Anyone who thought Barack Obama’s post-Bin Laden national security swat would diminish opposition to closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay received bad news today.
Last year, the GOP succeeded in passing a defense authorization bill that blocked Obama’s ability to bring Gitmo detainees to the U.S. for trial in civilian courts, and limited his power to send them back to their home countries. Those are pretty much the only options for reducing the Gitmo population at this point.
Today by a vote of 22-38, Democrats on the House Armed Services committee failed to roll back the ban on civilian trials. Instead, the House bill will reaffirm last year’s provisions. At the same time, five GOP Senators and Joe Lieberman introduced a bill to ensure that Guantanamo Bay will stay open.
The only surprise here is that the House Dems would even bother bringing the issue up. Senate Dems have completely given up on closing Guantanamo, or even reducing the population there much at this point. And of course the White House itself has signaled surrender by proceeding with a military tribunal trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad at Gitmo. All the dead al-Qaeda leaders in the world won’t change the fact that Gitmo’s staying open for the foreseeable future.