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Obama moves to close Guantanamo within a year

US President Barack Obama puts his pen away after signing an executive order to close the

When President Obama today signed executive orders to create a task force to study how to close  Guantanamo Bay Prison within one year, he was delivering on an oft-repeated campaign pledge to make sure U.S. foreign policy conformed to U.S. values. With reporters looking on and cameras clicking, Obama said:

"This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it's easy, but also when it's hard."

As for his campaign pledge to ban torture, Obama also signed a directive to ensure that the techniques in the Army Field Manual -- which prohibit waterboarding -- will be the rule for all intelligence and law enforcement services.

But critics worry that the moves will signal to terrorists a lack of U.S. resolve. Republican Sen. Lamar Smith of Texas argues that because many countries have been unwilling to take any of the released detainees, "closing Guantanamo Bay poses significant national security concerns to the American people."

For its part, the Obama administration believes that its renewed diplomatic outreach will lead to relocations for the detainees judged too dangerous to release. And the new president, signing the four Guantanamo directives with a left-handed flourish, made it clear that he intends to pursue the fight against terrorism vigorously -- just with different weapons. He said:

"We intend to win this fight. We're going to win it on our terms."

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: President Obama after signing an executive order in the Oval Office to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Credit: Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (9)

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If I'm a Gitmo inmate I wouldn't want to be moved to a US prison. In a US prison I would be targeted by other inmates, probably wind up in solitary conefinement for my saftey. At Gitmo I enjoy food better than that of the US soldiers who guard me, I play soccer in the sunshine and have a prayer rug, with a sign that points to Mecca!
What's alife!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Torture would be if you move me to a US prison!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have it made at Gitmo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Send all the Gitmo terrorist to Vermont!
They'll live happily ever after there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since when do Americans care so much about the wellbeing of terrorist?

Maybe the ACLU president Romero will take them in at his house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lamar Smith is a U.S. Representative of Texas, not a Senator. I find it surprising the details that are so frequently missed by people who do this for a living.

The Obama Administration says we're closing GITMO! then they ask, what are we going to do with the prisoners?

wow closeing guantanamo that not good what will u do with all the terrorist? .........send them to G.W.Bushes house!!! he will love it

"If I'm a Gitmo inmate I wouldn't want to be moved to a US prison. In a US prison I would be targeted by other inmates, probably wind up in solitary conefinement for my saftey." That simply isn't true. If suspected terrorists are moved to a US prison system, special facilities would be created because the eyes of the world is on the US and the US is constantly criticized from beyond its borders and within. They would be treated to spumoni.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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