Political Mythbusters – Guantanamo Bay

I was at an editing conference early this week and had a chat with a friend. When I brought up politics with him and decried the unfair treatment President Obama has gotten from many on the left, the right and the our dysfunctional media, he started spouting the usual “he caved to the Republicans” and “he could have issued executive orders” and of course, “what about Guantanamo Bay, he didn’t close it like he said.” I asked him if he knew that we also had a congress and that they appropriate money — you know, reality. His response was something like, “those are just excuses.” It was at this point that the session we were in began, I think it was best for him that I had to shut up, I was about to get extreme on him.

It reminded me that a lot of people who either don’t pay a lot of attention to politics or are just blatant liars, continue to pin the blame for Gitmo still being open on President Obama. It’s time for a little “reality reminder.” On President Obama’s SECOND DAY in office, this was MSNBC’s headline on their website…

Obama orders CIA prisons, Guantanamo shut

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday moved quickly to undo a contentious Bush administration national security program, ordering the CIA to close down secret overseas prisons and the Pentagon to close down the Guantanamo prison within a year. The president also banned the harshest interrogation methods. […]

With three executive orders and a presidential directive signed in the Oval Office Thursday, Obama started reshaping how the United States prosecutes and questions al-Qaeda, Taliban or other foreign fighters who pose a threat to Americans.

The centerpiece order would close the much-maligned U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — a complicated process with many unanswered questions that was nonetheless a key campaign promise of Obama’s. The administration already has suspended trials for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo for 120 days pending a review of the military tribunals.

Nothing subtle about that, right? Wham, his second day in office and he orders the Pentagon to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.  For all those people, including my friend, there is your damn executive order. As you will see, the president’s powers are limited and the role of the Congress to appropriate money rules supreme.

In May of that year, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to closing Guantanamo Bay as reported on Fox News website…

WASHINGTON — In a scathing attack on the Bush administration, President Obama stood steadfast Thursday in his pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer some terror suspects to federal “supermax” prisons in the United States.

Accusing the Bush administration of creating “a misguided experiment” that created more threats to America, Obama told an audience at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., that the Guantanamo facility will be shuttered by his deadline of January 2010. He also tried to assure that no prisoners who pose a danger to the U.S. will be set free.

The problem was — the day before…

On Wednesday, the Senate rebuked Obama’s request for funding to close the Guantanamo prison, withholding on a 90-6 vote $80 million that would go to shutting down the facility until the president presents a plan for what to do with the remaining detainees. That followed a similar move last week in the House, underscoring widespread apprehension among Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress over the issue.

Both Democrats and Republicans have faced an uproar in their districts over the possibility that terror suspects would be housed in local prisons, making it more difficult for administration officials to convince European and Muslim allies to take some of the detainees.

The President kept on pushing though, didn’t give up. But as he is trying to get rid of just one more fucking mess left behind by the previous village idiot president, he also had headlines like this — one month after taking office.

Abuse of Guantanamo prisoners has got much WORSE since Obama took office, claims lawyer

The article was based on a report from a lawyer for some of the detainees, who said that he surmised that the guards were getting in their last licks before President Obama ruins all their fun and closes the prison. But how does that headline read to you?

The Bush administration created this barbaric and sick situation where prison guards were given free reign to torture. Hell, they probably got pep talks from Dick and Liz Cheney as they were doing it. I remember it well, patriotism and nationalistic pride overtook the bullies of our society and they started feeling like they could do whatever the hell they wanted…and they could. Eight fucking years of that shit went on and a sick culture was created and nurtured. So, President Obama came into office with a landslide victory, soaring popularity and on his second day in office, told the country and the world that America doesn’t torture and vowed to close down Guantanamo Bay, the largest symbol of that sick period of time in our history.

Throughout the next year, he gave many speeches and pushed hard during that year of “death panels” and “public options” and all the other bullshit President Obama was fighting against, including the conservadems and Joe Lieberman and an increasingly racist reaction from people at Tea Party rallies. Remember the signs, guns and angry white people in their Scooter Chairs adorned with American flags. It was quite a time in our history, yet the President kept pushing to close Gitmo, while taking potshots from disgruntled Hillary, Kucinich and Edwards supporters…all bitter because that young upstart from Illinois beat their divinely chosen candidates. They are the very people that should have been helping him push to close Guantanamo, but instead, they were attacking the President because he hadn’t waved his magic wand over the world and fixed all the problems yet. Oh, this is after preventing the Second Great Fucking Depression.

The Democratic controlled congress stopped the President from closing Gitmo, it’s reality. Because the President is a team player and hasn’t pointed the finger at his supposed allies, the Democrats in congress, it shows that he is loyal. The problem is, it only helps those who wish to bring him down by giving them just one more political myth to perpetuate. It has to stop!


4 thoughts on “Political Mythbusters – Guantanamo Bay

  1. Some liberals/progressives have real misconceptions about PBO. Some appear to think that he is some sort of hero/savior/man on horseback who will do everything immediately. Then, when he doesn’t do everything now, he is a ‘corporatist/ sellout’.
    This is reality. The world cannot be saved immediately by the superhero. It took a long time and a lot of ‘effort’ to get in the current fix. It will not be easy getting out of it. Life is contingent.

  2. It’s very childlike when you think about it, a mixture of ignorance about how our political process works AND projecting hopes and dreams unfairly onto PBO. I listened to him during the campaign when he repeated over and over that he needs our help and he can’t do it alone. So in the second instance, it’s partially ignorance too, because they weren’t paying attention to his actual words, but rather the aura that the media projected of him and of course his soaring speeches didn’t help in that regard. But really, anyone who is realistic and understands how things get done in Washington have a much different opinion about PBO than those who don’t.

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