Somebody, please explain why it’s so important for President Obama to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.  I don’t understand.  I’m baffled.  Does it matter where the prison is located?

The president campaigned on this subject in 2008.   He got nowhere with the than Democratic-controlled Congress.  Now he’s trying to resurrect this issue again.  I guess he wants to bolster his dwindling legacy.

Writing about his press conference in early May, Maureen Dowd, the equal opportunity skewer columnist for the N.Y. Times, said:

“Obama discussed another issue where he came across like a frustrated witness to history, rather than shaper of it.  After putting the moral quandary aside for political reasons, he finally began urging once more that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be closed.  A hundred prisoners there, held for a decade without trial, are on a hunger strike, some being force-fed Ensure through tubes in their noses, despite opprobrium from the American Medical Association.

“Dianne Feinstein, who leads the Senate Intelligence  Committee, sent a letter to the White House Thursday urging the administration to review the status of 86 low-level detainees who were designated for potential transfer more than three years ago but remain in Cuba.

“Asked about the hunger strike, the former constitutional law professor in the White House expressed the proper moral outrage at holding so many men “in no-man’s land in perpetuity.”  But it sounded as though he didn’t fully understand his own policy.

“Closing Guantanamo doesn’t address the fundamental problem of rights.  Obama’s solution, blocked by Congress, is to move the hornet’s nest to a Supermax prison in Illinois—dabbed “Gitmo North”—and keep holding men as POWs in a war that has no end.  They’re not hunger-striking for a change in scenery.

“It’s true that Congress put restrictions on transfers of individuals to other countries with bad security situations.  But, since 2012, Congress has granted authority to the Secretary of Defense to waive those restrictions on a case-by-case basis.  The administration hasn’t made use of that power once.  So it’s a little stale to blame Congress at this point.

“The senior senator from Kentucky has been a leader in Keep-Terrorists-Offshore. Maybe, if the president really wants to close Gitmo, he should have a drink with Mitch McConnell.  Really.”

I completely understand no one wants to be in prison even though their living, dietary, health and medical conditions are better than they have ever had in their lives.  Their confinement is an outcome of their actions as enemy combatants.

They aggressively participated in actions to try and kill us.  So be it.  And if they die in Guantanamo from hunger or old age, why do we need to care.  The prisons in their countries are despicable, inhumane pits.  We have nothing to be ashamed of.

Have any of them renounced their past activities?  Are so many still there because their home countries are unwilling to take them back?  Is it because they’re still trouble makers?

I think we can move on to a number of other more real problems that need presidential leadership.



Filed under Blog


  1. Carl Godlewski

    You ask important questions and then dismiss them as if it doesn’t matter how they are answered.
    Most of your questions can be answered with due process that is generally afforded to all criminals no matter how we classify them. That is how the American justice system works. Okay, they may not be Americans and probably they intend to hurt us but wouldn’t the right thing be to find out if that indeed is the case and how severe their wrongdoing was. I guess according to you we should have just summarily imprisoned for life or executed all German and Japanese POWs during WWII. After all, many of them committed equal if not greater damage to Americans.

    I’m not comfortable with indefinite confinement with no due process. That is what “Gitmo” means and that’s why it needs to be closed and the prisoners brought to the US and accused of wrong doing and if convicted, sentence with penalties commiserate with their crimes.

    I’m less concerned with Obama’s legacy (which I feel will be pretty damn solid) and more concerned about America’s standing in the world as a country of law irrespective of who the accused is.

  2. Art Schartz

    Always good to hear from you Carl. A number of people agree with your position, but not Congress who I believe have more facts than we do. See my e-mail for more

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