Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Friday, September 30, 2016

Sometimes the absurdities of an official policy or action are so clear that they need not be elucidated. Such is the case with the Obama administration’s maintenance of the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, a grotesque place that only the novelist Franz Kafka, who wrote brilliantly of nightmarish milieu, could adequately describe.

Last week, President Barack Obama told reporters that he intends to once again press Congress to close the facility, as he had promised to do in his first campaign. But there is no indication that the president intends to devote any of his remaining political capital to the task — any more than he did during his first term.

Still, Obama was right about this much: Everything about the prison is “contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop.” So, when will it be shut down? How long will the United States continue a policy that alienates our allies, inflames our enemies, and sullies our image as a defender of human rights around the world?

Most Americans tend to think of Guantánamo as a prison for murderous jihadists — those, for example, who helped Osama bin Laden carry out the 9/11 attacks. In fact, most of Guantánamo’s remaining 166 inhabitants are unlikely to ever be charged with any crime.

Indeed, 86 of them have already been fully or conditionally cleared for release by courts or government national security agencies. But most of those are Yemenis, and Obama doesn’t want to send them home for fear they will fall in with Yemen’s al Qaeda arm. So they are stuck in limbo.

(Here’s the irony: If they had not been kept so long in brutal confinement, they might have gone home as defenders of U.S. interests. After years of cruel detention, however, they might well be risks to U.S. security.)

Some of the other 80 or so detainees may be terrorists, but only six currently face military commissions. The government has reason to suspect others of terrorist connections, but it has little evidence it can use in court.

  • And just where would you like them to keep these guys? How about a local institution in your town.

    • idamag

      At one time, there were American Citizens who went to Russia and found themselves in jail for spying. They were held in prison, without a trial, for years. We should be above that. All of them should be brought to trial. As far as where they are housed, how about Alcatraz? It will hold them all.

    • lana ward

      Hey!! For once I agree with you : )

    • lana ward

      Google, Muslim Purchase of the United States Presidency. It is an article written by Valerie Jarretts’ father in law, Vernon Jarrett in 1979. Very interesting article

  • mike

    Good luck with restarting the process. 2014 around the corner and these gutless wonders won’t go near it. As the article said no one is innocent. But with large majorities in both bodies he still couldn’t get it done in his first two years. To understand how much BS he is as a leader go read Salon’s 2012 article “Obama’s GITMO myth” (Salon no friend of the right). Obama talks a big story but he sure doesn’t believe what he says.

    This announcement looks like another distraction so he won’t have to talk about the economy-slowest recovery since 1929. Lowest labor participation since 1979, high unemployment. Growth mediocre at best and weak.

    • Sand_Cat

      As I said before, your complaining about the “slow recovery” is like the anchor in the mud complaining that the ship isn’t moving fast enough.
      Most of the rest of your post, I agree with, more or less. Obama has not been a good Democratic leader; unfortunately, the viable alternatives in both elections were too terrifying to consider.

      • mike

        I can’t agree with you about Romney. He would have brought a breath of fresh air. I truly believe he would have helped bring parties together. I really believe new attitudes and belief in a good economy would have come forth. Just remember all polls show 60-70% wrong direction for country.
        I am only point out the economy is being held back from the uncertainty of Obamacare, massive fed regulations, energy prices going up-which effect costs and profits.

  • jgsoliveira

    America, the land of the free!

    • montanabill

      Unless you are on government welfare.

  • docb

    President Obama signed the EO to close Gitmo in Jan 2009..then congress did this:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/8/congress-deals-death-blow-gitmo-closure/

    After years of torture under bush/cheney..with half not being guilty of anything they are now our enemies for sure..Disgraceful!

  • Guantanamo, a modern-day concentration camp, and what goes on there, are an embarrassment for the USA. It should have never been built, it should have never been used, and the sooner we shut it down the better. To his credit, President Obama proposed to close it and transfer the remaining inmates to maximum security prisons in the USA. Republicans went nuts when he made that suggestion and accused him of endangering our national security. I guess the inmates are mini supermen capable of singlehandedly defeating our law enforcement officers, our armed forces, and the entire population of the USA.

    • lana ward

      Like Jay Leno said, Declare it a small business and tax it out of existance

  • montanabill

    Obama says… Obama promised…
    When are you folks going to wise up?

    • Sand_Cat

      We’ll wise up if you will. If the Republicans offered someone we could really believe wasn’t as looney as his party, you might get some traction. But too many “reasonable” Republicans (a true oxymoron these days) have shown themselves otherwise once in office for even a saint to have much chance running on that ticket.

      Actually, I haven’t been a fan of Obama for a long time, but the alternatives in his two elections don’t bear contemplating.

      • montanabill

        By inference, you deem the party of Biden, Pelosi, Weiner, Schumer, Conyers, Waters, Franken, Krugman, Clinton(s), et al, not looney and reasonable?