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The Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate have let their President down. They have defeated a White House request for money to shut down Guantanamo. Now Obama is making a speech, Cheney is making a speech and the barking heads of cable news are loving it. What went wrong? Fear for one. Close down Gitmo and the “worst of the worst’ will be moving into my community. Scary stuff. Lacking a plan is the second reason.  Obama was asking for a u-boatful of money without a clear plan. Sounds Bushlike, uh? But thirdly––most importantly––this administration has conflated too many issues into the symbolic act of shutting down Guatanamo. The issue of closing Guantanamo has become a statement against torture. Well, can’t we stop torturing detainees and still run a facility in Cuba? Yes we can. The issue of closing Gitmo has become a symbol of returning to the rule of law. Well, can’t we charge and try detainees without shutting down this facility? Sure. So why not try these baddies and keep Guantanamo open? Let’s forget the ugly symbolism of Gitmo and deal with the real issues. Then take that shut-down money and put somewhere it can do some good. You know, buy another car company or a bank?

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