Obama’s Empty Gitmo Promise

After reneging on his original promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison (Gitmo) Mr. Obama promised that he would really close Gitmo this time. Of course he has no intention of closing Gitmo because if he did then the facility would be closed:

The relevant law is the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). This statute confirms the president’s power to wage war against al-Qaida and its associates, which was initially given to him in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed shortly after 9/11. The NDAA also authorizes the president to detain enemy combatants, and bans him from transferring Guantanamo detainees to American soil.

The NDAA does not, however, ban the president from releasing detainees. Section 1028 authorizes him to release them to foreign countries that will accept them—the problem is that most countries won’t, and others, like Yemen, where about 90 of the 166 detainees are from, can’t guarantee that they will maintain control over detainees, as required by the law.

There is another section of the NDAA, however, which has been overlooked. In section 1021(a), Congress “affirms” the authority of the U.S. armed forces under the AUMF to detain members of al-Qaida and affiliated groups “pending disposition under the law of war.” Section 1021(c)(1) further provides that “disposition under the law of war” includes “Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by” the AUMF. Thus, when hostilities end, the detainees may be released.

The president has the power to end the hostilities with al-Qaida—simply by declaring their end. This is not a controversial sort of power. Numerous presidents have ended hostilities without any legislative action from Congress—this happened with the Vietnam War, the Korean War, World War II, and World War I. The Supreme Court has confirmed that the president has this authority.

Since nothing is preventing Mr. Obama from closing Gitmo he must want it open, which means his promise to close the facility is empty. Somehow Obama’s supporters still believe he is against war. In reality Obama is just like Bush, a warmonger who gets off on the fact that he can personally order the assassination of anybody he wants. In fact Obama so enjoys order assassinations that he actually had to redefine “enemy combatant” and create new classes of enemies because he was running out of people to have butchered.