Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On closing Gitmo

The eager lads and lasses of the Obama administration are discovering that life is more complicated than is taught at Harvard Law. The NYT this morning has a story about the difficulties of closing Gitmo, and casting some doubt as to whether the president can make good on his pledge to close the dentention center by January 1. There is some amusing stuff in the piece, apart from the administration’s usual trope that it’s all the previous administration’s fault. (As in: we’ll have a $1.8 trillion deficit this year because ‘we inherited a huge deficit.’ Similarly, we’ll have troubles closing Gitmo because we inherited—well, Gitmo, I guess.) I liked this especially:

‘But [administration officials] said they were convinced there were some detainees who must be detained without charges because of their backgrounds, like extensive time in a militant training camp or a long association with a terrorist group.

‘“When you see someone,” the administration official said, “who had been at a camp longer, who had more of an involvement, who was part of a more sophisticated, committed cadre, then it’s much harder to agree that these people should be resettled and released in a third country.”’
Do tell!

And Bad Men among the prisoners are not the least of the problems:
‘Some administration officials complained that when [the current Congress] cut financing for closing the Guantánamo prison, they imposed new reporting requirements about the movement of detainees that would further slow the already cumbersome process of relocating detainees.

‘Under the new rules, the administration must report to Congress its progress in closing the detention center by late August and every three months thereafter, providing information on the evidence and intelligence about each detainee as well as details on those who have been released overseas.’
Welcome to the fun house, Shawn and Buffy. But here’s an idea: you were able to finesse a lot of problems by giving them new names, like ‘Overseas Contingency Operation’ instead of ‘Global War on Terror’. Why not re-brand Gitmo as the Havana Hilton? Blue skies! – Dan Ford

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