Written by Daily Vidette Editorial Board
Sunday, 27 September 2009 19:55
Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Sunday that the long-anticipated closing of Guantanamo Bay will take longer than planned and, more importantly, longer than President Obama originally promised.
“I think it has proven more complicated than anticipated,” Gates told CNN. “It shouldn’t be a problem to extend it and we’ll just see whether this has to happen or not.” Gates cited legal complications as the reason for the closing.
The eventual shut down for what many see as a symbol of torture and everything that is wrong with the United States is making American citizens very uneasy. These prisoners will need a place to be transferred to, of course, and no community is willing to welcome 220 suspected terrorists with open arms. Should we be worried about members of Al Qaida in our own back yard? Probably not, but in no way is this going to stop some people from doing just that.
These prisoners are obviously a “different kind of criminal,” but surely our prisons are already full people capable doing just as much damage. We would argue that there is a better reason these prisoners should not be sent to America.
Because most of these detainees have never received a fair trial, it wouldn’t be fair to lock them in prison when they were not given the opportunity to receive a sentence by a jury of their peers like the other prisoners had gotten. Unfortunately this presents even further complications. The damage could be incomprehensible if the prisoners on trial were to give dangerous information to jury members or even the press. A catch 22 indeed.
Unfortunately for Obama, this does not bode well for the current administration. Closing Guantanamo was one of Obama’s biggest campaign promises, and keeping it open for longer than he intended may prove what many have been thinking all along– that he is simply too ambitious.
Furthermore, those who already doubt his capabilities as a competent leader will undoubtedly begin to wonder what other promises he will fail to follow through on ( i.e. healthcare). Obama obviously has a lot on his perverbial plate, but he is, afterall, the President of the United States, and empty promises will get him nowhere with the American public.
On the other hand, complications arise in Obama’s job just as they do in ours, and if these legal complications threw the current administration an unavoidable wrench they never intended, perhaps maybe we should give him a break. Obama’s promises are obviously what got him elected, but it is unfair to assume everything about his administration will fall apart because the prison closed a few months after what was originally planned.
These next few years are going to be very important, but very difficult for President Obama. Democrats and Republicans alike need to give him a break before jumping to conclusions about a failed presidency.