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July 27, 2009

Guantanamo Bay has President Obama Scared

Just add it to the list of his failures--not that I mind on this particular point, but it doesn't hurt to rub it in what a weenie we've got in the White House:

White House officials last week tried to downplay their decision to postpone by six months a key report on what to do with Guantánamo detainees when the facility is shut down. But the delay reflects the daunting political obstacles facing President Obama as he struggles to meet his pledge to close the prison by January. Only a few weeks ago, the White House had considered a grand rollout of its Gitmo plans with a joint appearance on Capitol Hill by Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., Defense Secretary Robert Gates and CENTCOM Cmdr. David Petraeus. But the president's aides concluded that a briefing would likely backfire, diverting attention from health care and giving Republicans fresh ammunition.

"There was no good reason to put it out there and have it attract fire," says a senior administration official who asked not to be identified talking about the internal deliberations. The White House announced last week's report delay in a late-afternoon press briefing that was embargoed until 9 p.m.—late enough to keep the disclosure off the network news and the cable talk shows with the highest ratings.

Most transparent Administration ever?

On his second day in office, the President promised that the detention facility would be closed by January 22, 2010. He was reluctant, however, to close it on his own authority. He wants Congressional cover and Congress hasn't been too helpful with that. Even Democrats, particularly in the House, oppose shutting down our primary overseas detention center and moving the detainees to the U.S.

To be sure, Guantanamo Bay is a military facility. The President can close it and move the detainees as part of his commander-in-chief powers (though things might get sticky if Congress passes a law saying otherwise). President Obama won't do that. He's too afraid. He will--like always--announce a policy and then vote "present", hoping all the while that someone else will do it for him.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:43 AM

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