When President Obama, awash in the glory of his election victory and inauguration, arbitrarily announced Guantanamo closure a year distant it probably seemed a no-brainer. It appeared to Obama and his staff, as soldiers say, “too easy.”
Many of his base, in fact, decried the self-imposed deadline as far too long to remove what they see as a blot on America’s image abroad and an affront to justice.
Now, in mid-September, the apparently easy task of Gitmo closure has transmogrified into a sword over his head.
Panels begun in early spring to sort out the individual detainee cases and methodology for processing them have begged for deadline extensions. Already it is too late to transform an existing site into something suitable for the detainee population.
White House announced short-listed locations in the US have generated community push-back at a bipartisan level completely unanticipated by a tone-deaf administration.
Ft Leavenworth, KS has been taken off the table, and outrage from the alternative site, Standish Max, a prison in Standish, MI, is mounting.
Insiders are already saying that while Guantanamo will eventually close, “it won’t be by January.”
How is the President – already assailed by massive public dissatisfaction with policies of taxation and health care likely to react to this latest setback?