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Friday, September 25, 2009

In the Obama Administration, closing "Guantanamo was everyone's part-time job"

If you need another reason to question the Obama Administration's basic ability to provide the single most important function of the federal government — keeping America safe from foreign enemies — read this WaPo story.

The Spin

True to form, the WaPo's writers and editors carefully withhold the screamingly obvious judgment that drips from the facts they report, and indeed, they try hard to spin things in a pro-Obama way. Thus, the article starts with a gentle bit of chin-rubbing:

With four months left to meet its self-imposed deadline for closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Obama administration is working to recover from missteps that have put officials behind schedule and left them struggling to win the cooperation of Congress.

Mere "missteps" — does that kind of imply something mild, like an uneven sidewalks problem? Well, back in WW2, the good soldiers of the American military came up with an acronym for the kinds of "missteps" described in the WaPo article: "Let's recover from this situation," our soldiers would say very politely, "because at present, the situation is FUBAR'd." In this exact same sense, the Battle of the Bulge was a "misstep."

The facts reported by the WaPo go on to show that when the White House senior officials acknowledge that they're "behind schedule" on closing down Gitmo, that's actually a nice euphemism for "everything's totally screwed up and there is no actual 'schedule,' just a ridiculous, arbitrary deadline that's going to be missed and that may never be met at all, ever."

And as for the "struggle for cooperation" with Congress — wouldn't "struggle" imply something whose outcome was at least close? Readers have to dig down to paragraph 24 to be reminded that "in May, the Senate decided, by an overwhelming vote of 90 to 6, to block funding for shutting Guantanamo Bay — Obama's first major legislative setback as president."

The Fall Guy Goes Under the Great Bus of State

The WaPo gamely repeats — without comment or the Bronx cheers it actually deserves — White House counsel Gregory B. Craig's insistence that

some of his early assumptions were based on miscalculations, in part because Bush administration officials and senior Republicans in Congress had spoken publicly about closing the facility. "I thought there was, in fact, and I may have been wrong, a broad consensus about the importance to our national security objectives to close Guantanamo and how keeping Guantanamo open actually did damage to our national security objectives," he said.

Got that? Dubya is responsible both for creating all problems and for misleading the poor Obamites into thinking that they'd be easy to solve. But nothing — nothing — is ever the fault of The One and his minions, at least not to hear them tell it.

But despite the fact that this and all other evils are obviously all Dubya's fault, lest someone else — like, uh, everyone else in America who's not part of the First Family or the White House staff — become interested in assigning responsibility for events subsequent to January 20, 2009, the good angels of the Obama Administration have demonstrated, once again, that they do know very well how to throw one of their own under the wheels of the bus:

Craig oversaw the drafting of the executive order that set Jan. 22, 2010, as the date by which the prison must be closed.

"It seemed like a bold move at the time, to lay out a time frame that to us seemed sufficient to meet the goal," one senior official said. "In retrospect, it invited a fight with the Hill and left us constantly looking at the clock."

"The entire civil service counseled him not to set a deadline" to close Guantanamo, according to one senior government lawyer.

Thus Craig is clearly being set up — with or without his consent, and it's quite possible that he's been importuned to fall on his sword and is doing so willingly — as the fall guy. And where will he land?

Three administration officials said they expect Craig to leave his current post in the near future, and one said he is on the short list for a seat on the bench or a diplomatic position. Craig has long made clear his desire to be involved in foreign policy, but he declined to comment on his plans.

How likely is it that Roger Craig will be the next Ambassador to, say, China, the United Kingdom, or Bermuda? I'd say only slightly better than the odds that the Obama Administration will meet President Obama's own the outgoing White House counsel's own self-imposed deadline for closing Gitmo:

After the congressional setbacks, Craig orchestrated the release of four of the Uighurs, flying with them and a State Department official from Guantanamo Bay to Bermuda, a self-governing British territory whose international relations are administered by Britain.

The transfer produced a diplomatic rift. British and U.S. officials said the Obama administration gave Britain two hours' notice that the Uighurs were being sent to Bermuda. "They essentially snuck them in, and we were furious," said a senior British official.

The move also caused friction between Britain and China, which seeks the Uighurs for waging an insurgency against the Chinese government.

Still Holding Your Breath for Gitmo to Be Closed?

And so how close, then, did the Obama Administration come to meeting its goal before Mr. Craig became tire fodder for the Great Bus of State?

In coming weeks, officials say, they expect to complete the initial review of all the files of those held at Guantanamo Bay.

(Italics mine.)

The scariest part of all this is that these are facts revealed by the Washington Post. If the pro-Obama WaPo can't put any better face on what's going on inside the Obama Administration's prosecution of the Global War on Terror (whatever they've renamed it to this week), how much chaos must there really be behind the scenes?

My absolute favorite quote could be expanded beyond the Guantanamo Bay closure difficulties to describe the entire Obama Presidency to date:

"Guantanamo was everyone's part-time job," said a senior official, one of several interviewed for this article who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Amateurs. Incompetents. Ideologues. Full-time politicians turned half-wit government officials. Brilliant leftists who, confronted with the real world, are exposed as clueless idiots and children.

It's going to be a long time until January 2013. Will the millions of American voters who should have known better, but who were taken in by Obama's sham, have stopped thinking 'Wow!' by at least November 2012?

Posted by Beldar at 01:22 AM in Current Affairs, Global War on Terror, Obama, Politics (2009) | Permalink

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» Quote of the Century (So Far) from Big Lizards

Tracked on Sep 26, 2009 12:56:35 AM

Comments

(1) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Sep 25, 2009 2:56:18 AM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: Small glitch: in paragraph 10, you refer to "Roger" when, like me, he is actually Gregory.

A bigger glitch which affects your entire post is that the article you cite is NOT by the Washington POST. It is a collaboration between the POST and ProPublica which the POST piously sez:

"ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest."

Just to add a teeny detail that seems to have escaped Wikipedia's notice: ProPublica's founders Herbert and Marion Sandler are vampire buddies with George Soros and don't do so badly swindling on their own, successfully suppressing a Saturday Night Live skit that gently mocked their feeding habits.

That the POST would sign on to these harpies is astonishing, another sign of the POST's decay following the idiotic attempt to sell newsroom access. ProPublica has bought up some stellar talent, but the notion that it is anything but a left wing propaganda outfit is just silly.

OK. With ProPublica on board, we can see this article for what you have described it as: setting up a victim. Craig? He'll do fine. He was a Billyboy vassal for a long time, so when he sold out Hillary by bawling for The One in March 2007, it suited The One fine. But he's not trustworthy as his snouting for clients shows . This is another warning shot across Hillary's bow. The One calculates that Craig's disloyalty will prevent Hillary from coming to Craig's rescue. He might be right. Certainly Hillary's acceptance of State ranks high along politcal witlessness. But if Craig is tossed to the tender mercies of Goodyear radials, Hillary is acknowledging her vassal status. What will happen? Stay tuned. You've done us a service in alerting us to this article. It's a good sign of a power struggle.

As for the substance: shucks, who outside of fools is surprised? Several of my lefty friends get frantic and refuse to discuss Guantanamo's closure, shrieking that there are four months left. Let the clock tick. It will be amusing to watch the sudden conversion of Guantanamo into a non-issue, by Bad Faith out of Unscrupulousness. What won't be so funny is if The One's ninnies succeed in bringing the detainees to these States. For that, we must rely on Rahm&Co. None of this law bunk for them, just a well developed sense of poltical preservation.

As for the process, that quote sums it up splendidly. I don't know if you've ever read anything on the decision making of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. I've read Peter Wyden's book, and the process of Guantanamo v. Pigs is dismayingly alike. This nation is going to pay a dreadful price for the witless, amateur operation The One runs when it comes to issues, as opposed to campaigning.

If you have time, I'd like to hear your views on this.


Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(2) Michael J. Myers made the following comment | Sep 26, 2009 6:52:31 AM | Permalink

FUBAR? That's a statement of where they are aton a particular issue. But I'd go with SNAFU--a steady state condition in this administration.

(3) Paul made the following comment | Sep 26, 2009 9:32:29 AM | Permalink

Once you understand a situation is FUBAR, you settle into the notion that it is simply SNAFU and prepare for BOHICA.

(4) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Sep 26, 2009 6:30:21 PM | Permalink

aren't a couple of these quotes self conflicting?

like:

"The entire civil service counseled him not to set a deadline" to close Guantanamo, according to one senior government lawyer.

versus

"I thought there was, in fact, and I may have been wrong, a broad consensus about the importance to our national security objectives to close Guantanamo and how keeping Guantanamo open actually did damage to our national security objectives," he said.

(5) Mike K made the following comment | Sep 26, 2009 7:37:48 PM | Permalink

Rare words indeed from the Obama administration:

I may have been wrong

I doubt they mean them.

(6) ELC made the following comment | Sep 27, 2009 11:53:38 AM | Permalink

The best fisking I've read in a long time.

(7) JSchuler made the following comment | Sep 27, 2009 1:09:29 PM | Permalink

"It seemed like a bold move at the time, to lay out a time frame that to us seemed sufficient to meet the goal,"

Welcome to the Obama Administration: where it's BOLD to be sufficient!

(8) memomachine made the following comment | Sep 28, 2009 8:25:57 AM | Permalink

Hmmmm.

What is even crazier is the situation with Gen. McChrystal and Afghanistan.

Evidently McChrystal has spoken directly with President Obama only once (1) in 70+ days!

(9) SPQR made the following comment | Sep 28, 2009 7:16:26 PM | Permalink

Worst President Ever.

Jimmy Carter is smiling somewhere that he is going to be bumped off of the bottom.

(10) Larry Brown made the following comment | Sep 28, 2009 8:43:50 PM | Permalink

What's this about nylons, egg salad and dwarf tossing?

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