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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:13 PM

"If Gitmo is anyone’s legacy, it is the legacy of George W. Bush and of the US Senate"

Obama’s Failure To Close Gitmo Does Not Make Him The Worst Democratic President


(snip)

Many years ago, when I first learned of the Japanese internment camps, which were the result of an executive order by the progressive icon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I became deeply conflicted. How can someone who I’ve come to revere make such an unjust decision? How would I have reacted had I been alive during WWII?

.....

Need I remind you that George W. Bush bogged us down in two of the longest wars in American history? He indefinitely detained people with no hope of trials. His administration advocated and used torture. During his administration, our tax money was stolen and handed over to cronies. He left us with the worst economy since the Great Depression and the complete lack of respect from the rest of the world. Obviously, I could go on.

....

(see the timeline of what has happened with trying to close Gitmo at the link)

....

Guantanamo Bay will go down in history as a sad chapter in a history of American civil rights abuses. If I could manufacture my perfect President, he would have held his breath till he was blue in the face and have taken Congress hostage while demanding that they fund the closure of Gitmo.

Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. President Obama chose not to commit political suicide over an issue he might not have (in fact, arguably wouldn’t have) won. Personally, I believe him when he says the intention is still there. Perhaps our political pressure is misdirected when focused solely on the President. The Senate is the direct reason Gitmo isn’t closed. If Gitmo is anyone’s legacy, it is the legacy of George W. Bush and of the US Senate.


More at link: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/10/obamas-failure-to-close-gitmo-does-not-make-him-the-worst-democratic-president/

______________

The fact of the matter is Obama signed an executive order to close Gitmo within a year on January 22, 2009. Congress voted 90-6 against providing funds in order to close it. Many Americans wanted and still want Gitmo closed but don't want the Prisoners in their "backyards". The matter is where to move them, and in order to move them, Congress needs to provide the funding in order to do so. While this is a campaign promise broken, Obama didn't break it. Congress did. He still reiterates wanting to close it. The executive order is there, but no funding to do it.

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Reply "If Gitmo is anyone’s legacy, it is the legacy of George W. Bush and of the US Senate" (Original post)
SunsetDreams Jan 2012 OP
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 #1
SunsetDreams Jan 2012 #2
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 #4
hughee99 Jan 2012 #5
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 #6
hughee99 Jan 2012 #10
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 #16
hughee99 Jan 2012 #19
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 #20
hughee99 Jan 2012 #23
gratuitous Jan 2012 #3
SunsetDreams Jan 2012 #7
gratuitous Jan 2012 #8
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #11
gratuitous Jan 2012 #21
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #9
Liberal_Stalwart71 Jan 2012 #12
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #13
SunsetDreams Jan 2012 #15
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #24
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #18
loyalsister Jan 2012 #22
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #26
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #25
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #27
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #28
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #29
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #30
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #31
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #36
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #37
JackRiddler Jan 2012 #14
Hell Hath No Fury Jan 2012 #32
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #34
Enrique Jan 2012 #17
JackRiddler Jan 2012 #33
BlueCaliDem Jan 2012 #35

Response to SunsetDreams (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:16 PM

1. If they're classified as military prisoners

and Obama is CinC why can't Obama order them transfered to any US federal military facility?

Honest question.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:18 PM

2. He has to have funds to do it

Congress will not provide the funds

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Response to SunsetDreams (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:24 PM

4. That is the usual answer but everything the military uses is paid for in advance.

Every soldier, vehicle, building, meal etc is paid-for up front. How hard is it to order a unit to transit to a place, guard some people and then transit those prisoners to another place that has already been built? Case in point -- I've read Obama recently ordered a second carrier to the Persian Gulf as a test of Iran's threat to close the Straits of Hormuz. That takes a lot of resources but congress didn't give their OK, nor did they have to. The carrier, it's fuel, sailors etc are already paid for so Obama can perform his duties as CinC.

So why is this case different?

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:27 PM

5. IMHO, he doesn't know what to do with them.

He doesn't want to bring them to a place accessible to protesters (even if it's just standing outside the facility) and certainly not when many of them haven't even been charged with a crime, and he doesn't want to let them go free. I think the fact that Congress wouldn't allocate the funds is just handy political cover for the fact that he's in a no-win situation with congress. If I remember right, when he took office he signed the closing of Gitmo in the first week and couldn't get this done even with a Democratic congress because they didn't want to look "soft on terrorism" (by letting them go) or "trampling the Constitution" (to keep them locked up without being charged).

"Out of sight, out of mind" seems to be the plan they're going with, but it's not working very well.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:36 PM

6. I find it incredible to believe mere political optics are the issue

That's not a slap against you, not in any shape or manner; but I find it hard to believe the president went through his entire adult life, political career and presidential campaign only to land in the Oval office and say to himself, "Wow -- some people might not like what I have to do. I guess I'll have to back-burner this."

Perhaps he's stalling until his 2nd term when he'll be ineligible for re-election but as a voter I have no gauge for a proposed 2nd term except to judge the actions or inactions of the 1st.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:45 PM

10. I think it's more of an issue of

getting his own party to do something that may piss off their constituents, and then losing seats in congress because of it, which would further damage all of his other initiatives. Perhaps this may be something you see in the second half of his second term, but they're not going to do this going into an election unless general public opinion moves dramatically.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:56 PM

16. But as I noted elsewhere

All military assets are paid for in advance. Funding isn't an issue as Obama can ordered military assets just about anywhere to do just about anything. And as another poster pointed-out: he could just order them released. Heck, even the bluff of a release could serve as a sufficient horse whip if he truly believed there was a moral imperative, lesser-of-two-evils equation at play

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:07 PM

19. I agree, I believe he COULD probably get them relocated to domestic facilities

if he was determined to do so, or just order them released (hell, he could pardon them all if he really wanted to). I just think he doesn't want to deal with the political fallout of either, and is okay (at least for now) to leave it at "I tried but congress won't let me".

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:27 PM

20. If you were a prosecuting attorney

for a high-profile case where the governor was asking him to make him proud but you came to realize the police -- even with good intentions -- nabbed the wrong guy or mistreated him to extract a confession how much would politics play in your subsequent decisions on how to handle the case?

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:52 PM

23. None, but maybe that's why I'm not in politics.

Those who rise to the highest levels of politics in America almost always take the political implications into account, or they will be often cut down early in their political career by those that do.

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Response to SunsetDreams (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:19 PM

3. Well, if the choice is between following the Constitution and a political win

It's not terribly reassuring to see the choice that's been made.

And yes, this is a fight worth having, even if it translates into a political loss. But I know that I'm funny that way about a quaint old document and that silly oath thing that elected officials swear upon taking office. I have this peculiar notion that without the Constitution and elected officials to preserve, protect and defend it, the United States doesn't exist. Damn the demagogues and follow the Constitution, even if it loses you every vote but one, because I will always stand up for an elected official who stands up for the Constitution. It's not as pretty as the flag or as sexy as the troops, but I care more about the Constitution than I do anything else in government.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:37 PM

7. Call Congress, they won't provide the funding nt

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Response to SunsetDreams (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:41 PM

8. Doesn't cost a dime to release every last one of them

And we don't have any reason to continue holding any of them that would withstand a court challenge. What we're doing is wrong, and funding doesn't have a thing to do with it.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:48 PM

11. These people have been so horribly tortured

and there's no reason for them not to be wholly pissed at the U.S. (imo, this was exactly what the Neo-cons were going for in order to create perpetual war by creating terrorists for the U.S. to fight. War=profits) and go on their own.

Release them where? What country has the resources to take them in, offer them psychological help, and release them in their country? Most couldn't go back to their own country without suffering persecution and guaranteed death.

No, we don't have any good or fair reason to hold any of them, but to send them back to their country, well, you might as well kill them now. And funding to close Gitmo is only part of it, but the bill denying president Obama the funds also forbade him to bring ANY detainees within the U.S. borders. Dems sided with Repubs, and the majority of American people were on their side, not President Obama's.

All polls showed that then. Here's one, one year after Congress said no:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-6084882-503544.html

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:29 PM

21. Tell any country that will take them . . .

Unconditional release, give them $100,000 cash, and any country that will take them gets an additional $10 million from the U.S. Treasury, taken from funds already allocated to the defense budget. I suppose a written apology, personally signed by the President, might be a bit too much to ask, but I'd be willing to bargain that away in exchange for the rest of it.

The majority is wrong in this case, and as I said, I'm standing with the Constitution on this one. Without the Constitution, we might as well quit pretending we're the United States.

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Response to SunsetDreams (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:42 PM

9. I agree with you. K&R

But, of course, it's so much easier to blame President Obama for Congress' mistakes.

I was appalled, shocked, flabbergasted when the Senate in Congress voted 90-6 to deny him the funds, but it went further than that. Part of the veto-proof bill also prohibited President Obama from bringing Gitmo detainees within U.S. borders and no other country wanted to take them in.

They would've easily overridden his veto.

Oh, and by the way? Even IF they had supported their own wailing that Gitmo should be closed and allowed for funding, the bill explicitly states that Congress FORBIDS the president from bringing detainees within U.S. borders.

WASHINGTON — In a rare, bipartisan defeat for President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/20/senate-votes-to-block-fun_n_205797.html


Let's not lose sight of that fact.

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Response to SunsetDreams (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:51 PM

12. Bill Maher exclaimed that "Obama Lied" about Gitmo. I sent him a message on his

Facebook page, tweeted and emailed him. I explained to Maher that Obama has executed the Executive Order and that the SENATE blocked the funds to back the order.

The only liberal pundit that I've witnessed tell the truth about his story is Rachel Maddow.

Other than that, many who represent the so-called Professional Left who claims that Obama *himself* has demonized them can't even get this story straight. So quick to blame Obama without knowing the facts.

There is a long list of issues for which Obama deserves blame and criticism.

This isn't one of them.

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Response to SunsetDreams (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:51 PM

13. No, Obama broke his promise. No-one else.

He did not promise "to close Gitmo, if the senate vote to fund it".

He promised "to close Gitmo".

He has not done so.

Therefore he has broken his promise.

By all means argue that it was an impossible promise to keep. But Obama was no political rookie; he was a senator himself. He chose to make that promise, knowing he might encounter opposition from the senate, and he has broken it.

We should not attempt to obfuscate that fact.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:55 PM

15. Nice try but it is Congress

You can keep blaming Obama, but the fault lies with Congress. I guess it's easier to do so, if you don't look at the effort on both sides.

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Response to SunsetDreams (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:44 PM

24. I said "Obama broke his promise", not "I blame Obama for not closing Gitmo".


I am quite prepared to believe that Obama made some effort to close Gitmo, and was thwarted by Congress.

My criticism of him is not that he has not made sufficient efforts to close Gitmo (I don't know whether he has or not), but that he made a promise and did not keep it, and therefor we should not trust other promises he makes in future.

It's dishonesty, not failure where success was possible, that I am accusing him of.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:06 PM

18. He chose to make that promise because ALL DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS

were out and about telling everyone how bad Bush and Cheney were (and they were right, of course), and they all wanted to close Gitmo, too. Remember that?

So, that's where he based his decision on. He believed, like everyone else, that the Democrats in Congress meant what they told us and they would have his back especially when he saw the majorities the Dems won in Congress after the election.

They lied. He didn't. The fact that they joined the dark side and voted not only to deny him the $80m, but to forbid him to bring any detainees to American facilities within our borders, says all anyone needs to know. And the fact the Obama signed the order in January 2009, fresh from inauguration, tells everything anyone needs to know about his intent to shut down Gitmo.

By all means, keep blaming President Obama and don't hold Congress to account for this failure.

Oh, and btw, poll after poll showed the majority of American people have been and are *against* closing Gitmo. One as late as 2010, over a year after he signed the executive order to close Gitmo, 55% want to keep Gitmo open.http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-6084882-503544.html

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:38 PM

22. A few years ago, the MO Gov

threatened to move inmates to a prison in the district in order to strong arm that legislator to vote for a bill he supported.

No one wants the Gitmo inmates in their backyard and Pre. Obama has no leverage to get them to accept it without repercussions.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 01:04 AM

26. Exactly. I recall Chuck Schumer on teevee complaining he didn't want

any terrorists in New York prisons, either.

President Obama didn't get any support from the majority of the American people and his own party when they added language in the bill that forbid him to bring detainees to any American facilities.

How quickly some forget.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:49 PM

25. It's hard to keep doing something I haven't been doing...


I very carefully steered clear of the question of whose fault it was Gitmo was still open - I don't know enough about the internal workings of American politics to comment on that informedly.

I did not say anything at all about Congress.

I focused on a single, very specific point: Obama made a promise and then did not keep it.

It may be that he was unable to keep it (this seems not improbable); it may be that he was right not to keep it because that's what people want (I strongly disagree with this, but it's not an utterly absurd position). I didn't, and don't, have anything to say about why he didn't keep it.

What I said, and stand by, is that he made a promise, and did not keep it, and that therefor we cannot trust other promises he may make - after all, he may turn out to be unable to keep them, too.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #25)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 01:07 AM

27. Well, Obama were a dictator

instead of president, or if he had declared martial law and made himself one, I can understand your reasoning.

But given he has to work with the most obstructionist congress in recent U.S. history, I really can't. Sorry.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #27)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 09:30 AM

28. Did Obama think he was going to be a dictator when he made the promise?

I've made my reasoning clear repeatedly, but here it is again:

My complaint is not "Obama did not deliver" but "Obama promised". I am annoyed not at his performance, but at his dishonesty.

There may well be perfectly valid excuses for not having delivered, and if so blaming him for that is, as you say, unreasonable. But Obama knew that that might well be the case when he promised, and therefore he shouldn't have promised - and, crucially, since he has a track record of making promises knowing that he may not be able to keep them, we should not trust his promises in future.

Now do you understand?

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:20 PM

29. Reread my comment #18*. Apparently, you've missed:

Last edited Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:58 PM - Edit history (1)

He chose to make that promise because ALL DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS were out and about telling everyone how bad Bush and Cheney were (and they were right, of course), and they all wanted to close Gitmo, too. Remember that?

So, that's where he based his decision on. He believed, like everyone else, that the Democrats in Congress meant what they told us and they would have his back especially when he saw the majorities the Dems won in Congress after the election.

They lied. He didn't.


And I didn't want to point this part out in your post, but it smacks of TeaBagger puritanism:

"What I said, and stand by, is that he made a promise, and did not keep it, and that therefor we cannot trust other promises he may make - after all, he may turn out to be unable to keep them, too."

So, because, in my opinion, that part smacks of TeaBagger puritanism, does that make all your comments TeaBagger puritanism?

Please lighten up. If you can't support Obama, then don't. But stop with the "he didn't keep his promise and he totally disillusioned me and he should totally disillusion ya'll too!". It comes across fake and hollow.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #29)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:26 PM

30. Where did you get the idea I don't support Obama?

I don't *trust* him completely, and I have proof positive that I am right not to do so.

But I think that he's done a reasonable job as president, (not great, but good enough to put him in a three-way tie for "best president for 40 years"), and strongly support his reelection.

But that *doesn't* mean that I'm going to ignore his bad points.



P.S. I see post #13 as one of mine. What number did you mean?

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #30)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:16 PM

31. Your tone.

When you write,

"What I said, and stand by, is that he made a promise, and did not keep it, and that therefor we cannot trust other promises he may make - after all, he may turn out to be unable to keep them, too."


it's sowing seeds of doubt about our president's integrity and advertently or inadvertently promotes non-support for President Obama.

Look, it's okay if you, personally, don't want to believe another word he ever says based singularly on the Gitmo misunderstanding - one caused by Congress, btw - and it's okay if you can't bring yourself to trust him anymore (and I assumed here you won't support him because, logically, who would support someone they can't trust?), but to insert "we" where "I" should be, you've made it appear as if you're instigating non-support for this Democratic president.

As a self-proclaimed Obama supporter, you, of course, know the promises he had kept and you also know they outnumber those he wasn't able to. That's why your post smacks of puritanism.

Btw, I've edited my post to show #18. Sorry for the typo.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #31)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 05:52 PM

36. My tone is because I don't *like* President Obama, and haven't since before he was elected.


The reason I don't like him is that he ran a campaign centred around empty, meaningless and vacuous slogans - big posters with no words except "Hope" and "Change" on them, and speeches with more high-sounding rhetoric than specifics.

But much as I despise his style, I must grudgingly admit that on substance he's done a perfectly reasonable job - there has not been a president significantly better than him for forty years.

And I'd far rather have a president who runs a (very effective) campaign based on sleight of hand, and then does a decent job of governing, than one who goes about setting out a clear and specific case for bad policies.

Even if he does get right up my nose.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #36)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 06:27 PM

37. I can understand this

"Even if he does get right up my nose."

Thank you for taking the time to clear that up for me. I really do appreciate it, Don.

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Response to SunsetDreams (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:54 PM

14. The legacy is Bush's, but the current responsibility is Obama's.

He had four months time to order the whole place packed up and on the next plane to a US base, to direct the military to release all prisoners known to be innocent (there are quite a few by its own admission) and allow them to travel freely, including seeking asylum in the USA, and to direct the Justice Department to take over and prosecute civil court cases against the rest of the prisoners. He is commander in chief. He can still do this with a military unit, and spend out of a discretionary budget.

Go ahead and blame the Congress - they are responsible. Doesn't exonerate Obama from his responsibility.

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:19 PM

32. Amen.

One of the true obscenities of the O presidency.

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:27 PM

34. No. The current responsibility is Congress' - Republicans AND Democrats

To review:
- President Obama came into office in January 2009, and two days after his inauguration, he signs his first executive order, calling for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay within one year.

- Less than five months later, Congress — controlled by Democrats — votes overwhelmingly to neutralize that executive order, and to keep Gitmo open, by choking off the funds needed to enact the executive order by building new facilities, seeking deportations, etc. The vote in the Senate was 90 to 6.

- In November 2009, the Obama administration tried another tack: they plan to move 100 remaining Gitmo detainees (not including KSM and other 9/11 direct suspects) to an all-but abandoned, state-of-the-art prison in Illinois. The rural town wanted the deal, and the jobs that would come with it. Again, the deal was blocked, and demogogued, by Congressional Republicans, and as of today, the “Gitmo North” plan seems to be dead on arrival.

- Then, this past December, 2010, Congress went in for the kill:

"Congress on Wednesday signaled it won’t close the prison at Guantanamo Bay or allow any of its suspected terrorist detainees to be transferred to the U.S., dealing what is likely the final blow to President Obama’s campaign pledge to shutter the facility in Cuba.
The move to block the prison’s closure was written into a massive year-end spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday evening on a vote of 212-206, part of a last-minute legislative rush by Democrats to push through their priorities before ceding the House to Republican control in January.
News of the Guantanamo provision brought a quick and sharp rebuke from the Obama administration Wednesday.
“We strongly oppose this provision,” Department of Justice spokesman Matt Miller said in a statement. “Congress should not limit the tools available to the executive branch in bringing terrorists to justice and advancing our national security interests.


http://blog.reidreport.com/2011/04/democratic-memo-why-barack-obama-cant-close-gitmo-or-try-ksm-in-new-york/


I hope that cleared that up for you and others seeking to blame President Obama for not keeping his promise to close Gitmo. Your heart is in the right place. Your opinion regarding this contentious issue is what needs reassessment.

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Response to SunsetDreams (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:57 PM

17. who cares if Obama is the worst Democratic president

the people concerned about Gitmo aren't preoccupied with Obama's reputation.

Those people that are there now, when are they going to get out? Ever? Are they all going to die there?

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Response to Enrique (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:27 PM

33. The Uighurs are a clear-cut case of crucifixion. And not the only one.

Though the 22 Uighur prisoners were determined to be "no longer enemy combatants" in 2005, five of them are still at the prison camp, seven years later, and though they are "NLECs" they are still being shackled to the floor.

What name measures up to this crime? Even murder is over in a few minutes.

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Response to Enrique (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:28 PM

35. He's not.

Read my post above yours, and get the facts.

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