WASHINGTON -- On Wednesday, April 29, in an East Room news conference, President Barack Obama claimed, "We have rejected the false choice between our security and our ideals by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay." That simply isn't true. What he did do was issue an executive order directing the facility be closed by January 2010 -- more than seven months from now. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama -- in his naive exuberance to fulfill a pledge that had earned standing ovations and rave reviews from the mainstream media during the presidential campaign -- really didn't have a plan. That's coming back to haunt him.
On Wednesday, while Mr. Obama was holding a photo op at the White House with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, quietly deleted funds for closing Gitmo from the fiscal year 2009 supplemental spending bill. The O-Team had requested $80 million for this fiscal year and an equal amount for next year to cover the expense of shuttering the detention facility and relocating the terrorists housed there. Obey, one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill, justified eliminating the FY '09 funds by noting, "I personally favor what the administration is talking about doing, but so far as we can tell, there is yet no concrete program for that." Just in case the nice folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. didn't get the message, Obey added, "While I don't mind defending a concrete program, I'm not much interested in wasting my energy defending a theoretical program."
The theory of which Obey speaks is that someone on the O-Team actually has a plan for where to put the 241 terrorists currently detained at the facility. Thus far, no other nation has volunteered to unburden Mr. Obama of the problem he created for himself during last year's presidential campaign and by issuing his increasingly dubious executive order. Until now, there was talk of moving some to high-security prisons in the United States, sending others to their "home countries" and simply releasing the detainees who no longer are considered to be "terrorists."
During debate this week in the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., suggested that we give the coldblooded terrorists housed at Gitmo "the same due process we give our own troops." No one in the so-called mainstream media bothered to call Schiff to account for equating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh and Abu Zubaydah, 9/11 conspirators all, with the men and women of our armed forces.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.