Scapegoating Gregory Craig

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on November 13, 2009

Reading the story about his departure brings to mind this article, in which I argued that Gregory Craig, the outgoing White House Counsel, was being made a scapegoat for the Obama Administration’s failure to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. I know that Craig is catching heat for the Administration’s decision to set a deadline for closing the prison–and for its inability to meet that deadline–but the thought that the decision to set the deadline was Craig’s and Craig’s alone is nothing short of ridiculous. From this story, which I linked to in my article:

Some Bush administration officials contend that the one-year timeline [to close the prison] was driven by a naïveté on the part of Obama’s aides.

“To a certain extent, they had drunk a lot of the far-left Kool-aid: that everybody, or most people, at Guantanamo were innocent and shouldn’t be there, and the Bush administration was not working very hard to resolve these issues, and that the issues were fairly easy to resolve once adults who were really committed to doing something about it in charge,” said one Bush official who met with Obama’s aides during the transition on Gitmo. “It became clear to me they had not really done their homework on the details.”

[. . .]

“This clearly was a decision that had the full support of the entire national security team,” said Ken Gude, who tracks Guantanamo issues for the liberal Center for American Progress think tank. “It’s typical Washington that someone has their head on the chopping block, but it’s ridiculous that it’s Craig.”

“The implication that this was the brainchild of the White House counsel is not really credible,” said Elisa Massimino of Human Rights First.

Of course, Administration’s need their fall guys, and it is clear that Greg Craig will be the one made to pay the price for the failure of the Obama Administration on clarifying detention and interrogation issues. But in a just world, the failure would be laid at the feet of Barack Obama. No one expects him to resign over this issue, of course. But he could and should take the responsibility that his being shifted to Greg Craig’s shoulders over this issue.

Previous post:

Next post: