An executive order signed by Barack Obama today orders the closing of Guantanamo Bay within a year. The order, along with two others calling for the reviewing of military trials of terror suspects and the banning of harsh interrogation methods, mark a sharp break from Bush administration policies unpopular around the world and among many Americans.
After the signing, the president said:
The message we are sending around the world is that the US intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism and we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals . . . We intend to win this fight, and we intend to win it on our terms.
The Guantanamo Bay order requires the closure of the prison no later than one year from today, but also sets up a review process for figuring out what to do with the prisoners. The order on military trials creates a task force to review detainee policy. The interrogation order revokes a previous Bush order and forbids harsh tactics, while requiring all agencies to grant the Red Cross access to detainees. It also creates a special task force to look into rendition policies, and CIA interrogation practices. Are you happy with these executive orders?