Saturday, February 13, 2021

Gitmo Joe: I'm Old Enough to Remember When ...

With the start of a new administration comes the restart of the old failed effort to close Gitmo. We already did that for Obama's eight years. But apparently that doesn't count, so now Joe Biden has to step up to the plate.

Biden launches review of Guantanamo prison, aims to close it before leaving office

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Biden administration has launched a formal review of the future of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, reviving the Obama-era goal of closing the controversial facility, a White House official said on Friday.

-- snip --

“The NSC will work closely with the Departments of Defense, State, and Justice to make progress toward closing the GTMO facility, and also in close consultation with Congress,” [National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne] added.

-- snip --

Of the prisoners who remain, nine have been charged or convicted by military commissions. The most notorious is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, accused Sept. 11 mastermind. About two dozen have not been charged but have been deemed too dangerous to release.

Joe's options on closing Gitmo seem to come down to a very few. He could execute the remaining detainees, unlawful combatants that they are, and then close Gitmo. (That's my choice.)

He could move them to other countries, but that would require willing countries, and we've run out of those.

He could move them to a prison in the U.S., but there is a law against that and absolutely zero political appetite to change that law. Hell, even Bernie Sanders voted to prohibit funding to transfer, release, or incarcerate detainees detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to or within the United States. Really, that makes it unanimous. Nobody who wishes to get elected or reelected in these United States will vote to move the Gitmo gang here.

He could prosecute them in the US, but that didn’t work out so well the one time it was tried (here). Oh, the guy was convicted on a couple counts, but was also acquitted of 224 individual counts of murder that he'd committed by conducting the bombings that destroyed the American Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. That outcome does not fill me with confidence that we could risk sending even the 9/11 planner to trial.

What to do, what to do?

Maybe Joe should do nothing; it's usually best. There is lots of good advice about that here: Will Joe Biden Repeat Obama’s Mistake?


Anonymous said...

I'm having a lot of problems commenting, maybe I'm as stupid as I think I am.

TSB said...

Nah, it's just that there's nothing much to say. Biden is playing a rerun of Obama's eight year-long melodrama over having no good choice but to leave Gitmo alone. We've seen this show before, and it's hard to work up much interest for it the second time around.