Although no explicit mention of Guantanamo was made in President Obama’s most excellent inauguration address, it does seem that The President (!) is putting his money where his mouth is, as in his very first 24 hours in office, he has directed prosecutors at GTMO to move to stay all prosecutions for 120 days, while the new Obama Administration ascertains how it wishes to proceed from here. [And National Palestine Radio (NPR)! reports that a GTMO judge has granted that request, seconds ago, just before 0900.]
I have my own thoughts, of course, on what to do with the GTMO detainees, as well as those also held in comparable gulags in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, but I have no doubt that The President is sincere in his desire to end this stain on our nation’s moral integrity, and in his particularly stern words toward his predecessor’s policy, with this:
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Wow. Just… wow. The confident young man I encountered (though sadly, never got to know) in my youth as a political science major at Columbia College is now the leader of the Free World. And, dare I say it, he may well believe that the “Free” is more important than the “leader” part.