It is reported that President-elect Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order on his first full day in office directing the closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.
But experts say it is likely to take many months, perhaps as long as a year, to empty the prison that has drawn international criticism since it received its first prisoners seven years ago this week. One transition official said the new administration expected that it would take several months to transfer some of the remaining 248 prisoners to other countries, decide how to try suspects and deal with the many other legal challenges posed by closing the camp.
People who have discussed the issues with transition officials in recent weeks said it appeared that the broad outlines of plans for the detention camp were taking shape. They said transition officials appeared committed to ordering an immediate suspension of the Bush administration’s military commissions system for trying detainees.
During an appearance on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Obama said:
"It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize and we are going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication.
"[We are trying to develop a process that] adheres to rule of law [but] doesn't result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up. I think it's going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak, to help design exactly what we need to do.
"But I don't want to be ambiguous about this. We are going to close Guantanamo and we are going to make sure that the procedures we set up are ones that abide by our Constitution."
At his final press conference on Monday, President Bush was asked whether [Gitmo] and harsh interrogation tactics have damaged America's standing in the world. He replied, "I strongly disagree with the assessment that our moral standing has been damaged," Bush said. "It may be damaged amongst some of the elite. But people still understand America stands for freedom; that America is a country that provides such great hope."
A delusional Bush vehemently defended his record over the past eight years citing "52 months of job growth" despite having his presidency bookmarked by recession, he applauded his administration's response to the Katrina tragedy (which most sane Americans view as one of his worst blunders), and of course he was adamant that his administration did the right thing in protecting our shores from terrorists, in spite of the compromise of individual freedoms through passage of the Patriot Act.
plez sez: i read that some human rights groups were getting antsy about Obama's apparent waffling on the campaign promise to close gitmo within his first 100 days. detainees have been locked up there in clear violation of constitutional law for over five years, i get the strange feeling that they haven't been keeping tabs on Obama's campaign promises, and if so, i doubt they'll be offended if it takes alittle longer than 100 days for him to close that joint down!
mixed in with the taxi drivers and dunkin donuts sprinkle machine operators currently housed at gitmo, i'm thinking that there are more than one or two hardcore terrorists! i'm glad that Obama is looking to close gitmo, but i'm also pleased that he will use due process to determine if the detainees should be set free. we need to remember that the masterminds of the attacks on 9/11 have not been "brought to justice" and "justice has not been brought to them" either!
in his final press conference, bush basically snubbed his nose at popularity polls, "in terms of the decisions that i had made to protect the homeland, i wouldn't worry about popularity." lord knows he ain't winning any popularity contest for any time in the near future.
plezWorld believes that history will show george bush (the younger) as a flawed man who let blind ambition and a good pr man catapult him to a seat of power. he rode his name, a paper thin resume, and an awesome political machine to the highest office in the land, but until his last day of office, he could never measure up to even a sliver of scrutiny. his propensity to "fake it" as opposed to applying the most rudimentary of intellectual rigor to any given situation was appalling. how this "runt of the litter" could best his father and get elected (alright, selected) president more than once shows deep flaws in our political psyche.
after january 20, we should never hear from george w. bush again. i seriously doubt that BARACK OBAMA will ever find occasion to pick up the phone to seek the counsel or advise ON ANYTHING from his predecessor.
Read the New York Times article about Obama's plans to close Guantanamo Bay.
Read the CNN.com article about Obama's first act will be to close Gitmo.
Read the CNN.com article about Bush's last