Originally posted by moon1969During his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised to close the US prison
I know there are public protests (with a few people) in the US against Guantanamo, but I have never actually been at one.
I just returned from being in Europe for 2 1/2 weeks with my two teenage kids. We walked by a Guantanamo protest (a small number of people with the hoods on) in London. My kids were like what is that. We saw a similar protest in Pa ...[text shortened]... re seemingly creepy, the fact that we operate Guantanamo seems even more creepy, and yes, evil.
Originally posted by Duchess64I have complained to the President and to congressional Democrats. Yet, my biggest complaint is against the Republican Party who plainly is the primary and biggest obstacle to closing Guantanamo.
During his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised to close the US prison
(or detention facility) at Guantanamo if he was elected US President.
If US President Barack Obama had kept his promise, then you (Moon1969)
would not have been made uncomfortable by the European protests.
So perhaps you would like to address your complaint to President Obama.
To repeat, as a matter of policy, the preference of the United States is to capture terrorist suspects. When we do detain a suspect, we interrogate them. And if the suspect can be prosecuted, we decide whether to try him in a civilian court or a Military Commission. During the past decade, the vast majority of those detained by our military were captured on the battlefield. In Iraq, we turned over thousands of prisoners as we ended the war. In Afghanistan, we have transitioned detention facilities to the Afghans, as part of the process of restoring Afghan sovereignty. So we bring law of war detention to an end, and we are committed to prosecuting terrorists whenever we can.
The glaring exception to this time-tested approach is the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. The original premise for opening GTMO – that detainees would not be able to challenge their detention – was found unconstitutional five years ago. In the meantime, GTMO has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law. Our allies won’t cooperate with us if they think a terrorist will end up at GTMO. During a time of budget cuts, we spend $150 million each year to imprison 166 people –almost $1 million per prisoner. And the Department of Defense estimates that we must spend another $200 million to keep GTMO open at a time when we are cutting investments in education and research here at home.
As President, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries, or imprisoning them in the United States. These restrictions make no sense. After all, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from GTMO with Congress’s support. When I ran for President the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO. No person has ever escaped from one of our super-max or military prisons in the United States. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism-related offenses, including some who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. Given my Administration’s relentless pursuit of al Qaeda’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened.
Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case by case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee.
Even after we take these steps, one issue will remain: how to deal with those GTMO detainees who we know have participated in dangerous plots or attacks, but who cannot be prosecuted – for example because the evidence against them has been compromised or is inadmissible in a court of law. But once we commit to a process of closing GTMO, I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.
I know the politics are hard. But history will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism, and those of us who fail to end it. Imagine a future – ten years from now, or twenty years from now – when the United States of America is still holding people who have been charged with no crime on a piece of land that is not a part of our country. Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?
Our sense of justice is stronger than that. We have prosecuted scores of terrorists in our courts. That includes Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up an airplane over Detroit; and Faisal Shahzad, who put a car bomb in Times Square. It is in a court of law that we will try Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of bombing the Boston Marathon. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, is as we speak serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison here, in the United States. In sentencing Reid, Judge William Young told him, “the way we treat you…is the measure of our own liberties.” He went on to point to the American flag that flew in the courtroom – “That flag,” he said, “will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom.”
Originally posted by moon1969Not really. Congress has no say. Gitmos is a military base, and the CIC can shut it down at will.
I have complained to the President and to congressional Democrats. Yet, my biggest complaint is against the Republican Party who plainly is the primary and biggest obstacle to closing Guantanamo.
Originally posted by normbenign to Moon1969Upon what basis would Congress have to approve (as Moon1969 implies)
Not really. Congress has no say. Gitmos is a military base, and the CIC can shut it down at will.
Originally posted by Duchess64An executive order would do. That is what they are for.
Upon what basis would Congress have to approve (as Moon1969 implies)
a US President's order to end the detention of people at Guantanamo?
If President Obama really wanted to keep his 2008 campaign promise,
couldn't he have found a way to do it by now (2013)?