Maybe on Inauguration Day itself, lest the left have to suffer even one more sleepless night.

It’s unlikely the detention facility at the Navy base in Cuba will be closed anytime soon. In an interview last weekend, Obama said it would be “a challenge” to close it even within the first 100 days of his administration.

But the order, which one adviser said could be issued as early as Jan. 20, would start the process of deciding what to do with the estimated 250 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held there. Most have not been charged with a crime.

This is a direct result, no doubt, of progressive consternation at his backtracking yesterday on his promise to close Gitmo in the first 100 days. A compromise, then: He’ll order it closed right out of the chute, just to let them know he’s serious, then take his sweet time on the logistics. They’ve been kicking around Charleston naval base as one possibility for transfer, but it can’t accommodate the sheer numbers of detainees — yet. (A task for the new Obama WPA, maybe?) There are legal logistics to consider too, like what would constitute an “adequate substitute” for habeas under Boumediene if The One plans on using military tribunals instead of federal court (which he might) and, of course, what to do about the fact that some of the “suspects” are inveterate jihadist lunatics and simply can’t be freed under any circumstances.

Here’s a quickie highlight reel of the interview with Stephanopoulos. The Gitmo bit comes right at the beginning.

Tags: Barack Obama