What, again, was the point of Tuesday’s presidential press conference? Other than giving a shout-out to Jason Collins, I mean. Barack Obama managed to expose enough of his own stupidity and vapidity to attract the ire of NYT columnist Maureen Dowd. Today she rips Obama’s riff on Gitmo.
Dianne Feinstein, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the White House Thursday urging the administration to review the status of 86 low-level detainees who were designated for potential transfer more than three years ago but remain in Cuba.
Asked about the hunger strike, the former constitutional law professor in the White House expressed the proper moral outrage at holding so many men “in no-man’s land in perpetuity.” But it sounded as though he didn’t fully understand his own policy.
Closing Guantánamo doesn’t address the fundamental problem of rights. Obama’s solution, blocked by Congress, is to move the hornet’s nest to a Supermax prison in Illinois — dubbed “Gitmo North” — and keep holding men as POWs in a war that has no end. They’re not hunger-striking for a change in scenery.
It’s true that Congress put restrictions on transfers of individuals to other countries with bad security situations. But, since 2012, Congress has granted authority to the secretary of defense to waive those restrictions on a case-by-case basis. The administration hasn’t made use of that power once. So it’s a little stale to blame Congress at this point.