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Guantánamo under Barack Obama
A suspension of military tribunals signals change on President Obama's first day
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hat a welcome change, said Asim Qureshi in Britain’s The Guardian: America’s new president, Barack Obama, ordered a stop to the military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, so he could consider how to overhaul them. But it will take a lot more than this to prove “that the U.S. has truly changed its attitude” toward detaining Muslim suspects in the “war on terror.”

It’s encouraging that Obama has backed away from his campaign promise to close Guantánamo entirely, said Investor’s Business Daily in an editorial. “That shows flexibility and wisdom. He'll need both, since the U.S. faces a terrorist threat that will take advantage of our inattention or our weakness to kill as many of us as possible, without remorse.”

Keeping Guantánamo open isn’t the way to stop them, said Jacob Sullum in Reason. The detention camp there, where the Bush administration wielded unchallengeable authority, merely sends the world the message that “we know who the bad guys are,” and we won’t let anybody second-guess us—even when we’re wrong. Obama has to follow through on his promise to close Guantánamo to show that the era of Bush’s arrogant unilateralism is over for good.

Wait, I'm confused, said Megan McArdle in The Atlantic. Suspending the military tribunals for 120 days is one thing, but the big problem at Guantanamo was that people were being held without trial. "Doesn't this just further prolong the incarceration of anyone who might be innocent?"

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