2009 January 22

President Obama Orders Closing of Guantanamo Bay


In one of a series of executive orders on his first days in office, President Barack Obama ordered the closing of Guantanamo Bay within one year. He soon found that this goal was impossible — for legal, practical and political reasons. A proposal to transfer terrorist detainees held at Guantanamo to the U.S. for trial in civil criminal courts created a furious political backlash; on January 7, 2011, Congress prohibited by law the expenditure of any funds for such transfers.

Obama: (e) Mission. The mission of the Special Task Force shall be to conduct a comprehensive review of the lawful options available to the Federal Government with respect to the apprehension, detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations, and to identify such options as are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.”

Read the Executive Order: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=85671

Read about the Guantanamo Bay prison under President George W. Bush: Karen Greenberg, The Least Worst Place: How Guantanamo Became the World’s Most Notorious Prison (2009)

Read the best book on President Obama and the war on terrorism: Charlie Savage, Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency (2015)

Read an ACLU report critical of Obama on national security issues (including the failure to close Guantanamo): https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/acalltocourage.pdf

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