On Tuesday President Obama announced his plan to close Guantanamo Bay, nearly eight years after he first promised to shutdown the facility.
“The plan we’re putting forward today isn’t just about closing the facility at Guantanamo. It’s not just about dealing with the current group of detainees, which is a complex piece of business because of the manner in which they were originally apprehended and what happened. This is about closing a chapter in our history,” he said during short remarks at the White House.
The President’s plan involves transferring the bulk of the current 91 detainees to foreign countries. Those deemed too dangerous would be held in a facility somewhere in the United States.
“It is against the law — and it will stay against the law — to transfer terrorist detainees to American soil,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Ryan is ignoring the fact that many terrorists have been held in detention centres on American soil, including Timothy McVeigh.
“Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values,” Obama said. “It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law.”
In a bill passed last year, Congress offered the chance for the Obama Administration to come up with a plan for the future of Guantanamo Bay, although they have blocked previous attempts to close the facility.
“The Department of Defense has been working very diligently with other components of the president’s national security team to put together a thoughtful, workable, sensible plan that reflects the national security interests of the United States and reflects the responsibility that the United States government has to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last week.
Democratic Presidential nominee Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for one has made it clear that closing Guantanamo Bay is a step in the right direction.
Guantanamo has damaged our moral standing and undermined our foreign policy. I’m glad to see a plan to shut it down. https://t.co/7ktovDP7TU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 23, 2016
[CNN] [USA Today] [Business Insider]