Guantanamo is a situation created by Republicans, solutions for which are opposed by Republicans and used by Republicans as another unfair charge against Obama.
The Bush administration used a piece of a foreign country from which the host nation has been trying to evict us for over half a century as a dumping ground for anyone suspected of posing a risk to the U.S. The fact that the Bush administration released over half of their detainees without charges attests to the cavalier attitude taken in imprisoning these people to begin with.
The Bush administration simultaneously claimed that we were at war with the terrorists but that the prisoners of this war were not protected by the Geneva Convention. Because the prisoners were held out of the country and were not considered prisoners of war, the Bush administration declared themselves free from any standards of human decency and proceeded to torture the prisoners.
The torture of the prisoners did not guarantee any valuable intelligence, but it did guarantee that the U.S. could not use any of their statements in any legitimate tribunal either against the tortured prisoner or against any other prisoner reported on by the tortured prisoner. The torture also guaranteed the enmity of the rest of the civilized world.
When Bush's term was finally over, congressional Republicans and local Republican politicians took up the fight by refusing to support either detaining the prisoners on U.S. soil or trying them in U.S. civilian courts. To suggest that U.S. federal prisons were inadequate to the job of holding high-risk prisoners is ludicrous as is the notion that trying these accused terrorists in a civilian court is a threat to our centuries old judicial system.
Under these impossible circumstances, Obama has none the less made progress in fulfilling his pledge to close Guantanamo. He has assigned a handful of prisoners to the few countries willing to take them. He cannot send the bulk of them back to their native countries because whether these prisoners were terrorists when they were imprisoned, a decade of incarceration and harsh interrogation has made many of them into terrorists. He has also established rules for military tribunals, which will uphold the American standards of justice, but that wasn't sufficient for some Republicans.
And finally, after creating this tremendous stain on the reputation of our nation, the Republicans are criticizing Obama because he is not fixing their problem fast enough. This is another instance of the arsonists criticizing the fire department.
Written in collaboration with Frank Suttell.
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