Sunday, April 26, 2009

'If You Started It, You Ought to Finish It'

Glad to see the rest of the world loves us again.
It's more than just a tough sell for Attorney General Eric Holder this week to persuade European allies to accept Guantanamo detainees.

"It's a 'Mission Impossible' for him, I think," one German analyst said ahead of Holder's arrival in London on Sunday.

President Barack Obama has set a goal of closing the U.S. military detention facility in Cuba by this coming January, and his administration is edging toward taking some prisoners to the U.S., most likely to Virginia. They are Chinese Muslims known as Uighurs. Their supporters claim say they never should have been at Guantanamo in the first place.

Republicans in Congress say Guantanamo should remain in operation and they are mobilizing to fight the release of detainees into the United States.

Against that backdrop, Holder hoped to reassure skeptical Europeans without generating too much public opposition back home. After meetings in London and Prague, the attorney general gives a speech Wednesday night in Berlin about Guantanamo.

Austria's interior minister, Maria Fekter, has insisted her country would not take any prisoners. "If the detainees are no longer dangerous, why don't they stay in the U.S.?" she asked.

Simon Koschut, an associate fellow with the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, spoke of the difficulty facing Holder in trying to find a consensus among European leaders.

"In Germany, many are asking why America isn't taking care of its own business. If you started it, you ought to finish it," Koschut said.

Holder's effort follows similar appeals from Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and other high-level U.S. officials. They have made some headway, but gotten few firm commitments.
Maybe we can chalk this one up as Mistake 101.

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