The hunger strikes at Guantanamo may prove the biggest test of Obama's "endless war on terror" policies that have centered on concluding the two big conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but also continues to keep the Guantanamo Bay terror prison open.
I have now been to Guantánamo six times. Nothing I've seen has changed my view that the military commissions are unworkable. The system is set up to guarantee convictions and hand down death sentences, nothing more.
By refusing to demonstrate leadership on the issues, Obama has played into the hands of his opponents. The losers are not just the Dems, but the prisoners at GITMO, who now seem more abandoned than at any time since GITMO's first years.
The majority of the men held at Guantánamo had no involvement with terrorism. Of the three men rehoused in Albania, one was a businessman, living in Europe, who had traveled to Afghanistan to provide humanitarian aid.
Obama is fortunate to have such kind allies, but he himself is the loser, the longer he refuses to tackle those who insist, in the face of overwhelming evidence, that everyone who was held at Guantánamo was a "terrorist."
The Obama administration is embracing the same malleable, elastic concept of a global "war on terror" that helped give rise to Guantánamo in the first place and that has no basis under the laws of war.