Thank God for Obama's Broken Promises

After campaigning for years on closing Guantanamo Bay military prison, and actually signing an order to do so in 2009, Obama abruptly reversed himself in March, 2011. Good thing, too.

Follow the sequence of events.

Barack Obama, August 2007,

"As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists."

Barack Obama, 60 Minutes, November 16, 2008.

"I have said repeatedly that I will close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that."


Barack Obama, Jan. 22, 2009,

Sitting in the Oval Office, surrounded by retired military personnel, President Obama signs an executive order to shut down the Guantanamo detention camp as well as all secret CIA prisons overseas.

Barack Obama, Jan. 22, 2009,

Signs the order to close Guantanamo:

"This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it's easy, but also when it's hard."

Barack Obama, January 23, 2009. ABC News.

"Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now. We can abide by a rule that says we don't torture."

Barack Obama, May 2009,

"By any measure, the costs of keeping it [Guantanamo] open far exceed the complications involved in closing it. That's why I argued that it should be closed throughout my campaign, and that is why I ordered it closed within one year."

Barack Obama, January, 2010,

"We will not be transferring additional detainees back to Yemen at this time. But make no mistake. We will close Guantanamo prison, which has damaged our national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for Al Qaeda."

March, 2011:

Obama signs an executive order to create a formal system of indefinite detention for the captives still kept at Guantanamo Bay. Releases statement through senior administration official: "The president does remain committed to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay."

New York Times, May 2, 2011. Bin Laden Killed.

The New York Times reports that a courier for Bin laden who led American intelligence to the terrorist leader was identified by Guantanamo Bay detainees.

"Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier's pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks."

Here's hoping that Obama indulges us in many more such policy reversals.

Seth Forman is Author of American Obsession: Race and Conflict in the Age of Obama (forthcoming Booklocker). Dr. Forman blogs at and