October 2nd, 2009 at 03:30pm
Barack Obama’s promised closure of Guantanamo Bay by January has been getting less and less likely ever since he promised to do it, and it has now hit a brick wall which might just have concrete reinforcement.
The House went on record Thursday against allowing detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be transferred to the United States, even to face trial or to be jailed in maximum-security prisons.
The 258-163 vote on a nonbinding recommendation put Democrats controlling the House in a difficult spot and prompted senior lawmakers to postpone unveiling a House-Senate agreement on a homeland security funding bill.
If such a ban were to become law, the Obama administration would be hard-pressed to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January as Obama has promised.
Eighty-eight Democrats broke with Obama and House leaders on the nonbinding recommendation, an ominous sign for future votes. It would be difficult for lawmakers to change their positions without drawing withering criticism from political adversaries.
The administration has yet to reveal its plan for closing the prison. Supporters of the transfer ban say an overwhelming number of their constituents want to keep Guantanamo prisoners where they are.
“There is no reason these terrorists, who pose a serious and documented threat to our nation, cannot be brought to justice right where they are in Cuba,” said Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. “I certainly think that is where the American people stand on this issue — they don’t want these terrorists in their hometowns.”
So, how long will it be until Obama stands up and announces his “great plan to bring justice to the inmates of Guantanamo Bay, right where they are, saving them the psychological terror of being moved to another location…for too long, our inmates have suffered from the knowledge that they will move before being tried…where previous administrations have failed them, we will give them fairness [..]” etc etc etc?
Before January, I’ll bet.