The Washington Post says that the president has given up on moving detainees into U.S., except for trial. Not sure where they will then be housed.
Is this a loss for Obama? It depends on whether or not you believe he ever took seriously the idea that he could bring them into the U.S. This takes a good deal of credulity.
A cell block at Guantanamo Bay.
The fact is that the Bush administration chose Guantanamo because, as SECDEF Rumsfeld has said, it “was the least worst place.” The same logic will/has impelled the Obama administration to conclude that they cannot bring these individuals here — both for political and legal reasons — and they are now finding how few of the president’s “friends” in Europe are willing to take the detainees off our hands. This, of course, is uderstandable. Europe doesn’t want them, at least not in numbers, for the same reasons that no sane or honest member of Congress wants the detainees housed in their state or district. No one in Washington, especially the Democrat leadership, ever really believed that these were innocent shepherds wrongly imprisoned — that was just cynical politics all along.
Ultimately, President Obama will have to continue the Bush policy of detention outside of the United States. We would disagree with Sec. Rumsfeld on one point here: Guantanamo is, in fact, the best possible place for this purpose. It is far from the battlefields, thoroughly secure, run by the military (Navy), and located in a country with which we already have bad relations. (As a result of those bad relations, the local civilian population is also not at risk). When you throw in the Caribbean climate and the fact that there is already a modern detention facility, with varying levels of confinment possibilities already in place, you could not ask for more — especially if you are a detainee. There are no prison gangs or overwhelmed prison guards and officials at GITMO.
As suggested above, it is difficult to believe that the Obama people did not see this all along — it is pretty obvious. They are now engaged in an effort to placate their base, and trying to avoid being caught out as the rank hypocrites they have indisputably been on this issue. Whether they will succeed here only time will tell.