By Bill Maher
President Obama might be the one leader in this country who hasn't given up on the Gitmo prison's closure, and the the blame for its continued operation falls not just on Republicans, but also on cowardly or distracted Democrats. Starting the week he took office, Obama has been working on this, to no avail. Highlights:
January 2009: During his first week in office, Obama signs an executive order calling for shutdown within the year. After being lobbied by phobic conservatives, the Senate bravely responds by voting 90-6 to block any funds for transferring the prisoners.
December 2009: Obama issues a presidential memorandum ordering the close of the center and transfer of prisoners to a facility in Illinois. The move, obviously, was again blocked.
January 2010: Obama's “Guantanamo Review Task Force” recommends transferring 126 detainees to other countries, prosecuting 36 in federal or military court, and detaining 48 indefinitely.
January 2011: In a signing statement with the defense authorization bill, Obama once again advocates for trying the prisoners in federal court and states that not doing so undermines the executive branch and “does not serve our national security.”
….and on and on. Obama has never stopped trying. Liberals, however, have given up. The world definitely notices that Gitmo is still open and still a legal and humanitarian atrocity. But we don't. The idea of closing the place has been in full retreat for years.
And cowardice has an effect. With nobody pushing for closure anymore, a 2012 poll showed that 70% of Americans approve of the continued operation of Guantanamo. Gitmo makes us less safe, but ignoring that fact makes us feel more safe. And that’s all that really matters.