One day after the Senate overwhelmingly voted against providing funds to close down Guantanamo Bay, President Obama gave an address reaffirming his intention to bring some Gitmo detainees to the US. Nearly simultaneously, the increasingly vocal former Veep Dick Cheney spoke at the American Enterprise Institute and blasted the phony moralizing and feigned outrageof partisan critics of Bush-era interrogation tactics, and stressed again that the CIA operated within its boundaries and with the knowledge of Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Obama’s speech was hastily scheduled as a way of pre-empting Cheney’s scheduled speechin an effort to try to push the Guantanamo debate in a direction favorable to the administration. From what I can tell, there still isn’t an assuring plan in place of dealing with the detainees. It would have behooved the President, before announcing he was closing Gitmo, to have a fleshed-out and cohesive plan in place to assuage the nerves of those in Congress and many voters about what would eventually happen with these detainees. Instead, in a rush to action, the administration looked before it leaped, and is now paying the consequence for it.
I read something today pooh-poohing bringing the Gitmo prisoners to the US – it’s not like they’re super-villains that will immediately break out with their monster powers, right? Of course that’s true, but that really isn’t the way the debate has been framed for the past few years. What I hear is that these are innocent people at Gitmo were abducted from battlefields just so prison guards could abuse them in Cuba and flush their Korans down the toilet. Honestly, the fact that there is a belief we need to keep them locked up is progress to me.
Update: A quick and unrelated aside – it’s a fair bit of work to find images of VP Cheney that aren’t grossly unflattering or photoshopped to hell. Google Images serves up a few pages of the stuff that, while entertaining to some, are hardly useful to anyone in a serious capacity. I don’t know if I’d call it “image bias”, and I’m not sure how Google does its image search algorithm, but it is interesting to note.