Promises to keep: Largest transfer of Gitmo detainees under Obama announced

Promises to keep: Largest transfer of Gitmo detainees under Obama announced
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How much do you care about Barack Obama’s legacy. Wait, check that; it’s irrelevant. The question I should have asked is how much Obama cares about his own place in history.

The answer is this much:

The U.S. announced Monday that 15 detainees have been transferred out of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It’s the single-largest transfer since President Barack Obama took office, according to Lee Wolosky, the US special envoy for Guantanamo closure. [Emphasis added]

The inmates, who included nationals from Afghanistan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, will be transferred to the UAE, a US State Department official told CNN.

The authors of the article, all CNN reporters, offer the assurance that six of the detainees had been approved for transfer back in 2009. But all that assures is that Obama’s feckless campaign promise to close down the detention facility — which he has claimed repeatedly is a recruitment tool for Islamic terrorists — will happen by hook or by crook before he exits the White House.

As for the remaining eleven? They too were greenlighted by the Periodic Review Board, an agglomeration of Defense Department toadies whose sole job is to determine whether detainees pose a “continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.” And when was the Periodic Review Board created and by whom? The answers are respectively 2011 and Barack Obama.

The move brings the population at the famed detention facility down to 61. There were 242 detainees at Guantanamo when the Obama administration came into office.

In an act of journalistic due diligence, the CNN authors include a comment by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce , a Republican, who observed:

In its race to close Gitmo, the Obama administration is doubling down on policies that put American lives at risk. Once again, hardened terrorists are being released to foreign countries where they will be a threat. I fear we will be dealing with the consequences of this recklessness for years to come.

In an ominous piece at The Week titled “Obama will leave his successor a ticking time bomb,” Michael Brendan Dougherty paints a sobering doomsday scenario in which he notes that the Middle East is less stable now than it was before Obama ascended to the presidency:

President Obama was given a very difficult foreign policy situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. But his decisions in the Middle East and elsewhere have set a number of traps for the next president, while weakening our allies. And this in turn has invited other global powers to test America’s historic commitments.

And test they will. And how will the U.S. respond to those threats and to the ongoing challenges in the Middle East? If its commander in chief is Hillary Clinton, consider her own campaign promise yesterday that adding “American ground troops” in the war against ISIS in Syria “is off the table.”

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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