The Talking Dog

April 24, 2011, Wolf crying

This comprehensive WaPo report on why the "close GTMO within one year" exec order didn't (and ain't gonna) happen is well worth your time. My particular favorite detail concerns the central failure of not closing GTMO, the inability to move a single detainee stateside, of which the fate of the Chinese Uighur detainees is front and center, primarily because the Obama Administration thought it could "surprise" everyone, including local Congressman Frank Wolf:

“They were going to show up here, and we were going to announce it,” said one senior official, describing the swift, secretive operation that was designed by the administration to preempt any political outcry that could prevent the transfer.

But before the plane could leave Cuba, word leaked to Rep. Frank R. Wolf that Guantanamo detainees were on their way to his district in Northern Virginia. Wolf, a Republican, had not been briefed on the matter by the White House, despite his history of defending the Uighur community in his district, and was infuriated by the move.

He faxed a letter to the Obama administration and released it to the news media, declaring that the “American people cannot afford to simply take your word that these detainees, who were captured training in terrorist camps, are not a threat if released into our communities.”

The outrage from a single congressman was enough to spook the Obama administration, which quickly shelved its Uighur plan. Craig as well as a current senior official and a former senior official said they don’t know who stopped the transfer.

“They did not reconvene the principals,” Craig said. “They did not have a meeting in the Oval Office to discuss this and change the direction. It just happened: ‘We’re not doing it.’ ”

In fact, the transfer was stopped by Emanuel, according to officials familiar with Emanuel’s thinking. They said he and other senior West Wing aides did not think they could overcome congressional opposition after hearing Wolf’s outcry.

Others argued that the White House was simply not prepared to wage full battle

It all goes downhill from there, I'm afraid... the rest, I'm afraid, is history... But this is what happens when two kinds of bullying get together-- the classic in-your-face kind of bullying of Rahm Emmanuel, and the more insidious I-want-everyone-to-like-me-but-I-won't-lift-a-finger-to-make-it-happen-and-you're-dead-if-you-cross-me-or-make-me-look-bad kind of behind the scenes bullying coming from the President himself. The unspoken subtext of the lengthy WaPo piece is the Administration simply didn't try very hard to get GTMO closed... unlike say, "health care reform" or the bank bailouts, which resulted in the right people making lots of money (of course).

Go figure.