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Fulfilling one of his last campaign promises, Obama has sent Congress his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison:
Unveiling the plan from the Roosevelt Room at the White House, the president made clear his frustration at how what was once a bipartisan goal shared by both his predecessor, President George W. Bush, and his 2008 Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, had become a partisan dispute. He urged Congress to give his plan a “fair hearing,” saying the prison wasted money, raised tensions with allies and fueled anti-American sentiments abroad.
“I am very cleareyed about the hurdles to finally closing Guantánamo — the politics of this are tough,” Mr. Obama said during a 17-minute statement. He added: “I don’t want to pass this problem on to the next president, whoever it is. And if, as a nation, we don’t deal with this now, when will we deal with it?”
Congress required Mr. Obama to present a plan as part of the most recent defense authorization bill, and its basic approach echoed the strategy the administration has already been pursuing for seven years. It centers on bringing between 30 and 60 detainees who are deemed too dangerous to release to a prison on domestic soil, while transferring the remaining 91 detainees to other countries.
The plan offered few specifics, and did not identify any of the potential replacement facilities. Pentagon officials visited military prisons at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Charleston, S.C., as well as several civilian prisons in Colorado — where many terrorists are already held in the “supermax” wing of the complex at Florence — in preparing the study.
Do you think Obama’s plan has any chance of getting through a GOP-controlled Congress? And, if not, how do you think the President will respond?