It’s a fun word to say: “Guantánamo!”
Almost like “Geronimo!”
Of course, Guantánamo and Geronimo are nearly opposites. Geronimo was an iconic Native American warrior against the U.S. military. Guantánamo is the famous — or infamous — American military prison located at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
President Obama wants to shut the prison down. Why? Symbolism. He argues the prison “undermines” our national security by reminding the world of the harsh interrogation techniques used on prisoners — the Red Cross called it “torture” — and the indefinite detention of people — so far for 14 years — without any due process.
Republican presidential candidates countered, with Ted Cruz telling Obama, “Don’t shut down Gitmo, expand it and let’s have some new terrorists there.” Donald Trump promised, “We’re going to load [Gitmo] up”
Meanwhile, Obama’s plan to close Gitmo lacks any destination for more than a third of the remaining 91 prisoners. Apparently, part of the plan is to come up with the rest of the plan.
What’s not part of Obama’s plan? Ending the American policy of indefinitely incarcerating suspected terrorists and denying them any opportunity to defend themselves in either a civilian or military court. The president’s scheme is simply to relocate these detainees to U.S. soil and continue to hold them without charge — forever.
That’s why lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights panned Obama’s plan, which “does not ‘close Guantanamo.’ It merely relocates it to a new ZIP Code.”
The Guantánamo Bay facility isn’t the problem. Shut down the policy of holding people indefinitely without any system of justice. Let’s show the world more than symbolism; let’s give them (and ourselves) a little peek at truth, justice and the American Way.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
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Photo credit: marianne muegenburg cothern on Flickr