Well, then, I have won the bet I made with Emily Bazelon last January:
And I'm glad Guantanamo will be kept open. It's needed and useful. But Obama is being weaselly about it:
"People, I think understandably, are fearful after a lot of years where they were told that Guantanamo was critical to keep terrorists out," Obama said. Closing the facility, he added, is "also just technically hard."
Obama came to office pledging to shut a detainee facility that had become a symbol for prisoner abuse at the hands of American officials. He signed orders to shut the military prison by January 2010, but White House officials quickly encountered resistance from members of Congress opposed to moving prisoners to U.S. soil and from other countries they had hoped would accept detainees.It's Bush's fault for making people fearful, don't you know? It's not that he's actually come to see the value of the place.
There was also a tangle of legal issues involving what to do with suspected terrorists who had been tortured in prison in a way that jeopardized the integrity of the evidence against them, or who for other reasons could not stand trial.So, presumably, this new announcement was timed to follow last week's announcement that KSM would be tried in NYC. Maybe what came first was the realization that Guantanamo would need to remain open, and then something was needed to placate those who put their hope in Obama that he would close the place. Oh, what will we do? I've got an idea! Let's put on a show! Let's try KSM in NYC!
Last week, the administration announced that it will try five Guantanamo prisoners -- including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- in federal court in New York. The fate of dozens of other detainees remains in limbo.