Obama Guantanamo Bay Closure An “Open Question”?

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Crossposted from Antemedius

On January 22, 2009 newly inaugurated President Barack Obama to great fanfare signed an Executive Order requiring that the Guantanamo Bay prison “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order“.

That was more than three months ago.

Today the Wall Street Journal reports that:

Top House Democrats raised tensions with the White House on a key foreign policy goal, rebuffing a request for funding to begin closing the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

President Barack Obama has sought $80 million to begin the process of closing the controversial detention facility, as part of broader legislation needed to continue funding for the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unveiling the House version of war spending bill, House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D., Wisc.) didn’t include the funds, complaining that the administration has not yet developed a clear plan to wind down operations at Guantanamo and relocate the detainees, either abroad or in the U.S.

“When they have a plan, they’re welcome to come back and talk to us,” Mr. Obey said.

Mr. Obama has issued an executive order ordering the facility be shut down in one year. The administration still has some authority to shift dollars around the budget to help begin the process. But Mr. Obey suggested a “concrete plan” will be needed before lawmakers approve any direct funding to shutter the facility.

The White House had no immediate comment on Mr. Obey’s bill.

When asked in late April about President Obama’s plans to shut down the controversial “war on terror” prison, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said  “I think that question is still open“.


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    • Edger on May 6, 2009 at 03:46

    Give him more time… it’s only been 3 months.

    We plan to plan as soon as we plan to make a plan to plan.

  1. wtf?

    So… what exactly is the goal here? Close the place. But they cant just transfer people elsewhere, lock the joint down, and declare “Mission Accomplished”… can they? I mean, they have to DEAL with them, the prisoners, the limbo shit.

    and … 80 million dollars?!? I dont understand.  

  2. Lindsay Graham and J. McCain have some thoughts on the subject.

    The country must move on from debates about the past, because pressing questions about U.S. detention policy in the war on terror requires us to make difficult choices — and to make them soon.

    In January, the president announced via executive order that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay will close within a year. The announcement was easy — but it left unanswered the hardest questions about detainee policy for the future.

    How do we prosecute detainees suspected of committing war crimes now that military commissions have been suspended? How should we handle those detainees who cannot be tried, but who are too dangerous to release? Where will we house them? How should we deal with detainees who, if released, would return to the fight against us? How do we deal with the prisoners held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where some detainees captured outside Afghanistan are being held?

    There are no easy answers. As senators who have struggled with these issues for years, we believe some basic principles can help us find a common path forward.

  3. and negotiations are underway with Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

    The Obama administration says it is inching closer to a deal that would send an estimated 100 Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay to Saudi terrorist rehabilitation centers and speed the closing of the Navy prison.

    The Yemeni prisoners make up the largest nationality among the 241 detainees left at Guantanamo. But deep-seated tensions among Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United States have held up decisions on where to send them as U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to shutter Guantanamo by January.

    Last Sunday, 60 Minutes did a report on the Saudi program.  

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