Australia will likely reject a U.S. request to accept detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for terror suspects, the acting prime minister said Friday.
Julia Gillard, who is filling in for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd while he is on vacation, said President George W. Bush's administration made the request in early December after President-elect Barack Obama announced he planned to close the prison. Obama has not made such a request, she said.
Australia had rejected a similar request to resettle "a small group of detainees" in early 2008, Gillard said.
So, President Obama will soon realize one thing and hopefully a second. First, he can never send any prisoner to a country like Saudi Arabia. Hopefully, he will also realize that criticism from countries like Britain, Canada, and Australia ought to be irrelevant. It is equally amusing and distressing to watch Barack Obama put so much weight in what the world thinks of GITMO.
The world is full of duplicitous and hypocritical critics who do nothing but criticize. Does it really matter what Australia thinks of GITMO given that they are unwilling to do anything to change the situation? Are we really obliged to appease Australia when clearly their only objective is some naked attempt to criticize our own behavior knowing full well they will do absolutely nothing to help us change things? President Obama will soon realize that the very same countries that are screaming the loudest about the poor treatment at GITMO will also be first in line to tell him they want nothing to do with those prisoners. In other words, if Barack Obama closes down GITMO he will be giving in to the geopolitical version of monday morning quarterbacks.
After he realizes this, hopefully President Obama will also realize just how foolish it would be to allow these monday morning quarterbacks to dictate our foreign policy. What President Obama will find is that moving these prisoners onto the mainland is no easy task either. No state will want them anymore than the likes of Australia wants them. If President Obama actually does close down GITMO, he will be giving in to critics with absolutely no realistic plan for any sustainable alternative. The likes of Australia have it easy. They can criticize all day long knowing the whole time that in the end they will have nothing to do with these prisoners. President Obama doesn't have such options. Hopefully, that is something he will realize soon.