On Monday, the Obama administration announced that President Obama would veto a defense authorization bill if it did not close down Guantanamo Bay. White House press secretary Josh Earnest explained that the House funding bill would be vetoed “principally because…of the irresponsible way that it funds our national defense priorities, but also because of the efforts to prevent the closure [of] the prison at Guantanamo Bay.” He added that Democrats would sustain Obama’s veto, and defense authorization would die. Obama’s strong stand on Gitmo underscores two vital points. First, President Obama does not fear defunding America’s national security. Second, Obama does not fear Republicans in Congress.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has been authorized for five decades running. The current NDAA fully funds the military through a workaround measure, thanks to President Obama’s demands that a huge chunk of sequestration cuts come from defense funding. Now Democrats complain that the workaround measure isn’t good enough: Republicans should bust open the bank again. But that’s not Obama’s main criticism of the NDAA. He has long had a bug in his ear with regard to Gitmo, which he feels has strengthened terrorists’ feelings about the evils of the United States. Given his recent moves to parlay with the Cuban dictatorship as well, Obama may want to hand Gitmo in totality back to the Cuban government. The fact that Obama would be willing to dramatically cut America’s military funding, even as Russia takes over Ukraine and Syria, as Iran gears up for a big regional military push, as China continues its aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, demonstrates Obama’s top priority is doing leftist work, not protecting the United States. CONTINUE