Guantánamo Closure Delayed Another Year

2011 'At the Earliest'

President Obama’s pledge to have the detention center at Guantanamo Bay closed by January 2010 has long since been written off as a broken promise, but now the possibility of closing it in 2010 at all appears to be vanishing.

The Obama Administration’s latest scheme, to turn the village of Thomson, Illinois into the new Guantanamo, is running headlong into the same Congressional opposition that has kept the extralegal detention center running strong so far.

The administration says it would take at least 8-10 months of work before it is even possible to start transferring people to Thomson. And that work hasn’t started yet. And that work isn’t going to start any time soon.

The federal government would have to buy the prison before it can start fixing it up to house the 200 or so suspects, and President Obama has already given up on getting that money in the near term, hoping they can slip it into the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

Which would likely mean work wouldn’t even start until early 2011, if it starts at all, and the soonest Gitmo could close would be late 2011. As this represents the best case scenario, there remains a very real possibility that the island prison, President Obama’s first order since taking office, will remain open when he runs for re-election in 2012.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.