Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Guantanamo Funds Denial a Reality Check

Republicans are delighted that Democrats denied Obama funding to shut down Guantanamo. They think they've somehow won something and that their campaign of NO has succeeded. Not. Senator Reid fumbled badly as he attempted to explain the reasoning behind keeping Guantanamo open, saying that no detainees would ever be moved to American prisons. The vote yesterday to deny funding was not about keeping prisoners out of U.S. prisons, but rather to demand participation in Obama's planning.

I think Harry needs to spend a little time talking to his caucus. The Senate Democrats have made it clear that they are unhappy with the Obama Administration's lack of communication with them about plans for Guantanamo and the detainees. Obama has made several policy shifts since taking office and this denial of funds is Congress's way of demanding accountability from him.

"The language reads, "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act or any prior Act may be used to transfer, release or incarcerate any individual who was detained as of May 19, 2009 at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to or within the United States."

According to Senator Inouye, last weeks amendment to place restrictions on the funding was not a strong enough message to the Administration as there was still no plan forthcoming. The strong, inflammatory objections making the rounds in the media were also a factor as he suggested that the prison must close or continue being a recruiting tool for al Qaeda, but,

"Inouye was emphatic that Democrats still believe the prison should close, and that his amendment is only a "reality check" on the administration's intent to close it without a plan for the detainees being held there... None of the options are good, but this is one resource we have," he said. "We need to keep it. We have to keep it. It is by far the best option."

The whole article, Guantanamo Funds Stripped by Senate is here.

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