Pres. Obama To Order Guantanamo Closed

On his inauguration day, Barack Obama directed military prosecutors at Guantanamo to suspend trial proceedings so that cases could be reviewed. Today, on only his second full day in office, Pres. Obama indicated that he and his staff were readying an order to close Guantanamo:

Acting to address several promises he made during his campaign, Obama met with top generals about speeding the withdrawal from Iraq and gathered his senior economic advisers as he continued to push for a massive spending bill to create jobs.

He also signed a series of executive orders and directives intended to slow the revolving door between government service and lobbying, and ordered his administration to share information more freely with the public.

Today, he will issue another order calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year, an immediate case-by-case review of the 245 detainees remaining there, and the application of new rules governing the treatment and interrogation of prisoners, including compliance with international treaties that the Bush administration deemed inapplicable to suspects in terrorism cases.

Just hours after his inauguration Tuesday, Obama ordered the suspension of all judicial proceedings at Guantanamo Bay under the auspices of the Bush administration’s military commissions system. What is to be done with the prisoners will be part of the review, sources said. Listed options include repatriation to their home nations or a willing third country, civil trials in this country, or a special civil or military system. Prisoners are to be released or transferred on a rolling basis as soon as individual cases are reviewed and determinations made as to whether the detainees can and should be prosecuted, and where.

There’s more:

Sources familiar with the briefings said Obama also will sign two executive orders altering CIA detention and interrogation rules, limiting interrogation standards in all U.S. facilities worldwide to those outlined in the Army Field Manual, and prohibiting the agency from secretly holding terrorist detainees in third-country prisons.

The actions are dramatic evidence that Obama is ready to use his authority and political capital to turn back some of the most controversial practices of George W. Bush’s administration. They also suggest that he believes he needs to push quickly for broad changes.

Republican leaders are beside themselves — they must have thought that Barack Obama was just kidding when he said he was going to close Guantanamo.

John Cornyn huffs that the president had better not put any of those Gitmo detainees in his state (Texas).

Lamar Alexander, also from Texas, goes him one better: He’s calling for legislation that would forbid Pres. Obama from transferring any Gitmo prisoners to any detention facility anywhere in the United States.

John Boehnert apparently doesn’t believe the Republican judge appointed by Bush to oversee the entire military tribunals process at Gitmo. Or the military prosecutor who resigned his position at Guantanamo because of “grave misgivings” about the treatment of detainees there. No, John still believes that over 200 detainees at Guantanamo, having been held there for up to six years without charge or trial or (until June 2008) the 800-year-old right of habeus corpus, are treated like royalty:

“I don’t know that there is a terrorist treated better anywhere in the world than what has happened at Guantanamo,” Boehner told reporters. “We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build a facility that has more comforts than a lot of Americans get. … I believe they have been treated fairly.”

Some on the left are just as surprised that Obama is keeping his promise to close Guantanamo. For these folks, Barbara O’Brien has some words: Oh, ye of little faith….

By now you’ve heard that President Obama has issued orders to close Guantanamo Bay. He had clearly said several times during the campaign and transition that he would do so. Nevertheless, no end of lefties who have been reading between the President’s lines like soothsayers reading chicken entrails predicted he would not close Guantanamo Bay. That it may take a few months is understandable. It’s going to take some time for the new team to understand what’s really going on down there and to separate people who might really be dangerous from the innocents who got swept up in indiscriminate nets.

More at Memeorandum.

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2 Comments on “Pres. Obama To Order Guantanamo Closed”

  1. I just love that Republicans are more than happy to slam their fist across the World, claiming a moral victory, whilst simultaneously torturing anyone they feel like torturing, but then have the nerve to criticise someone who doesn’t actually agree with them.

    They’d torture Obama if it were possible.

    There is no end to their hatred, intolerance, fear mongering, and extremism.

  2. coffee Says:

    Obama is smart on so many levels for ordering the closure of Guantanamo. It has been a long time coming

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