Close Guantánamo Bay Prison — $37o Million
Closing Guantánamo Bay prison was a key promise in President Obama’s first term. And he signed an order to make that happen almost as soon as he became president.
But it didn’t happen.
“The problem is Congress, for three consecutive years, has denied the president funding to move the detainees from Guantánamo Bay,” said Scott Silliman, an appellate judge at the United States Court of Military Commission Reviews.
Critics point out that the president could return many of the prisoners to the countries of their origin on his own, a move that could end up with some “returning to the battlefield.”
However, the tide may be turning and it may soon become possible for the government to save $3.73 billion over 10 years by transferring the detainees to other federal prisons. Republican senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and John McCain (R-AZ) — who also promised to close the prison during his own presidential campaign — voted with Senate Democrats in November to make it easier for the president to close the facility.
Even without Congress’ help, if the president just transferred the 84 prisoners who have been cleared to be returned home, we would save $2 billion.
The $5 billion we’ve spent on Guantánamo has created a legal and logistical mess that symbolizes the failed paradigm of the War on Terror. If we’re ever to have any hope of rebuilding at home, this is the first step we should take.
Copyright 2013 The National Memo