18 Dec Obama Pledges to Close Guantanamo…”In a Responsible Way”
The BBC is reporting that President-elect Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo within the next two years. The report is based on this Time Magazine article declaring him (big surprise!) their “Person of the Year.” I am not 100% sure Obama has really made this pledge, but it certainly can be read that way. In response to the question as to how voters should judge him in two years time, he answers, with respect to foreign policy:
On foreign policy, have we closed down Guantánamo in a responsible way, put a clear end to torture and restored a balance between the demands of our security and our Constitution? Have we rebuilt alliances around the world effectively? Have I drawn down U.S. troops out of Iraq, and have we strengthened our approach in Afghanistan — not just militarily but also diplomatically and in terms of development? And have we been able to reinvigorate international institutions to deal with transnational threats, like climate change, that we can’t solve on our own?
It is striking that, if this statement is indicative of his priorities, closing Gitmo is at the top of the list. Although his “responsible way” language certainly gives him some wiggle room to escape this pledge. Bush has been looking for this “responsible way” for at least 2 years, and maybe longer, so I wish the new President-elect luck.