A couple of days ago, “U.S. Designates Israel as Country That Tends ‘To Promote, Produce, or Protect’ Terrorists; Also Calls Israel Anti-Terror Partner”
Well … keeping more than two million people in the world’s largest prison was bound to “pay off” one day.
Makes me wonder: When will the US add itself to this list? Illegal prisons like Guantanamo are a perfect excuse to turn some frustrated soul into a terrorist.
I wish the fools in government would have let Obama close this revolting institution. But as usual, they hope the mess will explode in someone else’s face.
I love your technical insights, your political insights are a different matter. If the Obama administration had wanted Guantanamo closed he had his first 2 years in office, with Democratic majority in the House and Senate, to accomplish this. Obama is not the victim here, he could have made it happen, regardless of what the LA TImes op-ed piece says.
This is really a problem that we in the US recognize as Obama is much better on the campaign trail than he is a leader. Good news for us in the US, he finally stopped his 2010 bash Bush campaign, unfortunately the 2012 “blame 2011 on the Republicans” rhetoric has begun.
Obama wanted to close Gitmo but no money was granted to move the prisoners by Congress and the Senate. What should he do in such a situation? How do you change the world if everyone opposes you for short-sighted reasons?
From my point of view, this is a bad case of FUD to rally votes by the part of the government which is outside the White House.
As for “blame the Republicans”: This is the decade of the “No Way.” All simple problems have been solved. Politicians all over the globe face problems which simply have no “good” solution. Problems like that can only be “solved” by “strong leaders” (who couldn’t care less what voters think which means the “solution” will upset a lot of people).
I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. When one party controls the White House and both houses of congress they can foist just about anything on the American people. The Obama apologists can paint it in whatever light they want, but the reality is the “buck stops” at the White House.
I would also disagree that all of the easy political decisions have been made and the only thing left are tough decisions. I’m not sure if you were implying that this is the first time there have been tough political decisions for the US (I’m pretty sure you are not). But you are correct, making tough political decision is different than making popular political decisions, that what takes real leadership and that’s what I see lacking from this administration (hence my references to the constant campaigning).
Keep up the good work!
I think my main point is that all politicians all over the globe (US, Europe, Switzerland) work more on “stop things” than “getting things done” right now. Obama isn’t the Democrats; I don’t know how big his influence is but I’m pretty sure that a lot of those people thought along the lines “if this goes wrong, we’re doomed” so they voted on the “safe” side. I mean, there is little risk to let Gitmo run as it is.
The poor people inside can’t change anything and if it triggers more terrorist attacks, the better: When the latter happens, “good” politicians can step up to the task to turn the US into another copy of Russia by enhancing security even more at the expense of common sense.
What I’d like you to understand is that systems (people and their environment) have their own rules but most of the time, outsiders only see the people – not the system. This is what makes things like Abu Ghraib and Gitmo happen: A group of people who try their very best, who sacrifice a lot for the safety of those they care for. Unfortunately, the best intentions don’t guarantee the best result. The system with its hidden rules and constraints, always wins. It doesn’t care what it’s components want. If the system needs a leader, it will get one. Same if it needs a martyr.
So with all my experience, I think it is impossible that a single person can be blamed for everything that went wrong with Gitmo. I can’t even see how Obama alone could be responsible for not being able to close it down. So unless I’m missing something important, I can’t follow your argument.
In a similar manner, the Israelis are just defending themselves but the same actions create new terrorists. It’s a classic double bind.
As long as there is no external, powerful entity which can assign penalties for such behavior, the systems have no reason to change, even if many people in the system want it. Many years ago, there was a chance to build such an entity but it was sabotaged by the very people who created it. The UN could do these things but often, even the democratic countries in the world ignore the resolutions because the UN has no real power. It can’t even collect its dues.
The suggestion that the POTUS is limited by his lack influence over his own party while that very same party controlled both houses of Congress rings completely hollow considering it was the prevailing theme of said party to blame the previous president for all the ills suffered by our great nation. Moreover, this argument seems a little ridiculous in light of the passage of earth-shaking (and possibly unconstitutional) legislation. No offense, but your analysis seems a little thin – if not contrived.
“The poor people inside can’t change anything and if it triggers more terrorist attacks, the better.” I’m not sure what to say about this. I am no fan of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, grateful as I am for the naval base and the men and women who serve there, but your comment is childish. No one hopes for additional attacks, not even your political enemies. Interestingly, your attempt to paint the sarcastically-described “good politicians” as those trying “to turn the US into another copy of Russia” ignores some interesting facts: 1) It is the current administration that continues to spend BILLIONS to enable an inward-looking spy agency to scan our bank accounts as easily as they’ve been enabled to scan our junk. Adding insult to injury to liberty, it is this administration that continues to pour BILLIONS into coffers that directly benefit the previous head of the TSA. If it didn’t make me so sick, I might laugh at the silence of the left for what would be considered treasonous scandal if only the shoes were on the other feet. 2) The US already has a higher incarceration rate than Russia! 3) One of the Ruskie’s there seems to want to stay! (http://www.rferl.org/content/Guantanamo_Prisoners_Mother_Says_Son_Fears_Returning_To_Russia/2046100.html)
“This is what makes things like Abu Ghraib and Gitmo happen: A group of people who try their very best, who sacrifice a lot for the safety of those they care for. Unfortunately, the best intentions don’t guarantee the best result.” Would you apply this same superficial reasoning to an analysis of the failed Obama economic rescue plan? PPACA?
“I can’t even see how Obama alone could be responsible for not being able to close it down.” I know I’m comparing apples to oranges here, but you say this of the same president who continues a policy of raining bombs over Lybia in clear violation of 50 U.S.C. 1541-1548 while congress renders nary a peep in opposition.
Having said all that, I completely agree that Israel does breed terrorists and terrorism.
What I’m saying is that it’s cheap to blame every failure on a single person. Your comment ignores the Core Group Theory and probably the Prime Directive of retrospection: “Everyone always do the best job they can, given what they know at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.” (or to put it another way: It’s always simple to say that someone was wrong in retrospect – but that doesn’t mean anyone involved could have done better at that time!)
Obviously most Americans are not too unhappy with the current situation. Proof: there are no wide-spread riot to overthrow the government every day. From what I see from my side of the globe, cheaper gasoline is probably more important than a couple of hundred prisoners in an illegal prison camp or annoying things like free speech. Also too many important people (those in the core groups) are happy with spending billions with surveillance instead of something useful. It’s interesting that this tendency started with Bush and that the people in the core groups did not change with the new administration. It’s interesting to see how much hatred media like FOX spread every day – which just makes everyone mad and really doesn’t achieve anything.
Obama and his crew are just a few. They influence the world but they surely can’t change it at will. If the US military attacks another country and part of the government decides to go along with it, then they probably have reasons. But you don’t mention them here. These decisions are not made on a whim. They take days or even weeks. Sometimes, thousands of facts are considered. And even if you know all the facts, that doesn’t man a “solution” presents itself. Often enough, you can just chose your poison.
All in all, your comment sounds like negative copy of an Anti-Bush comment that someone might have posted ten years ago. Unless you can give specific reasons why Obama alone should be blamed for what’s wrong, this feels more like an attempt to subconsciously influence people against the current POTUS.
Instead of trying to assign blame, I suggest to find a way to change things or to accept them as they are (love it, leave it, change it). Anything else will just make you unhappy.
Wow, you have gone completely off track and missed the main point I and I believe TJ were trying to convey…Obama could have closed Guatanamo Bay if it were a priority. The op-ed you linked off to had this quote:
“…the administration is not putting a lot of energy behind their position that I can see,” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat….
That tells me that the administration did not make it a priority, Much like most issues this administration wrestles with, the words from the POTUS don’t match the actions. I guess they don’t need to if he has an army of people making excuses for him.
My question is not “is it or has it been a priority. My question is: Why?
Even the POTUS has to chose his battles. If the internal resistance to the plan is too high and/or other things are more important, he has to chose priorities. This is more important than keeping promises because reality always trumps dreams.
My point of view is: He really tried but the resistance was too high. A prison complex was purchased, legal personnel was hired and then, the money to move the prisoners was denied. In my book, that feels like back stabbing. It looks as if everyone “supported” the plan and then, at an opportune moment, they dropped a wrench into the gears.
With all your arguments, you failed to explain why this decision (denying money to move the prisoners) was made. Did Obama have any influence on it? If not, why was his reaction wrong?