Last night President Obama went on The Daily Show in hopes that Jon Stewart's dorm room pixiedust would brush off on him so the kids remember to mail in their absentee ballots and keep Dad's health insurance well into their fifth unpaid internship. But the president also brought up Guantanamo Bay—remember, that place where American legal traditions and actual people go to die?
You can watch the second half of the interview below, but here's exactly what the president said:
“I still want to close Guantanamo. We haven’t been able to get that through Congress…One of the things we have to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help to do that so that not only am I reined in but any president’s reined in in terms of some of the decisions we’re making.”
This sort of “I can't do anything because of all the people in Congress who think climate change is a hoax and that women have a 'Stop Sperm Absorption' button outside their vaginas” excuse might work for other areas of policy (judicial appointments being one) but not Guantanamo Bay. Obama merely wants to close the structure and keep the laws that are indefinitely imprisoning potentially innocent human beings intact. As Glenn Greenwald has repeatedly pointed out, many members of Congress saw through this:
The reason these Democratic Senators voted to deny funds for closing Guantanamo is not because they lacked the courage to close Guantanamo. It’s because they did not want to fund a plan to close the camp without knowing exactly what Obama planned to do with the detainees there—because people like Feingold and Sanders did not want to fund the importation of a system of indefinite detention onto U.S. soil.
So vote for who you want (or don't vote at all, but then you're just as good as those mouthbreathing “undecided voters”) but just remember that closing Guantanamo will do nothing to root out America's 9/11-induced nightmare of throwing people in jail for as long as we want because we call them “terrorists.”