Sigh…more revisionist history about closing Gitmo…
More than two years after President Barack Obama blew his self-imposed deadline to shut down the extrajudicial prison at Guantanamo Bay, close observers and defense lawyers with clients making their way through the reformed military tribunal system say the public isn’t paying attention.
“I think what you’ll find is the interest in the process will never get back up again,” Bryan Broyles, the Pentagon’s deputy chief defense counsel at Guantanamo, told TPM. “It’s fatigue and the thought that ‘Well, it must be okay now because Obama said it’s okay.’”
“This is the only court in the United States where you can plead guilty and still be given the death penalty, and it’s just another sign that the system is not set up to give anyone a trial it’s set up to give someone what appears to be a fair trial with a predetermined result,” Broyles said.*
“It’s pretty clear to me that the public has lost interest in these issues,” Richard Kammen, a death penalty expert representing accused USS Cole attack plotter Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, told TPM. “There’s certainly a lot more interest in Trayvon Martin, for example, than there is in any of the military commissions, with the exception being the arraignment for the 9/11 people. But the day-to-day stuff, which is really quite important, has drifted off peoples’ consciences.”
Look, Obama campaigned on closing Gitmo next to all the Senators and Representatives with the D next to their name, got elected, signed an executive order to close it. He more than tried to close Gitmo. But Democrats ran when it was time to approve funding:
Under pressure from Republicans and concerned about the politics of relocating terrorism suspects to U.S. soil, Senate Democrats rejected President Obama’s request for funding to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and vowed to withhold federal dollars until the president decides the fate of the facility’s 240 detainees.
As recently as last week, Senate Democrats had hoped to preserve a portion of Obama’s Guantanamo funding request. But their resolve crumbled in the face of a concerted Republican campaign warning of dire consequences if some detainees ended up in prisons or other facilities in the United States, a possibility that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has acknowledged.
He didn’t blow any deadline. His team, his party, blew him off. If they fund that order, these guys are in Super Max under U.S. jurisdiction and U.S. due process.
Tried to try KSM in NY. Bloomberg and Schumer said no. The 60 vote majority never materialized around these issues. It’s that simple.
It isn’t because “Obama said it” that people ignore it. It’s because the majority of Americans wanted it this way and their Democratic Party representation in Washington agreed. Obama didn’t and his party said: f*ck you. Remember that when they complain about Obama pushing health care. Or Obama circumventing them with Libya. Republicans obstruct because they want to see Democratic executives fail. Democrats obstruct when they are spooked by what Republicans might say about them.