In his first full day as President, Barack Obama went to work dismantling former President George W. Bush’s policies and imprint upon the federal government.
A freeze on enforcing the tidal wave of pending regulations signed by Bush in his final days in office, a meeting with Pentagon officials to start work on withdrawal from the Iraq war, closing the controversial prison at Guantanimo, freezing White House pay and new restrictions on lobbying were among Obama’s initial moves.
And more will come in the coming days, weeks and months.
President Obama moved swiftly yesterday to begin rolling back eight years of his predecessor’s policies, ordering tough new ethics rules and preparing to issue an order closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which has been at the center of the debate over the treatment of U.S. prisoners in the battle against terrorism.
Acting to address several promises he made during his campaign, Obama met with top generals about speeding the withdrawal from Iraq and gathered his senior economic advisers as he continued to push for a massive spending bill to create jobs.
He also signed a series of executive orders and directives intended to slow the revolving door between government service and lobbying, and ordered his administration to share information more freely with the public.
Today, he will issue another order calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year, an immediate case-by-case review of the 245 detainees remaining there, and the application of new rules governing the treatment and interrogation of prisoners, including compliance with international treaties that the Bush administration deemed inapplicable to suspects in terrorism cases.
Just hours after his inauguration Tuesday, Obama ordered the suspension of all judicial proceedings at Guantanamo Bay under the auspices of the Bush administration’s military commissions system. What is to be done with the prisoners will be part of the review, sources said. Listed options include repatriation to their home nations or a willing third country, civil trials in this country, or a special civil or military system. Prisoners are to be released or transferred on a rolling basis as soon as individual cases are reviewed and determinations made as to whether the detainees can and should be prosecuted, and where.