The news that Barack Obama is moving urgently on Guantanamo Bay is to be welcome. It recognises the far-reaching damage done to world views of the US in the world. The promised change is noted. Less clear is the action that Obama will take on continuing incursions into sovereign territory not at war with the US. Pakistan is the most prominent example of that. No apparent change here so far.
However closing Guantanamo Bay does not solve the problem of dealing with the 250 or so remaining inmates, only a handful of whom can be said to be “hardcore terrorists”:
“Lawyers representing clients at Guantanamo Bay such as Marc Falkoff point out that only a dozen or so detainees are know to be avowed terrorists and say that it would be wrong to set up an entirely new legal system to deal with suspects. Mr Falkoff described the proposals from the Obama team as ‘a solution in search of a problem’.
‘Most of the detainees are goat herders, or Arabs who volunteered to help the Taliban, but they are not hardcore terrorists. The real problem is getting their home countries to accept them back.’ ” Source The Independent 11/11/2008
Obama made his first visit to the White House since becoming President-elect and he had what was described as a cordial meeting with President Bush to discuss the transition. While Obama has been careful to avoid criticism of Bush he is said to be considering further packages to address the current economic crisis.