The President lost the vote to close down Guantanamo Bay. It is a reminder of just how difficult it is proving, for him to be different from President Bush.
I always felt he was going to be very similar to his predecessor in policy in major areas. It was clear he would continue with the high spend high borrowing policies of Mr Bush. It was stated he would intensify Bush’s war in Afghanistan, as they both wound down the more intense operations in Iraq. His bank rescues and monetary policies have built on the wobbly legacy of his predecessor in similar ways.
It was clear he would be different over issues like abortion, and I hoped he was going to be different over detention without trial. Today, five months in to his first Presidential year, he is no further forward in closing down Guantanamo. To some Guantanamo is a symbol of the West’s willingness to be tough. To others it is a bad departure from our principles of liberty, where people are innocent until proven guilty, where they have a right to a fair trial. The President needs to sort this out urgently, to show he is the change he promised.