President Obama’s policy (as of today) with regard to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility seems to me to be summarizable in the following way:
The use of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay has damaged the reputation of the United States around the world. The U.S. has compromised its principles by detaining people there. We can do better. We will try those who we can in the U.S. court system. We will use military tribunals to decide the fate of a select few. We will repatriate certain others, or persuade other nations to detain them in some manner. In the end, I know we will still be left with some individuals who cannot be dealt with in these ways. These are individuals who cannot be tried in our courts due to a lack of conventional evidence and charges, but who we know all the same to be dangerous men. I, as President, will not under any circumstances risk the security of Americans by letting these individuals go free, given their potential to cause great harm. Therefore we will find a way to legally detain them, here in the U.S., in maximum security prisons, for as long as may be necessary.
The above is no attempt to caricature or to mock the president’s policy, but simply an attempt to state it briefly and fairly based on his own recent remarks and those of members of his administration.
I wonder, however, at what point all those who have been calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay (some since late in 2001) will realize the implications of President Obama’s policy, if and when it is fully realized. Continue reading President Barack Obama and the Right to Trial