President-Elect Obama is allegedly going to issue an executive order to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay as his first official act as President.
But it won’t really close. In fact, it won’t close in the first hundred days of his Presidency or even in the first year. According to the report, all the order will really to is “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”. Oddly enough, that’s exactly what George Bush has been doing for the past four years, at least. So, Barack Obama’s showy Executive Order will do no more and no less than what the previous President has spent the past four years doing. It does have the benefit of getting fawning coverage from the MSM, which George Bush could not have gotten had he given every detainee a gold-plated Koran and driven them home himself.
ABC archly notes that the bulk of the detainees “have not been charged with a crime” as if that were some sort of revelation. It’s not. They haven’t been charged with a crime because they haven’t committed a crime. They are being held because they committed or were in the process of committing a hostile act against the United States as illegal combatants during war time. This is something that the President has said dozens of times, not that the objective reporters at ABC News were paying any attention.
Back on subject, though. The problems that Obama is facing are not new ones, except perhaps to him and the MSM, who suddenly realize that dealing with illegal combatants in a global war without defined battlefields and involving only one nation-state (that would be us) is not exactly Basket Weaving 101. It would be easy if we could simply send the detainees back to their countries of origin, except those countries won’t take them back. The Obama people believe that smearing a little hopeiness around will solve things.
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.
Yeah, guys, Keep on hoping. In the meanwhile, keep working on solutions that will apply to the real world where the rest of us live. There’s a reason all those countries don’t want the detainees back and it has nothing todo with the essential meanness of George W. Bush. It has to do with the detainees being a bunch of sheep-molesting, decapitation-prone, Islamists who will go back home and stir up the same ruckus there that they did before they got nabbed with their fingers in the explosive jar.
The other problem, as you may have figured out already, is that while all this hopeiness is going on, we’ll have to put the prisoners somewhere. Detaining them on US soil is a brainless decision, but it may be the only option left to the President, whose rhetoric has gotten well ahead of his intelligence. For those who believe that Islamism is just another crime, it’s no big deal to stick them in a prison in Kansas. Smarter people, though, know that the issue is far from settled nor simple. If the answer were easy, George Bush would have settled it long ago. It’s nice to see, though, that our new President can recognize reality when he runs headlong into it.
In the end nothing is really going to change much at all simply because it cannot. Guantanamo Bay will close exactly one second after the last detainees is gone, no matter how long that takes.
Which is exactly what George Bush has been saying all along. It’s amusing just how similar the policies of George Bush and Barack Obama look once you see them side by side.