There appears to be a growing fissure between senior politicans on the Hill and the Pentagon when it comes to closing Gitmo.
Yesterday, Senate Majority Harry Reid said that he did not want detainees released or even imprisoned in the U.S. The Senate has decided not to fund the Obama administration's efforts to close Gitmo.
Today, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, said the following:
"When we are asking allies to do their fair share in dealing with this challenge, we need to do our fair share."
"This is a case where we need to ask members of Congress to take a more strategic view. Many of these members called for the closing of Guantanamo, and we need their partnership in making that possible."
The LA Times account, which is re-posted on the Baltimore Sun's web site adds:
Flournoy would not offer her own prediction of how many detainees the U.S. or its allies would eventually take. She said the administration was going through each case individually and there were no decisions on where detainees might be moved.
"I am optimistic that all of us will take more than we have agreed so far," she said. "This is a challenge that will require all of us to step up and make hard choices."
This is going to get interesting, to say the least. Reid was clear yesterday that he doesn't want any Gitmo detainees brought into the U.S. He was so clear that the press is already providing cover for him by lumping his Gitmo comments in with his missteps on other topics at the press conference. Did Reid simply flub his stance on Gitmo? Perhaps. But, he reiterated his point a few times. Reid, according to the Associated Press, said the following:
"We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States."
"Part of what we don't want is them be put in prisons in the United States."
"We don't want them around the United States."
And now the Pentagon is pushing back, saying we all need to make hard choices. Indeed, according to the Pentagon there is nothing to worry about. They are still on track to close Gitmo by January 2010.