Monday, April 4, 2011

About Obama and Gitmo

For the last two years, I've constantly heard far left and far right ideologues blame President Obama for not closing the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

And now the issue comes up yet again today when the Obama administration had to reverse course on having civilian trials for those detained at Gitmo and announce the intention of military tribunals starting with Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Remember when Obama wanted this trial in New York and was supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg? Remember what happened next? He flip-flopped after local politicians and misinformed New Yorkers lost their collective shit at the thought of trusting their judicial system.

Let's get one fucking thing straight: The failure to close Gitmo cannot, CANNOT, be laid at the feet of Barack Obama. On the first day of elected office, President Obama signed an executive order to close Gitmo. His. First. Day. Anyone taking a step back and being honest will agree that the reason Gitmo remains open to this day, over two years later, is because there are cowards on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.

What happened after that order was signed? There was a collective gasp in the halls of Congress as politicians of all stripes got the vapors at the thought of having those evil, crazed jihadists in their back yard... in prisons... maximum security prisons that currently house the worst criminals incarcerated in the U.S. penal system. But apparently, alleged terrorists have magical powers which serial killers, sociopaths and rapists don't, that allow them to escape through steel, concrete and armed guards.

Then Congress passed a defense spending measure with an amendment prohibiting prosecution of Gitmo detainees in federal court. End of story.

Yet the "professional left" who are smart enough to know better always use this as a fallback whenever they're in the middle of a debate about how Obama is just like Bush. Google Glenn Greenwald or Jeremy Scahill on this issue and you'll inevitably find them saying the same. Obama ran on closing Gitmo and it's still open. In fact, Scahill just used it the other day on The Ed Show with no correction from Ed. And another listener called into Ed Schultz's radio show today spewing the same and how he was staying home on Election Day. Just now Rachel Maddow called going forward with the military tribunals "a kick in the teeth to the Democratic base." Even Senators Bernie Sanders and Russ Feingold, stalwarts of liberalism and one of them a self-defined Democrat Socialist, voted against the Gitmo move! Was their vote a kick in the teeth as well? Where was that coverage?

Look there are a myriad of things about which progressives and liberals can be legitimately upset at Obama, but this ain't one of them. I'm tired of spineless Democrats in Congress hiding behind Obama's leg when it comes to these types of matters. And I'm not going to let this one slide anymore.


Anonymous said...

So the president can sign anything he wants with fanfare and pomp and it's not his responsibility for execution? You seem to share his similar "do nothing" mentality and his normal approach to blame everyone else for his lack of success. Get real - it's another example of his failure as a leader and president.

Broadway Carl said...

What would you have him do, anonymous? Defy the law approved by Congress? Allocate funds as he sees fit to move prisoners that Congress denied? Tell me, because I'd really like to know what you think he should have done in this situation.

90 Senators voted against it.
May 21, 2009: "The Senate on Wednesday resoundingly rejected an effort to spend $80 million to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and relocate the terrorism suspects, possibly to U.S. prisons."

Give me your plan.