Obama made a 2007 campaign promise to close Guantanamo within one year of taking office.
It is now 2013. The President’s rhetoric has softened substantially. Obama “continues to believe” that Guantanamo should be closed, but Congress, he says, refuses to take the necessary steps to make this a reality.
Guantanamo. The reigning symbol of the War on Terror and political hot potato/bogeyman makes its perennial round through Washington. Occasionally, the news media revisits the issue (in between reporting celebrity scandals and haircuts, of course).
I have free speech. And I’m gonna use it: As a nation, should we not be more concerned about the 166 people detained there? Should we not be concerned about what their indefinite imprisonment communicates to the world about American jurisprudence? In particular, should we not address the murky legal grounds by which 86 of the detainees, cleared three years ago of wrongdoing, continue to be held? Are we tough on terror? Are we just confused out of our minds?
Yes, there are national security questions—very real and relevant questions, especially in the wake of the Boston attack—which must be considered in the instance of repatriation. (I’m not suggesting we be lax on national security, not by any measure.) Where will the prisoners go once released? Are they a threat to American national security at this point (wouldn’t umpteen years of being locked up tend to radicalize somebody in some scary ways)? What about the unfortunates who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time?
While we wail and moan about Monsanto and genetically engineered foods, 100 Guantanamo detainees are currently using the last means at their disposal to make a statement: a hunger strike.
I’m looking to start a dialogue here. I would love to hear any ideas you may have.
Here is a brief clip from The Daily Show, entitled “In Limbo.”
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Ed: Brianna Bemel