by Chris Bodenner
Michael Goldfarb touts a new Rasmussen poll showing decreased support for closing Guantanamo - now only 32%, down six points from May and 12 points from January. The fear-mongering of politicians - primarily Republicans running for office next year - has contributed to the drop I'm sure. But the administration's lack of conveying clear steps to the public - at least in generalities - hasn't helped either, particularly with only five months from the closure deadline. But as the opinion polls fluctuate, it is important to remember where the most valued opinions lie:
With respect to Guantanamo, I think that the closure in a responsible manner [...] sends an important message to the world, as does the commitment of the United States to observe the Geneva Convention when it comes to the treatment of detainees.
That was Petraeus back in May. Though he probably won't weigh in on whether Fort Leavenworth is a suitable place for detainees (given the military's neutrality on domestic politics), I have little doubt he believes the max-security prison can handle them. After all, Petraeus commanded the fort just prior to his arrival on the national scene, so he knows Leavenworth well. Another general once stationed there, Colin Powell, had more forceful words on Gitmo (perhaps due to his retirement):
Guantanamo has become a major, major problem ... in the way the world perceives America and if it were up to me I would close Guantanamo not tomorrow but this afternoon. [...] We don't need it and it is causing us far more damage than any good we get for it.
When our two most revered military figures are on board, the whims of skittish Americans seem less consequential. And I wonder if the Cheney of today would agree with the Cheney of 2007:
Polls change day by day, week by week. [...] This president does not make policy based on public opinion polls; he should not.