Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gitmo and "The American People"

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts.  It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.

Now, Congress determined that they would not let us close it -- and despite the fact that there are a number of the folks who are currently in Guantanamo who the courts have said could be returned to their country of origin or potentially a third country.

I'm going to go back at this. I've asked my team to review everything that's currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively. And I'm going to reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that's in the best interest of the American people. And it's not sustainable.

The notion that we're going to continue to keep over a hundred individuals in a no-man's land in perpetuity, even at a time when we've wound down the war in Iraq, we're winding down the war in Afghanistan, we're having success defeating al-Qaeda core, we've kept the pressure up on all these transnational terrorist networks, when we've transferred detention authority in Afghanistan -- the idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried, that is contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop.

Now, it's a hard case to make because I think for a lot of Americans the notion is out of sight, out of mind. And it's easy to demagogue the issue. That's what happened the first time this came up. I'm going to go back at it because I think it's important.  

News Conference by the President, James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, Washington, DC. Link to full remarks just to the right of this colon: News Conference by the President | The White House

So I ask any representatives of "The American People" to weigh in here. Shut Gitmo down or not?  Do something about the prisoners or do nothing and let the chips fall where they may? And: why?

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.


Charles Gramlich said...

Shut it down! This doesn't mean all the prisoners should go free, but it means we need to decide and make it clear exactly who they are.

Erik Donald France said...

Agreed on all fronts. Thanks, Charles, for weighing in ~!