Why? Just because it’s important to him? Because he wants to fulfill his promise, inconveniences like the law and the Constitution notwithstanding?
From the Wall Street Journal:
The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said.
Such a move would be the latest and potentially most dramatic use of executive power by the president in his second term. It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers, who have repeatedly barred the transfer of detainees to the U.S.
The discussions underscore the president’s determination to follow through on an early campaign promise before he leaves the White House, officials said, despite the formidable domestic and international obstacles in the way.
He’ll do this, according to the piece, by either vetoing legislation banning the transfer of detainees to the United States or simply refusing to enforce it:
A second option would be for Mr. Obama to sign the bill while declaring restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners an infringement of his powers as commander in chief, as he has done previously.
George W. Bush unfortunately made the practice a little too Kosher for Passover with his own questionable “signing statements,” something Obama had vowed to reverse. Whatever.
The administration offered the Journal a line about how Obama strongly prefers a legislative solution over going around Congress, which is a clear is signal he’s going to do it since that’s what they always say when the Obama does something by executive action.
First, he’ll try to pare down the controversy “by reducing the inmate population by at least half through quickly transferring Guantanamo detainees cleared for release,” according to the Journal.
It’s no secret that plenty of Gitmo Alumni are now back in the Middle East trying to kill us. Will unreformed bad guys be set free just so Obama can complete his agenda and secure a little bit more legacy for himself?
Once it’s known that the president wants the place closed no matter what, the institutional bias within the administration, even among people who want to do the right thing, could be to err too much on the side of release. Good news for the ISIS recruitment office in Mosul.
The president needs to respect the will of the people, who don’t want Guantanamo Bay prisoners in the United States, and their elected representatives. But Obama will probably conclude that we’ll all see the light eventually, even if he’s just a little ahead of us.