The new president must first change the dynamic at Guantánamo by announcing a hard 18-month timetable to close the prison, and make the prison as transparent as possible for the remainder of its existence. These are meaningful actions that will signal a real change from the Bush administration’s policies, while allowing appropriate time to work through all the challenges of getting the Guantánamo population down to zero.
This move could come as soon as the Inaugural Address or the first week of the administration, meaning the target date for getting to zero would be around July 20, 2010. It changes the frame of the debate from “should we close Guantánamo” to “how do we get it done?” Establishing a firm date to close the prison starts the clock ticking, creating additional motivation to find solutions to even the most difficult challenges related to closing the prison.
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