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So, Mr. President, how's that Guantanamo closing promise coming along?

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

Today is the official one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama repeating why he signed the official closing order for the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility on his second day in office in January of 2009. (See photo above and video below.)

No prison is supposed to look hospitable; that's the point of prison. Hence, the locks and guards.

But the prison facility on the island of Cuba looked particularly bad to Democrats and looked bad internationally.

Promising to close the place -- the "mess" as the president called it -- was a very useful unifying metaphor for Obama's change-to-believe-in from eight years of you-know-who, who started up the place back before the global war on terrorism became a series of attempted man-caused disasters. 

And maybe you remember Obama's re-statement of the urgent need to close Guantanamo just happened to come at the same media time as a speech by Vice President Dick Cheney, who was one of the main architects of building it as a secure refuge to keep those terrorist types away from the homeland.

Which seemed like a real good idea to many living outside prisons in the homeland, regardless of how it was viewed in overseas countries that weren't exactly lining up to receive those lethal lads into their lands.Guantanamo

So Cheney re-explained why the Bush administration had built the place and Obama re-explained why Guantanamo was going to be but a bad memory by the end of 2009.

And here we are nearly five months after the facility's closure. Except, wait, it hasn't been closed. And won't be closed for another year at least.

And there's no new promised date for its closure because Obama folks have learned that when you promise something, words have meaning and consequences and some silly people actually expect you to keep your word. i.e. End Don't Ask-Don't Tell, go through the budget line-by-line, double the Peace Corps, allow five days of public comment before signing legislation, negotiate healthcare bills on C-SPAN, support a crewed moon mission by 2020, give an annual State of the World address to Americans on national security, end no-bid contracts above $25,000, double funding for after-school programs, reduce legislative earmarks to 1994 levels, recognize the Armenian genocide, create a public option health plan for a new National Insurance Exchange.

And some other stuff over here.

Back to Guantanamo: The controversial alternate plan was to transfer these bad guys onto the U.S. mainland and put them in another prison facility that just happened to be in the president's adopted home state of Illinois and would cost $350 million from somewhere to fix it up while abandoning the still functional though unpopular-abroad Guantanamo prison.

This week the Armed Services Committee, which is controlled by Democrats who overwhelmingly control the House of Representatives, voted to prohibit such a detention facility within the United States.

Finally, some bipartisanship. The vote to prohibit was unanimous.

Other than that, President Obama's promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by the end of 2009 is moving along swimmingly.

Not that it seems to matter to this Democratic administration, but here's what Obama explained and promised a year ago. Watch this video:

Related Items:

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images (Still applauding? Jan. 22, 2009, Obama signs Executive Order to close Guantanamo); Joe Skipper / Reuters.

Comments () | Archives (7)

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I believe Obama is on over his head. He may have truly believed he could do all he promised during his campaign. But he reminds me of a group of children who have been caught in the cookie jar. They promise they will never do it again, and they truly believe it. But, alas, they are like Obama, they are too immature and haven't got the experience to know the cosequences. Hopefully Mr. Obama will realize, before it's to late, that he will know what he doesn't know.

LOL, like a prison in Illinois is an upgrade to a Caribbean detainment center?
Besides just appeasing the Islamic terrorist groups have led to enough attempts already. George Bush's administration somehow managed to get us through several years w/just a few threats and no attacks. Obama's has had a few very close-calls in less than a year and a half. Nostradamus Biden was right about us being challenged in the early part of BHO presidency.

It's a mid-term political problem. I bet they close it next year. They really should. It's an international embarrassment.

But back to the politics of it - just look at the portion of the Recovery Act money that was supposed to go to infrastructure work. The Dems held off on the spending until this year. Why? because it's a mid-term. They know the money will feul recovery, it always does, and so they waited until the mid-term year to spend it so that job numbers would look better come November. Americans have a notoriously short-term memory span, and so spending iot too soon would have bolstered job numbers too far back from the mid-terms and people would have forgotten about it and moved on to complaining about the next thing.

Guantanamo is mirror image of this political strategy in action. They can't do anything about it in an election year. It's just too politically unpalatable. Americans are too dumb to know why closing that mistake is such a good idea. So, they close it next year, and people will forget come 2012 - IF they can expedite future legal procedings...

We shall see...

I'll take Obama over anyone from the other side of the aisle any day, but let's be real here - he's a politician first.


I can not speak with respect for this president. He has helped increase the attacks on America from our enemies around the world, because they see his weakness and lack of leadership. He never keep his word. Obama and his administration fails to speak in favor of America or inforce our laws and the constitution. Obama is the kind of American president that makes our allies pause and our enemies applaud.

You really think he is over his head? This guy needs to start packing his suitcases. He has the capabilities of a slug in the garden. Your recovery Act money will be used for the Recovery of the arrogant clowns that believe they know all with all the base they are losing and as fast as they are losing it how can you continue to finance their losing causes so dig a little into the pot and say it is for job development, THEIRS as it costs lots to get a new resume

Why don't you and the rest of the MSM have interviews and ask Gibbs the following questions:-

(1) why does Obama have a social security number which only Conn residents can get - and he never lived in Conn?
(2) why did he write a letter to Kapoilani Med Center saying he had been born there, and then the WH and Kapoilani denies its authenticity?
(3) why do the other publications mention that he was born at Queens Med Center?
(4) why not release long-form birth cert?
(5) why not allow school records (Punohoe, Occidental, Columbia and Harvard to be released, along with his SAT, LSAT scores, medical records, past passports, draft records?

Why do you and the rest of the MSM continue to allow the secrecy which surrounds the president - it is totally unprecedented and DANGEROUS.

President Obama probably read the new biography on his hero, titled "Commander in Chief: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War," in which we are reminded that Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and established military commissions for civilians during the Civil War. Perhaps Obama was also reminded by a learned member of his staff that President Franklin Roosevelt refused to extend habeas corpus to German saboteurs caught in the U.S. during World War II. Roosevelt asked the opinion of the Supreme Court who reminded him that the military was quite capable of following their own regulations on the matter, and military commissions were used. Funny thing, we are at war. And it is a Global War on Terror. We have troops in over 70 countries world wide, including some we defeated over 65 years ago. Since November 21, 1979, the date of the first casualty in the war, CPL Steven Crowley, a Marine guard at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, male Muslim extremists have been at war with us, and it is past time we wake up and small the blood and sand and continue to take the fight those who would destroy us, wherever they are. So, Gitmo is needed now more than ever. It is a model facility, and was always run within the spirit of the Geneva Conventions, with dignity and respect paid towards the detainees. Americans can be proud of the service of military personnel there.

Sincerely, Montgomery J. Granger, Major, Medical Service, USAR (Ret.) Author of "Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior."


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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.
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