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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gates Closing GITMO "Harder Than Expected"

The administration is finally revealing to the public what most of us already knew. Yesterday, unnamed administration officials first revealed that GITMO will most likely still be open come January 22,2010, when it was scheduled for closure. Today, here's what Defense Secretary Robert Gates revealed.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said trying to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay has proved more complicated than anticipated.

Gates said "it's going to be tough" for the president to meet his goal of shutting the prison in January. He said there are difficulties in completing the lengthy review of detainee files and resolving other issues.

Now, there are all sorts of things here that should trouble everyone. First, President Obama pronounced that he would close GITMO within a year on his second day on the job. Now, we find out that figuring out the logistics is proving to be "more complicated than expected". What was he expecting exactly? He'd been on the job for two days. There was no time for a review or a plan to get out. So, his expectations weren't based on any sort of legitimate analyis.

Second, the president has been using its impending closure as the subject of accomplishment in nearly every foreign policy speech. So, at the same time he privately knew that closing it was proving more difficult than expected, he was still telling the world that we should view its closure as a source of pride.

Third, we're all finding this out now. How long has the administration known that things were more difficult than expected? I point this out because this stance is two days old. For the first eight months, the administration put on a very confident face. No one ever gave one hint that there would be any problems. Now we learn that there were problems all along. So, while privately the administration saw a major problem coming, publicly they were telling the world everything was going according to plan.

So, let's review. The administration foolishly made a grand proclamation without doing even a hint of analysis. Then, they found out that reality was much more difficult than the utopia they were creating in their speeches. This didn't stop them from using this proclamation as a point of accomplishment. Meanwhile, privately they knew that they'd never close GITMO on time. Yet, they waited eight months to tell the world what most already knew.

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