One of the President Obama’s first promises was that he would close Guantanamo Bay. Closing Gitmo, which has been become a worldwide symbol of American abuse and intertwined with the horrors of Abu Ghraib, has been supported by military leaders and civil liberty activists alike. But once the rubber actually hit the road, cowardly representatives in congress decided that holding criminals without trial was good enough in far away places but not in their own state. Fortunately, the Democrats prevailed last week and congress has voted to allow detainees held in Guantanamo Bay onto American soil for prosecution
Republicans in the House have lost a bid to block the transfer of any detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay prison to the United States.
Instead, the House stood by a Democratic plan to allow suspected enemy combatants held at Guantanamo to be shipped to U.S. soil only to be prosecuted for their suspected crimes. President Barack Obama has ordered the facility closed in January but has yet to offer a plan to accomplish that.
Democratic leaders had to push hard for the win because many lawmakers see political danger in voting to move detainees from Guantanamo. The Republican plan failed on a 193-224 vote.
This is the first step but it can’t stop here. America should have the courage of our convictions. Bring all the war criminals here to the United States for a triall. If they are guilty then lock them up and throw away the key. If there is not enough evidence to hold them, then we have to release them. We have built a massive prison industry in America – largely used to lock up African Americans and the poor. You can’t tell me that we can’t find a place for international criminals. If other states are too chicken to hold those held on suspicion of terrorism then bring them to my state of New Jersey where so many people where affected by the events of 9/11 and the wars. We’ll keep an eye on them.
Closing Guantanamo is necessary to show the world that we are determined to lead the world not through military might, but in moral righteousness. Let’s do the right thing and close Gitmo.