Speaking truth with power.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guantanmo Bay to Close

In one of his first major acts as President, Barack Obama has agreed to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. Obama acted quickly in his first week, moving to shut down the controversial prison, making good on a recurring promise from his campaign. Humanitarian groups have decried Gitmo since shortly after it opened. And with the stroke of Obama's pen, this issue has finally been put to bed, and settled forever. We'll never have to think about Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, or "Gitmo," ever again.

Except not at all. Shortly after Obama signed this executive order, the NY Times reported about one Said Ali al-Shihri. Said Ali al-Shihri was a prisoner freed from Guantanamo, who is now a deputy leader of al-qaeda's Yemeni branch. Of course this is what happened. After all, Gitmo wasn't exactly the Hilton. Hell, put me in an orange jumpsuit, and trot me around the hot Cuban sun for six or seven years, and I'm liable to start changing, "Death to America" too.

Obama, however, didn't really have much choice in the matter. Gitmo was a taint on America's values and image abroad. It had to be shut down. It cannot, however, be forgotten. Nor can the detainees simply be set free. As Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan said last week that Guantánamo detainees who were moved to the United States “should be held at maximum-security federal facilities wherever they are available.”

It appears the legacy of Gitmo will unfortunately remain with us for a very long time. It seems the same can be said for its prisoners.


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