[Guest post by DRJ]
Barack Obama was inaugurated President of the United States on January 20, 2009. As one of his first acts, he signed an Executive Order on January 22, 2009, ordering the closure of the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base:
“Sec. 3. Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo.
The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”
The Executive Order was the fulfillment of Obama’s long-standing, unequivocal campaign promise that he would close GTMO if elected President.
Today Obama’s Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, apparently said Obama’s decision to close GTMO was a hasty decision:
“I don’t doubt that the President–and I think he’ll say this tomorrow–that we’ve made some hasty decisions that are now going to take some time to unwind. And closing Guantanamo Bay obviously is one of those decisions,” he added.
Gibbs later clarified his statement by saying that any hasty decisions that “we’ve made” referred to decisions made by the Bush Administration, decisions he said it will take the Obama Administration time to unwind.
It didn’t sound like that’s what Gibbs meant, especially since it was made in response to press questions about Congress’ refusal to authorize funding to close GTMO. But, whether he meant it or he didn’t, in today’s world sound-bites matter almost as much as substance. The Obama Administration will have to own this one.