A new President’s first act is often highly-symbolic of the way he intends to carry on, and Barack Obama has deliberated a mere matter of hours before fulfilling a central electoral campaign promise: to close Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In a clear sign to the world that America wants its good reputation back, Obama has turned the page on one of the darkest chapters in US military history.
“Are we ready? Obviously they are taking many pictures here…Can we go ahead? Ok let us go,” said the President. “This first executive order that we are signing, by the authority invested in me via the constitution as President of the United States of America, in order to affect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the Department of Defence in Guantanamo…and properly to close the detention facility there consistent with national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, and interests of justice, I hereby order.” The setting-up and use of Guantanamo outside the control of international and US law was arguably the single most damaging policy initiative to US prestige enacted by the Bush administration.