Making good on his pre-inaugural pledge, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year—and that was just one of three orders he inked Thursday, signaling a significant break from Bush-era “war on terror” policies.
The president said he was issuing the order to close the Guantanamo detention facility in order to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”
A second executive order formally bans torture by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations. That essentially ends the Bush administration’s CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods.
“We believe that the Army field manual reflects the best judgment of our military, that we can abide by a rule that says we don’t torture, but that we can still effectively obtain the intelligence that we need,” Obama said.
“This is me following through ... on an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct not just when it’s easy but also when it’s hard.”
A third executive order establishes an interagency task force to lead a systematic review of detention policies and procedures and a review of all individual cases.
The task force, Obama stated, will also “provide me with information in terms of how we are able to deal (with) the disposition of some of the detainees that may be currently in Guantanamo that we cannot transfer to other countries, who could pose a serious danger to the United States.”