Barack Obama rode a wave of support to victory last November and promised his supporters in January that the Guantanamo Bay detention center would be closed within the first year of his presidency. Whoops, spoke too soon.
The president publicly acknowledged for the first time today that Guantanamo Bay will not be closed by January. However, he must have learned his lesson about setting deadlines on these kind of delicate matters because, as the Washington Post is reporting, he has refused to set a new one.
In an interview in the Chinese capital with Major Garrett of Fox News, Obama said he was "not disappointed" that the Guantanamo deadline had slipped, saying he "knew this was going to be hard."
"People, I think understandably, are fearful after a lot of years where they were told that Guantanamo was critical to keep terrorists out," Obama said. Closing the facility, he added, is "also just technically hard."
I remember when President Bush alluded to the fact that he was making "hard" decisions, liberals pounced, calling him stupid and inept. And now that this liberal president has 1) broken his promise, and 2) blaming it on difficulty, I don't hear any of that good 'ol liberal outrage.
Despite the slow trickle of prisoners out of the facility, Obama insisted in the interview that the facility will be shuttered eventually.
"We are on a path and a process where I would anticipate that Guantanamo will be closed next year," he said. "I'm not going to set an exact date because a lot of this is also going to depend on cooperation from Congress."
PS--I'd just like to give a little pat-on-the-back to those of us who predicted and warned this promise would be broken when it was made.