Yesterday, President Obama signed an executive order allowing military trials to resume for detainees of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The move reversed Obama’s 2009 directive—one of his first acts as president—that halted such trials pending a policy review. The January 2009 order also called for the prison to be closed within a year, a goal that became impossible when Congress and governors opposed Obama’s attempts to bring detainees into prisons within the United States and try them in civilian courts. Another issue plaguing Obama’s efforts has been the difficulty in getting other countries to agree to take in released prisoners.
Yesterday’s executive order indicates the Guantanamo detention facility is not close to shutting down, though the administration says it is still committed to closing it. The prison has long been a sore spot for those arguing the prison violates civil liberties, and who are disappointed Obama so far hasn’t been able to keep his campaign promise to shut it down. “In a little over two years, the Obama administration has done a complete about-face,” Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union told the Washington Post.
But some are praising the president’s move as a step in the right direction, like Republican Rep. Pete King. “I commend the Obama Administration for issuing this Executive Order,” he wrote in a statement. “It affirms the Bush Administration policy that our government has the right to detain dangerous terrorists until the cessation of hostilities.”
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