Since Obama took office in 2009, these people said, Pentagon officials have been throwing up bureaucratic obstacles to thwart the president's plan to close Guantanamo.The problem is, the actual things the report cites sound like genuine legal concerns. A big part of this may be the President's penchant for ignoring inconvenient laws running up against the military's penchant for running everything by the SJA as an ordinary part of the staffing process. It's hard to get the Pentagon to do things that are legal but only questionably so, or debatably so. Even at lower levels of organization a lot of cover needs to be available before people take risky actions. The closer you get to the guy on the field of battle, the more freedom there is. The higher you go, the more the legal structure ossifies and the decision-making process becomes averse to running legal risks.
Negotiating prisoner releases with the Pentagon was like "punching a pillow," said James Dobbins, the State Department special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2013 to 2014. Defense Department officials "would come to a meeting, they would not make a counter-argument," he said. "And then nothing would happen."...
When the State Department added the four Afghans to a list of detainees prioritized for transfer in the summer of 2013, Defense Department officials resisted. At a meeting at the Pentagon, a mid-level Defense Department official said transferring the four "might be the president's priority, but it's not the Pentagon's priority or the priority of the people in this building," according to current and former administration officials present at the meeting.
In general, that's not a bad thing. It's good if the military is restrained by the law. Places where it has not been have not always turned out well. Willingness to obey 'the leader's orders' instead of the law is not healthy.
Besides, there's this:
Afterwards, State Department officials began referring to them as the "JV four" or "Junior Varsity four," for their seeming lack of importance to Taliban fighters.Hmm, there's that "JV" again. I understand that none of these people apparently have military experience, so that college or high-school metaphors are all that work for their thought process. But don't you understand that the Junior Varsity often becomes the Varsity later in their career? That's why schools bother with a JV team: as a training ground and feeder for future star players on the big field.
With judgment like this, it would not be surprising if a few feet got drug in the Pentagon.