Obama Backs Off Promise, Lifts Ban On Guantanamo Bay Trials
March 10, 2011 by Special To Personal Liberty
President Barack Obama has signed an executive order to resume military trials at Guantanamo Bay and to create a system for indefinitely holding its detainees.
On March 7, Obama formally ended a two-year ban on military commission trials for suspected terrorists at the detention center. The President, who had promised to close down the Cuba-based facility within the first year of assuming his office, said he is still committed to eventually closing the prison and prosecuting the prisoners in Federal courts.
However, the executive order is proof that Obama has changed his tune regarding the previous administration's anti-terrorism efforts. In 2009, Obama condemned former President George W. Bush for creating "a misguided experiment" at Guantanamo.
Obama's promise to shut down the prison ran into one major problem: There was nowhere else to place the detainees. Other nations were reluctant to house the prisoners, while many Federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C. were opposed to transferring the alleged terrorists to the continental United States for security reasons.
GOP legislators praised the executive order, saying that Obama is wise in affirming Bush's belief that terrorists should not be treated like traditional defendants.
"Though it took more than two years, I am pleased that the Obama administration has finally seen the light on military commission trials," said Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, quoted by FOX News.