White House waffles on Guantanamo Bay closing deadline
October 11, 2009   By:    Obama's Broken Promises   3 Comments   //   464 Views
Posted by: Tabassum Zakaria

President Barack Obama is finding out what his predecessor experienced — closing Guantanamo Bay is easier said than done.

As early as May 2006, former President George W. Bush said he wanted to close the prison for terrorism suspects in Cuba that was constructed during his administration after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. GUANTANAMO/ACTIVITIES

But the Bush administration found it was not easy getting other countries to accept some of the prisoners and faced a dilemma of what to do with other prisoners who could not be released.

When Obama came into office in January, one of his first edicts was to close Guantanamo Bay by January next year. Now that the deadline is four months away, his administration is acknowledging that it will be difficult to meet that goal.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who also served under Bush, said on Sunday that it would be tough to meet the January deadline.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was peppered with questions about Guantanamo Bay closing at his media briefing today, but refused to get cornered into saying the deadline would be missed.

Question: Robert, back in June, when you were asked about whether or not the deadline to close down Gitmo could be reached, you said, “absolutely.” Over the weekend, I’m sure you heard the secretary of defense saying that it’s going to be tough. What happened?

NUCEAR-IRAN/MISSILES-USAGibbs: Well, I would believe the secretary. He always trumps me.

Question: I’m sure he does. What happened between the “absolutely” and “it’s going to be tough”?

Gibbs: I think we’re continuing to make progress. I think we’ve had more and more people transferred out of Guantanamo Bay…

Question: So is the White House resigned now, resigned to the fact now that the deadline cannot be met?

Gibbs: Well, we’re not focused on whether or not the deadline will or won’t be met on a particular day. We’re focused on ensuring that the facility is closed and doing all that has to be done between now and the 22nd of January to make the most progress that we can that’s possible.

Doesn’t sound like anyone should bet on the deadline being met…. How important is it that Obama meet his own Jan. 22 deadline for closing Guantanamo Bay? Does it matter if the deadline is not met?  How much more time is reasonable for closing the prison?

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/pool (Guantanamo detainee inside open-air yard), Reuters/Jim Young (Gibbs at Monday’s media briefing)

Print pagePDF pageEmail page
Enter title here...
Enter content here...
3 Comments to “White House waffles on Guantanamo Bay closing deadline”
  • Rajkovic
    October 12, 2009 -

    Money matters otherwise USA would not rob people on Global scale.

    1. Each contract consists of a base year and 4 option years, for a maximum of 60 months, or a maximum value of $50 million for all contracts, whichever comes first.
    All these buldings are not needed in closed Gitmo. In my opinion they were counting on war in Iran and more prisoners. There is no notion all this, from site, is for civilians from Cuba.

    2. Breach of contract in US law and it is not as you call B. Ask and she must give all my post as those before did. These guys are born to kill and rob.They have people in White House-all got contracts in Afghanistan.

    See here if they just follow law:
    One must firstly pay all money these Companies counted with than try to close it. Beside, there are other confidential for each Gitmo inmate costs 400.000 USD per year. All want money not lies of afraid Govermente.

  • Rajkovic
    October 12, 2009 -

    Juridical help is from people already employed in Army. Inmates get food for might 20 USD per day. Orange suite could make one even with hands. 1 feed many mouths. It is whole bussness. You pay to Pakistanis to catch few for 5 000 UDS per head than you earn 400 000USD. No, even Obama cannot close it. They could murder him and that is worse than anything.

  • Rajkovic
    October 12, 2009 -

    We had increased the capacity from the original 40 cells (more or less) to about 320 or so. The existing cells did however require extensive renovation and repairs before they were to be considered to house the detainees. Eventually those cells just "blended" into the rest of the camp once we completed all of the pods.