any sort, apparently) passed.
    Are you suggesting that his own grading scale isn’t accurate?  My mind, it is blown.

  • “Then what” – they haven’t a clue.   That’s been the hallmark theme of this administration.
    Experts at pretending they’re going to do something, they haven’t a clue about the ‘then what’ after effects of ANY of the things they’ve proposed.   It’s all Unicorns and Moon Ponies.  Just like getting elected, they presume their mere presence at the helm of the ship of state will make all things good.
    They’re like the English Knights in the Holy Grail.  They have managed to get the “Trojan” rabbit past the guards and into the castle, only to discover they aren’t inside.

  • I guess they believed their own PR. And now they are forced to defend themselves by proclaiming that GWB and Gates also wanted to close Guantanamo. That’s true. Except the administration leaves out the part where neither man said, “In one year because I’m awesome like that.”
    It’s such a rookie mistake.  He could have announced on day 1 that he has appointed a committee of “wise men” who will produce a plan to close Gitmo. After six months of study he could have unveiled his plan and given a date certain.
    Intoxicated by his own awesomeness, he unholstered both pistols, pointed down and fired.

  • There is good news, good news all around.
    Crap and Trade is DEAD.
    Death care is DEAD – only the Demmies can’t read the obituary for it yet.
    The Demmie Party is collapsing upon itself:

    The Left is in full gallop. The Clown™ is as popular as The Clap. Plus, Climate Change has been exposed as a gigantic fraud.

    I can’t imagine things getting any better…oh, wait: we still have the 2010 and 2012 elections to decimate the Demmies.

    [Rubbing hands together in glee:] Oh, goody, goody!!!

    • Yeah, well, just pray we’re not going to see a replay of the 1860 election with a party reversal in 2012.  Conservative, centrists split between 2 (or more) choices can still result in a re-election for Imeme.   I find it unlikely a conservative movement that is not run by the Republicans (God help us) can raise enough credibility to gain a win with only 2 years available to it.  Meaning the bone heads better have another Contract with America moment , and be sincere about it,  very very soon.

    • Beware of those “things” that make and break Administrations

  • You mean Ocarter is finding it hard to govern as opposed to just making wild promises?

    NO WAY!

    Funny thing is that Bush managed to get a lot more done with a bare-margin majority than Baracky has been able to with filibuster-proof majorities (and lets pray that holds in regards to the health-care disaster that is looming)

  • I laughed when I read that the ACLU was “alarmed” by the creation of a second Gitmo in Illinois.
    There is no pleasing some people.