Will President Obama be prepared to close Guantánamo on day one? Michael Ratner, for one, certainly hopes so. But he’s not holding his breath.
Obama in this election has moved heavily to the center on issues that I really care about, and that gives you great pause. His new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a very moderate Democrat, was one of the only members of the Illinois congressional delegation to vote in favor of the Iraq War. At the same time, Obama has made a number of promises, at least on some of the issues that are at least the heart of some of my work, which is he said he would close Guantánamo, he said he would end torture—and what that means is stop the CIA from torturing people in secret sites—and he said he doesn’t favor the current military commission system that’s going on at Guantánamo, but he favors criminal trials. Now, those are just promises, and as I know with any president, even on those three issues where he’s spoken very boldly, really, and on his web site as well, those, you still have to hold their feet to the fire, because it’s certainly not going to be a main priority. You have the economy here, you have the war here, etc. But those are three issues that are of great concern to me.