Opinion: So, Mr. President, how’s that Guantanamo closing promise coming along?

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Today is the official one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama repeating why he signed the official closing order for the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility on his second day in office in January of 2009. (See photo above and video below.)

No prison is supposed to look hospitable; that’s the point of prison. Hence, the locks and guards.


But the prison facility on the island of Cuba looked particularly bad to Democrats and looked bad internationally.

Promising to close the place -- the “mess” as the president called it -- was a very useful unifying metaphor for Obama’s change-to-believe-in from eight years of you-know-who, who started up the place back before the global war on terrorism became a series of attempted man-caused disasters.

And maybe you remember Obama’s re-statement of the urgent need to close Guantanamo just happened to come at the same media time as a speech by Vice President Dick Cheney, who was one of the main architects of building it as a secure refuge to keep those terrorist types away from the homeland.

Which seemed like a real good idea to many living outside prisons in the homeland, regardless of how it was viewed in overseas countries that weren’t exactly lining up to receive those lethal lads into their lands.

So Cheney re-explained why the Bush administration had built the place and Obama re-explained why Guantanamo was going to be but a bad memory by the end of 2009.

And here we are nearly five months after the facility’s closure. Except, wait, it hasn’t been closed. And won’t be closed for another year at least.

And there’s no new promised date for its closure because Obama folks have learned that when you promise something, words have meaning and consequences and some silly people actually expect you to keep your word. i.e. End Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell, go through the budget line-by-line, double the Peace Corps, allow five days of public comment before signing legislation, negotiate healthcare bills on C-SPAN, support a crewed moon mission by 2020, give an annual State of the World address to Americans on national security, end no-bid contracts above $25,000, double funding for after-school programs, reduce legislative earmarks to 1994 levels, recognize the Armenian genocide, create a public option health plan for a new National Insurance Exchange.

And some other stuff over here.

Back to Guantanamo: The controversial alternate plan was to transfer these bad guys onto the U.S. mainland and put them in another prison facility that just happened to be in the president’s adopted home state of Illinois and would cost $350 million from somewhere to fix it up while abandoning the still functional though unpopular-abroad Guantanamo prison.

This week the Armed Services Committee, which is controlled by Democrats who overwhelmingly control the House of Representatives, voted to prohibit such a detention facility within the United States.

Finally, some bipartisanship. The vote to prohibit was unanimous.

Other than that, President Obama’s promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by the end of 2009 is moving along swimmingly.

Not that it seems to matter to this Democratic administration, but here’s what Obama explained and promised a year ago. Watch this video:

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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