Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 14 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/24/13

Why Gitmo Was Not Closed from the Get-Go

By       (Page 1 of 4 pages)   5 comments
Message James Wall
Become a Fan
  (19 fans)
Source: Wallwritings

On the morning of May 23, 2013, our still young, but now greying, President Obama delivered  what he hoped would be "a change speech."

The speech was delivered to National Defense University, at Fort McNair in Washington DC. Reuters  began its report on the speech:

"President Barack Obama on Thursday (May 23) shifted the United States away from a 'boundless global war on terror,' restricting deadly drone strikes abroad and signaling that America's long struggle against al Qaeda will one day end.

"In a major policy speech, Obama narrowed the scope of the U.S. targeted-killing campaign against al Qaeda and its allies and took new steps toward closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison -- controversial elements of the U.S. counterterrorism fight that have drawn condemnation at home and abroad."

The speech dealt with a larger policy of the Obama administration, a pledge to narrow the "scope" of the targeted-killing drone campaign which Obama inherited and which he has shown little sign of wanting to give up. His progressive critics believe it is time Obama did more than narrow the "scope" of the drone program. They want it ended.

Obama also dealt with a more specific action, closing the US military prison at Guantanamo, Cuba. Obama has promised to close Guantanamo during his campaign for president. He failed to do so in his first term.

Reluctant to criticize specific actions of his presidential predecessors, Obama missed an opportunity to appropriately lay the blame for the existence of the Guantanamo prison squarely at the feet of President George W. Bush.

How are we to understand this moment in history? We may start by thinking of an earlier moment in our history, captured by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in a poem entitled, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

A remarkable teacher in my small Georgia grade school taught me history in those uncertain days between the Great Depression and World War II. She did not teach dates; she taught poetry.

Based on what I retained from those early classes, what she embedded in my consciousness are snatches of poems that gave me a sense of the importance of history. Some of them remain with me to this day.

The adult writer who retains those lines now struggles to understands the ambiguity of modern life, like the ambiguity of  modern president who wants to do the moral thing.

In his writings the author of these postings is blessed to have retained familiar poems from a Georgia classroom of long ago, still demanding attention.

These are snatches of poems now easily verifiable as to context, date and author. How to apply those remembered sounds to a particular modern moment, remains the challenge. One poem that seeks to insert itself in so much of what I write these days, opens this way:

"Listen my children and you shall hear
"Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
"On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
"Hardly a man is now alive
"Who remembers that famous day and year."

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere is the work of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882. He wrote the poem April 19, 1860, as part of his Tales of a Wayside Inn, first published in 1863.

The "Seventy-five" in the poem is 1775, when the American colonies were seeking to establish themselves as a nation independent of England. The day on which Longfellow wrote the poem was April 19, 1860.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Supported 2   Must Read 1   Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

James Wall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Does Israel Interfere in US Elections?

New York Times Flacks for Jewish Groups Against 15 Major Christian Leaders

How Iran Could Be The Next Neocon Target

Ten Swing States Could Decide the 2012 Election; Obama Leads in Nine of Them

White Evangelicals Stifle Values For Trump

What Protestants Could Learn from Ron Paul

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend