As one of his first acts, President Obamasigned executive orders outlining the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility within a year.
Two factors will have a major impact on whether he manages to achieve that goal.
One is positive: European Union nations have expressed interest in taking custody of Gitmo detainees. That includes the United Kingdom.
But far more problematic is that of the "boomerangs": Evidence shows that many Gitmo detainees are taking up arms against the West, almost as quickly as they are released.
There are reports detailing the fact that two Saudi Gitmo ex-detainees have linked up with Al Qaeda's Yemen branch (the one responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000). This adds to a recent Pentagon report estimating that as many as 61 former Gitmo detainees have returned to the battlefield.
So, what does the president do? Yes, closing the facility will please his base at home -- Guantanamo has been as come to symbolize the war on terror close to home as Abu Ghraib did in Iraq (though the Gitmo detainees have been treated far, far better than did the prisoners at the Iraq prison). But, the fact remained, Democrats and liberals want the facility closed -- as do many US foreign critics.
But what happens when one of those freed detainees is found to be responsible for the death of a US serviceman -- either in Iraq or in Afghanistan (or Yemen)? How does Obama justify releasing detainees and closing the facility down?
Or, will these questions be seriously entertained during the review period? If so, is it possible that the president might determine that Gitmo is the worst of all possible solutions to the terrorist detainee problem -- except for all the others?
Robert A. George is a New York writer. He blogs at Ragged Thots and dabbles in stand-up comedy.