Opinion

Commentary: Time to close Guantanamo

Detainees hold onto a fence at the maximum security prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Detainees hold onto a fence at the maximum security prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.

President-elect Obama has already begun to look at options for closing the black hole of injustice known to the world as Guantanamo Bay. That planning is welcome, because once in office, the sooner President Obama can close Guantanamo, the better.

The Bush administration has used the prison camp to hold hundreds of alleged "enemy combatants" without trial in the never-ending "war" on terrorism. If the Bush administration had its way, the U.S. government could hold those suspects without trial, without any due process, until the "war" is over – which is to say, possibly forever. According to President Bush, Guantanamo is not on U.S. soil, and the inmates are not U.S. citizens, so they have no rights, not even the ones guaranteed around the world by the Geneva conventions.

U.S. courts have rejected the Bush administration's claim to that kind of totalitarian power. If the U.S. government is going to lock people up for years, the government must show some proof they are in fact guilty of something.

The Bush administration has already admitted that many of those at Guantanamo are not terrorists or "enemy combatants." As former Guantanamo commander Gen. Jay Hood told the Wall Street Journal, "Sometimes, we just didn't get the right folks."

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.

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