If you’re irked by the thought of folks captured out-of-uniform on the battlefield basking in the Caribbean sun while many in the US brace for another blast of arctic air, then you may be receiving some joyous news. Maybe it’s a result of Dick Cheney complimenting President-Elect Obama for backing off his campaign pledge. Could it be the delusional belief that the entire world will leg hump America once Obama sits in the Oval Office?
No official rationale for now, but transition team sources indicate Obama will issue an executive order to shut down the military holding facility at Guantanamo Bay:
President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order his first week in office — and perhaps his first day — to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to two presidential transition team advisers.
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.Wow, it’s doubtful a poll of the American people would find this issue high on the list of first day priorities. But it’s Obama’s prerogative. And his Justice Department that will have to deal with them. Is this the beginning of Miranda rights for every enemy combatant the US captures on the battlefield? Or is Obama just counting on a sycophantic media to turn a blind eye when alternative sites for detaining captured terrorists are established abroad?
Many of the Guantanamo detainees are cleared for release, and others could be sent back to their native countries and held there. But many nations have resisted Bush administration efforts to repatriate the prisoners back home. Both Obama advisers said it’s hoped that nations that had initially resisted taking detainees will be more willing to do so after dealing with the new administration.
What foreign leader’s heart wouldn’t melt once the sun glints off Obama’s chiseled pectorals? We can also rest assured those repatriated detainees will be treated much more humanely once returned home than they’ve been at Gitmo. Muslim jailers are famous the world over for their fair, even-handed treatment of prisoners. But what if the twinkle in Obama’s eye isn’t enough and nations still resist taking the detainees? Send them to Antarctica? Send them to Kansas?
Lawmakers have moved to block transfer of the detainees to at least two potential and frequently discussed military facilities: an Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. A Marine Corps prison at Camp Pendleton in Southern California also is under consideration, a Pentagon official said.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said Monday that “it’s hard to show why terror suspects should be housed in Kansas.”
“If the holding facility at Guantanamo Bay is closed, a new facility should be built, designed specifically to handle detainees,” Brownback said in a statement.Sounds like a shovel-ready project to me. But where? Anyone get the feeling this is one pork project that’s destined to be an orphan? Not even Detroit is so bad off they’d beg for a terrorist housing facility to be build nearby.
There’s also the unfortunate fact that not everyone held at Guantanamo is innocently waiting for repatriation:
What remains the thorniest issue for Obama, the advisers said, is what to do with the rest of the prisoners — including at least 15 so-called “high value detainees” considered among the most dangerous there.
Detainees held on U.S. soil would have certain legal rights that they were not entitled to while imprisoned in Cuba. It’s also not clear if they would face trial through the current military tribunal system, or in federal civilian courts, or though a to-be-developed legal system that would mark a hybrid of the two.Just how the detainees’ cases should be disposed has always been the key point of contention. Trials in civilian courts risk exposing classified intelligence gathering methods/sources. Military tribunals are good enough for US servicemen but considered an inadequate standard of justice by many on the left. Why some people believe persons whose actions on the field of battle render them ineligible for protection under the Geneva Conventions should be granted full constitutional rights is a mystery. Was the law enforcement approach to terrorism practiced under Clinton so successful it merits a rebirth under the next Democratic administration?
The Guantanamo directive would be one of a series of executive orders Obama is planning to issue shortly after he takes office next Tuesday, according to the two advisers. Also expected is an executive order about certain interrogation methods, but details were not immediately available Monday.
So no more Guantanamo and no more water boarding. Huzzah! Now the world will love us again! I guess it’s worth sacrificing an interrogation method that leaves hardened terrorists singing like a canary in less than a minute if it means Joe Blow Bystander in Europe might like us. Of course, their representatives on the UN Security Council will continue to obstruct US interests. But we’ll be liked while they slide the knife between our shoulder blades – and that’s what’s important.
Did anyone actually believe “restoring America’s reputation abroad” meant something other than setting aside American interests and acquiescing to world opinion?