I don’t agree with President Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo like he did.  And I want to emphasize that predicate – like he did.  It’s not that Guantanamo should not be closed, but I think this is something that needs to be done carefully.  How carefully?  Those are details I can’t answer.  I just think those details need to be more considered.  But……I actually understand why he closed it, and against that larger backdrop, his decision makes sense.  His unprecedented reference to “muslims” in his inaugural address, including his diplomatic remarks aimed at Iran in that speech, combined with his unprecedented interview with Al Arabiya (i.e. he spoke with the Arab-muslim world first prior to speaking to anyone) and his decision to send George Mitchell as a special envoy to broker peace between Arabs and Israelis, wouldn’t, I think, carry as much if any weight without his Guantanamo decision.  Obama is reaching out to the muslim and Arab worlds, showing that he is a different kind of President.  That this is a different United States of America.  So, in that light, I understand the choreography of the Guantanamo decision.  And, in that light, I can accept it.  But we must never forget that there are terrorists out there who will stop at nothing to kill Americans here and abroad, as they had already done with 9-11 and in Kenya, and in Afghanistan and Iraq.  That fists are still clenched.  But that’s Obama’s roll of the dice – that, indeed, the muslim and Arab worlds will respond to this New Beginning.  While I feel queasy about it, I would argue that this move is light years ahead of what Obama is doing on the stimulus or environment, when it comes to “game changing” and unprecedented moves, and yet in the larger scheme of things it’s unfolding ever so subtly.


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