White House Makes Laughable Defense Bill Veto Threat

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jtfgtmo/5497741300/sizes/m/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Flickr/JTFGitmo</a>

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act if the final version includes certain provisions, including continuing restrictions on Guantanamo Bay detainee transfers that make it impossible for the administration to close the prison. The statement was issued Thursday, as the Senate debated the defense bill.

Legislators should be forgiven for not taking this threat too seriously.

The first big restrictions on Gitmo transfers passed in 2010. Attorney General Eric Holder called them “dangerous,” but the administration did nothing. Then in January 2011, the administration’s ability to move detainees out of Gitmo was curtailed again. The administration did nothing. They issued a formal veto threat in 2011 over provisions in that year’s National Defense Authorization Act, then backed down.

Obama reiterated his intention to close the Guantanamo detention camp on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show just prior to the 2012 election. But Congress has hemmed him in with those transfer restrictions, and bringing suspected terror detainees to US soil is even less popular than it used to be.

Civil liberties and human rights groups have urged Obama to veto the defense bill if it retains the transfer restrictions, since they would make it impossible for Obama to fulfill his promise to close Gitmo. It’s also the only way for the administration to convince Congress that it’s actually serious when it says the restrictions are unacceptable. 

But they probably aren’t serious, at least not if we’re defining “seriousness” as being actually willing to veto the bill. Not if the past is any indication.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate