Obama: Forget that January deadline for closing Gitmo

posted at 3:05 pm on November 18, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

What a difference a year makes, or to quote Jim Geraghty, even Barack Obama’s executive orders have an expiration date.  Obama acknowledged today what has been obvious for months — that the US was not going to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in January.  In fact, Obama won’t even talk about deadlines to the New York Times:

President Obama acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday that his administration would miss a self-imposed deadline to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by mid-January, admitting the difficulties of following through on one of his first pledges as president.

“Guantánamo, we had a specific deadline that was missed,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with NBC News in Beijing during his weeklong trip to Asia. Mr. Obama said that he now hoped to shut down the detention facility sometime next year, but he did not set a new deadline.

“We are on a path and a process where I would anticipate that Guantánamo will be closed next year,” Mr. Obama said in a separate interview with Fox News. “I’m not going to set an exact date because a lot of this is also going to depend on cooperation from Congress.”

The prospects for fully shutting down Guantánamo have been dimming for months as the administration stumbled over a litany of political and logistical tripwires. Gregory B. Craig, the White House counsel who drafted the order to close the facility, announced last week that he was stepping down. During the presidential campaign last year, Mr. Obama railed against the detention complex on an American military base in Cuba, calling it a symbol used by terrorists to recruit new members. Within days of his inauguration, he ordered Guantánamo closed by January.

As with many of his “expiration dates,” this one is something to cheer. The rush to close a facility designed for a specific and necessary purpose revealed just how unique Gitmo actually is — and how necessary as well. Obama did his best to ship out as many Gitmo detainees as people would take, but apparently to his surprise, most people don’t want radical Islamist terrorists living in their countries. The hard-core terrorists at Gitmo won’t fit in normal detention centers, and even the promise of jobs to Obama’s home state of Illinois doesn’t have the citizens of the Land of Lincoln enthused about housing al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists.

The problem, as Obama discovered, is that Gitmo really isn’t the problem in the first place.  It’s a housing facility, and designed with terrorist detainees in mind.  The questions of due process and adjudication don’t relate to the facility, but to the processes used by the US for those purposes.  Congress has repeatedly made this point to Obama, and the fact that the US spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the prison to ready it for its current mission.  It would have to duplicate that effort in order to close Gitmo while still securing the people detained there.

Instead of taking the time to review the issues and confer with Congress, Obama instead leaped to sign his executive order closing Gitmo within a year.  It speaks to the unpreparedness of the President that he didn’t understand that issue despite demagoguing on it for two years on the campaign trail.  Now Obama has made himself look foolish, parted with an ally in Craig in order to lay blame for the failure, and is no closer to meeting what Obama himself proclaimed as one of his highest priorities as Commander in Chief.


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So I always interpreted “Ogabe” as a thinly veiled criticism of Obama’s Chicago Machine background, with thug enforcers ever at the ready for their master’s bidding.

jwolf on November 18, 2009 at 3:51 PM

It’s also a prediction vis-a-vis inflation.

MarkTheGreat on November 18, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Hmmm. I guess Bleeds Blue didn’t want to take up my challenge that he point out the specific constitutional provisions that the Gitmo internments violated.

Typical Lefty. Talks a big game, then disappears when he has to put up.

Cicero43 on November 18, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Because inside every terrorist, there’s an American Liberal trying to get out.

BobMbx on November 18, 2009 at 4:03 PM

And vice versa as well.

MarkTheGreat on November 18, 2009 at 4:23 PM

It’s a housing facility, and designed with terrorist detainees in mind

He wants everyone out on the streets, living in community. So, foreclosures in the US are up, Gitmo is going to get foreclosed, and KSM is coming here.

Community.

ted c on November 18, 2009 at 4:27 PM

By 2012 even cbs,nbc,abc,cnn,msnbc will have turned on barry.
Not because they want too, but out of finical necessity.
Daily, viewers are deserting them by droves.
How can you sell air time to advertisers when your share of the time market is measured in single digits? You cann’t.

BruceB on November 18, 2009 at 4:30 PM

It speaks to the unpreparedness of the President that he didn’t understand that issue despite demagoguing on it for two years on the campaign trail.

Yup, that rhetorical bludgeon he used to beat Bush with is now starting to beat him senseless right back. I totally knew when this guy made those wild ass claims back then that they were going to come back to haunt him.

Obama’s demagoguery is coming home….. to rooost!

ted c on November 18, 2009 at 4:30 PM

By 2012 even cbs,nbc,abc,cnn,msnbc will have turned on barry.
Not because they want too, but out of finical necessity.
Daily, viewers are deserting them by droves.
How can you sell air time to advertisers when your share of the time market is measured in single digits? You cann’t.

BruceB on November 18, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Or, we’ll be required to pay for access to OBN, the Obama Broadcasting Network, created in Section 22 of the First Amendment Reform Act of 2011.

BobMbx on November 18, 2009 at 4:33 PM

One of the most idiotic aspects of “closing Gitmo” came into focus when I watched the Crowder video via this site, to wit: the base will continue to exist even once the lovely inmates in question are disposed of; it’s just a US military base in a rather picturesque locale that annoys Fidel!

Obama is a dangerous demagogic assclown!

ParisParamus on November 18, 2009 at 4:47 PM

You are correct that building a facility for the specific purpose of circumventing the Constitution, U.S. law and international law was a dumb move by Bush,

Bleeds Blue on November 18, 2009 at 3:24 PM

If it’s unconstitutional… why has Obama left the detainees there for 302 days?

mankai on November 18, 2009 at 3:42 PM

It’s the actions that were constitutionally questionable. I am not aware that simply interning the prisoners there was a violation.

Bleeds Blue on November 18, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Your statements seem inconsistent. First you seem to imply that the very existence of Gitmo facility is based on circumventing the Constitution, but then you seem ok with detaining people there indefinitely. Am I missing something other than an administration change?

BlueCollarAstronaut on November 18, 2009 at 5:02 PM

The fact that liberals aren’t rioting in the streets and holding mass mock waterboarding sessions in front of the White House tells us all something about how principled the left is.

RightWinged on November 18, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Mr. Obama said in a separate interview with Fox News. “I’m not going to set an exact date because a lot of this is also going to depend on cooperation from Congress.”

Sure, Barry O, blame it on Congress, where your party has commanding majorities.

Unlike Daleyville, aka Chicago, people in the real world don’t like terrorists in their backyard, and even Democrat Congresscritters know that.

Send ‘em to Antarctica, there’s no Congress down there to object. But pity those poor wittle penguins.

That magic wand called a lefty Presidential pen has lost a little magic. Now, who forgot to put the rabbit under the hat?

Steve Z on November 18, 2009 at 5:15 PM

Geez President Obama. You are so close to having ole hawkster to a point where he’d have to say “Good job Mr. President.” All you have to do is admit it’s a suitable facility, the prisoners are being treated very humanly and leave the freaking place in operation with these animals. You’d get the thumbs up from us right here on Hot Air.

(You know you’re close to doing it. Go with that gut feeling.)

hawkdriver on November 18, 2009 at 7:08 PM

I’m an idiot but I’m not a total idiot. When I took office, I didn’t know how bad those guys were because Booosh didn’t tell me. Alternate version: it’s that broken TOTUS forgetting what was said before – I knew we should have junked it.

platypus on November 18, 2009 at 7:30 PM

BOOOOOSSSHHHH Took ova Obama’s MIIINDDDDD! Weather Machine!

upinak on November 18, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Thank you for this. I desperately needed it. “Weather Machine!” sold it.

VekTor on November 18, 2009 at 8:30 PM

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