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It’s More Than Greg Craig

Greg Craig is being set up as the “fall guy” on Guantanamo, according to a report by Josh Gerstein in Politico. It’s not just Craig, writes Gerstein:

Instead, it was a widespread breakdown on the political, legislative, policy and planning fronts that is contributing to what is shaping up as one of Obama’s most high-profile setbacks. . . . The White House misread the public mood — as roughly half of Americans surveyed say they disagree with Obama’s approach. A strong element of NIMBY-ism permeates those results, as Americans say they don’t want the prisoners in their backyards.

And even within Washington, the Obama team “mistook that political consensus from the campaign trail for a deep commitment.” Not surprisingly, a former Bush official on background offers that the Obami were victims of their own “Kool-Aid” consumption — “that everybody, or most people, at Guantanamo were innocent and shouldn’t be there, and the Bush administration was not working very hard to resolve these issues, and that the issues were fairly easy to resolve once adults who were really committed to doing something about it in charge.” Well, the Bush team deserves its “We told you so.”

All in all, it’s a frightful picture of the Obama administration — naive, arrogant, and unprepared. They have learned (or have they really not?) that treating a serious national security concern as a campaign issue is a serious error. And one naturally worries if this dangerous combination of arrogance, insertion of domestic political objectives into national-security issues, ideological rigidity, and lack of preparation isn’t also at the heart of so many other national-security issues (e.g., the Israeli settlement fetish, the backing of Manuel Zelaya, the yanking of missile-defense sites, the agonizing over Afghanistan, and the inertia on Iran). One assumes that a certain level of professionalism and common sense exists among advisers and a man who has made it all the way to the White House. They must know what they are doing, right? Well, maybe not.



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