Congress delays Obama’s political promise

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 1, 2009


The government wanted $80 million to shut down the “detention center” at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  At least, that’s what President Obama’a braintrust told him it would cost.

But in its wisdom, Congress said no way.

At its simplest, Gitmo is our nation’s offshore prison which houses military prisoners. Although more than 500 of them were released during the Bush administration, there are still some 240 at Gitmo. There is some disagreement as to whether these are terrorists, soldiers or just bad guys. Our elected officials are hung up on the nomenclature, which comes as no surprise when you consider that most of them talk “guvspeak” which rarely sounds like English.

Anyway,  President Obama promised to shut down the Cuban prison sometime early next year. So he asked Congress for $80 million to shut it down, which obviously included moving the bad guys from Gitmo to some other place. And there was the big Catch 22.  Where would he send them? Nobody seemed to know. Great Britain, France, Germany and all of our allies don’t want them.

The American people don’t want them brought here and dumped in our mainland prisons. If they’re sent back on a pirate ship to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran or Pakistan, they’ll just wrap a new rag around their faces and start making plans for some new way to kill Americans.

Shutting down Guantanamo seems like a piece of cake to me.  Hey, just turn off the lights, lock the doors and walk away.

Sorry, too easy.  If it doesn’t cost us taxpayers $80 million, we’re just not going to do it.

The problem remains.  Congress keeps asking the president what is “the plan” for the 240 bad guys. Presumably, there will be a plan. That’s what people in Washington do: make plans.

I wonder what the reaction would be if the prez asked Gov. Jindal if it would be okay to send about 50 of the rascals to Angola.  I think I know what that answer would be.  At the same time, if the same question goes out to some of the real blue states which voted overwhelmingly for him, there might be a kinder reception.  Massachusetts and California come to mind.

While the answer is much too obvious and simple, the Democratic promise to shut it down is written in stone.

Why not just leave it alone?  It’s a prison; it’s not on our shores.  It’s sitting on our Naval Base in Cuba and it’s up and running and doesn’t require millions of dollars to upgrade it to make it safe. So what’s the problem?  The problem is that a political promise was made in the heat of a campaign, but so what.  Political promises made from Washington, D. C. aren’t worth a dime, no matter who makes them.

(Lou Major Sr. is a member of the board and former chairman of Wick Communications. He is the former editor and publisher of The Daily News in Bogalusa and resides in Slidell.)