‘Twas a mere four weeks ago when El Jefe Obama gave a speech about drones or something and nobody was really listening until Tyler Perry showed up and yelled at the prez about how he should close the prison at Guantanamo with his magic presidenting powers and Barry actually said that her point of view is important to listen to, and we thought that was cool of him even though Tyler Perry was being rude, and also that those of us who pay attention (yes purity trolls, we do pay attention) know that Congress is the group that has to close Gitmo. The administration can cajole and demand and twist John Boehner’s balls until he turns a darker shade of orange (if there even is a darker shade of orange) but look at how willing the Republican-led House has been to work with the president on anything. Bamz could propose renaming Washington D.C. to the Ronald Reagan Shining City on a Hill and the wingnuts would piss on him.
We missed a follow-up on the issue a few days ago. What can we say? Mommy-blogging is hard, you people:
The Republican-controlled House voted, 315-108, for the $638 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes money for weapons, troops and the war in Afghanistan. But it also addresses a range of policy matters, including this year’s efforts to combat sexual assault in the military and provisions intended to prevent the closure of the prison camp at the base in Cuba.
Despite a hunger strike by at least 104 of the 166 prisoners and appeals from Obama that the prison is too expensive to maintain and a recruiting tool for anti-American militants, the House voted, 249-174, to defeat an amendment calling for its shutdown by the end of 2014…
Obama, who had pledged during his 2008 presidential campaign to shut down the Guantanamo prison, had his counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, call legislators this week in a last-ditch effort to build support for closing the base.
For the record, we think the hunger strike and the long imprisonment endured by Gitmo’s prisoners has been criminally underreported by the media, though it certainly lines up with the last two decades of general coverage of the military, which the Pentagon has controlled as tightly as possible during all our various wars on the theory that harsh reporting — or “any reporting that shows what really happens in a war” — lost us Vietnam. But the point is that Congress controls the purse strings on this, and of all the powers it has ceded to the Executive Branch, unilaterally closing Gitmo and transferring or releasing all the prisoners simply is not one of them. And because so many in Congress, Democrats as well as Republicans, are terrified of being called soft, pointy-headed criminal coddlers during the next primary, there are too few votes in the House to do the right thing. Reuters reports there may be more support in the Senate, but of course that bill will have to be reconciled with the House’s bill and we don’t know if Canadian anchor babby Ted Cruz will even allow that process to occur, because that is the new normal in the Senate and also he is a useless dick.
So sorry, Gitmo detainees. Sorry our fellow citizens refuse to send braver, better people to represent them.