Gitmo has got to go

Elizabeth Moore

The U.S. Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act last Tuesday, effectively denying President Obama the chance to follow through on his 2008 campaign promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility in Cuba. Both chambers of Congress have majorities large enough in support of the act that a veto from the President would ultimately be overridden. The only remaining course of action available to Obama may be to bypass Congressional approval with an executive order, an action that he can and should take in the name of national security and human rights.

As the commander in chief, it is within Obama’s delegated powers to decide upon the placement of detainees captured in a war approved by Congress. It is also his responsibility to strive to preserve the reputation of our country, and Guantanamo stands only to represent values antithetical to our own of morality and democracy. Prisoners have been tortured and held without due process — a legal travesty justified by its existence outside U.S. borders alone. Currently, 107 detainees remain imprisoned in Guantanamo, 56 of whom were cleared for release over five years ago by the president’s Guantanamo Review Task Force. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes all of our NATO partners as members, has taken notice of this prison as a glaring contradiction. In a 278-page report they have called for the transfer, prosecution or release of the remaining prisoners, calling their continued detention a violation of international standards and laws.

There is a possibility released prisoners might return to terrorist groups, lauded as heroes and inclined to commit future atrocities against the country that mercilessly detained them. However, the threat of existing terrorists returning is outweighed by the recruitment of more. Guantanamo, a symbol of American cruelty, is an incredible source of propaganda for extremist groups looking to recruit new members. Closing Gitmo would allow the United States to regain lost moral high ground and give potential terrorists one less reason to carry out attacks against our country.

Time is running out for Obama to secure his legacy. He should make the moves possible to ensure that this blight on the conscience of a nation devoted to human rights and democracy is dealt with appropriately. This is not a matter for Congress to unilaterally decide, it is one that our commander in chief should make and one that Obama in his last term is uniquely positioned to act upon. In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, the closure of Guantanamo would serve as a message to the world that the United States does not compromise its values in the face of fear, but stands on a firm ground of law and morality.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

Email Elizabeth Moore at [email protected]

Advertisement

3 COMMENTS

  1. The U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is still the best, safest and most secure place to keep unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us. The AUMF, Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare all say we may hold even lawful combatant POWs without charge or trial “until the end of hostilities.” We did this with over 400,000 lawful combatant POWs during WWII. We did this with lawful combatant Iraq soldiers after Operation Desert Storm. Gitmo detainees are LUCKY to be ALIVE, and could have all been legally shot dead on the battlefield. The humanity of Gitmo is that it exists at all. Over 660 detainees have been RELEASED, and NONE have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets or BURNED ALIVE. All things our enemies (colleagues of the detainees) have done to us and/or our allies. Gitmo is a small price to pay in the Global War on Terror to keep us safe. Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the will or means to kill us, we must defend ourselves. Gitmo is all about that self-defense. Sincerely, Montgomery J. Granger, Major, U.S. Army, Retired. Former ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint Task Force 160, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Author: “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.”

  2. Elizabeth, your typical liberal.

    Elizabeth, does it bother you one bit that many of the freed GITMO prisoners went back to Islamist terrorist groups and killed innocent people?

  3. Elizabeth…”time is running out to secure his legacy”. WHO CARES ABOUT HIS LEGACY? Obviously you do. A small footnote for you Elizabeth. We waterboarded 3 people at Gitmo. 3. As in 1,2,and yippie 3. And we got Bin Laden because of it. Ironic how our liberal hero prez spent a year campaining on Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive and we got Bin Laden because of water boarding. And it was done at Gitmo. Real war is scary as hell and splashing some water in the face of a murderer to prevent more murder is ok with me and should be ok with you. It allows you to sit in your coffee house sipping a non fat latte telling the world how bad we Americans are. I would love to read your article when we stop protecting ourselves.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here