But, once he took on this issue, it became clear that he would not seek to mold consensus or work to alleviate the disinformed fears of Americans who are afraid of the "terrorists" being held at Guantanamo. It became clear he would not consistently challenge conventional wisdom that Guantanamo was making our country safer (even though he said something along this line in his speech on national security).
Democrats and Obama allowed the issue of health care reform to subjugate the urgency to close Guantanamo. They allowed fears of releasing detainees who might go back home and engage in violence against America dominate the conversation. And, they allowed the idea of transporting detainees out of Guantanamo to a facility somewhere in the U.S. to become a not in my backyard ordeal for representatives, senators, and their respective constituents while at the same time exhibiting a disappointing willingness to use indefinite detention or preventive detention to address issues posed by Guantanamo detainees.
Now, it seems highly unlikely that Obama will be closing the Guantanamo facility anytime soon. Even as news seeps out that what had been thought to be suicides at Guantanamo were probably homicides, the media has collectively allowed the election of Republican Scott Brown to the seat in Massachusetts that Ted Kennedy once held to be more significant than news of possible murder at Guantanamo.
Even if detainees are moved to a facility in Thompson, IL and a Gitmo-North prison is effectively established, Guantanamo Bay will likely remain open. Haitians who flee the devastation from a 7.0 earthquake and hope to get to America will be captured at sea and "housed" at Guantanamo. So, the facility will continue to act as a camp for containing human beings that America does not want to get in the way.
The best chance wrongfully detained human beings at Guantanamo have for escaping the Kafkaesque trial process they face as "terror suspects" lies in the hands of those who hear the stories of detainees who have been held at Guantanamo and shudder and then act.
For example, published recently in The Guardian is the story of British resident Omar Deghayes who was imprisoned in Guantanamo and subjected to brutal torture, which resulted in the loss of sight in one eye.