Signing on for another year of weakness and confusion.
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Obama doesn’t fear the left’s frothing over his broken campaign promise. But this isn’t an issue of minor import to the president: it is part of his core beliefs that Gitmo has to be closed in order for us to satisfy those with whom we are at war. Both he and his attorney general have gone to extraordinary lengths to move the terrorists at Gitmo into the civilian justice system and to release too many of them. Barred, at least temporarily from the former, Obama is very likely to resort to the latter despite the law’s restrictions.
According to a report by the Director of National Intelligence released in December, the rate of recidivism among released Gitmo inmates has reached about 25%, counting those released by the Bush administration. The rate — measured by the Pentagon — roughly doubled between June 2008 and May 2009. That will not prevent further releases.
Both Obama and Holder have consistently ignored Congress when it suited them. (Just ask Republican members of the Senate, whose unanswered letters to Obama and Holder remain a smoldering controversy.) The most likely outcome is that the Obama administration will either ignore the new certification requirements entirely or belatedly send inadequately supported findings to Congress after more Gitmo inmates are released.
The Gitmo Melodrama will continue. Of the 174 inmates still there, at least 80 are considered the hardest of the hard cases and not susceptible of trial even in military commissions. They, at least, should stay at Gitmo for the rest of their lives.