Once President Obama signed the bill that honored his campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay; we were subjected to the pros and cons, morality and immorality, necessity and lack of necessity, ad nauseum. Blame was passed from administration to agency to individuals like a bottle of whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day. What seems to be lost amidst this finger pointing was the fact that nobody has proposed a definitive plan to close Guantanamo Bay. The conflict is not only restricted to party ideology, but to the promised assistance of our European allies as well. Though the Democrats and Republicans certainly have different views on how the closing should be handled; our friends from Europe have begun to backpedal away from their promises as well.
According to William Blaberson and Steven Erlenger of the New York Times; a delegation of countries called the European Union is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in Washington on Monday. Among the countries attending are Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, and others. Previously encouraged; Secretary of State Clinton must now contend with questions regarding the status of these individuals than originally anticipated. These questions and concerns are legitimate ones and stem from the absence of complete disclosure from the Bush administration. Could it be they have a problem with the word of GW, Cheney, and Rumsfeld? Go figure! Though the Obama administration has taken a much different approach than the Bush administration; that being the admission of unlawful detentions. They still have yet to propose a plan that will put a stop to this blatant violation of human rights.
As reported by CBS News; in 2008, the Bush administration admitted that many prisoners (I refuse to refer to them as detainees) were cleared for release but there was no plan to safely place them anywhere. Many of these prisoners could not return to their homeland for fear of reprisal and mistreatment by their governments. Case in point: 17 Uighurs, a small Chinese Muslim group, were captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan. As far back as 2001, they were deemed to be no threat to the United States. To phrase it another way; these people were mistakenly captured and have been imprisoned for over 8 years. What puzzles me, rather angers me, is the fact that the Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with the U.S. Marshalls, have the power and the resources to provide a new identity and location for the likes of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. Gravano, one of the most notorious hit men in the history of Organized Crime was granted this opportunity (he later left the program), but we are unable to afford this same opportunity to the Uighurs.
For the sake of brevity; I will close with my feelings toward the European Union. I respect the concerns of most of these countries but I do have difficulty with the reservations of Germany and France. We are talking about them accepting responsibility for a maximum of 7 human beings. Has Germany forgotten who was responsible for the reconstruction of their country after WWII? France, who we liberated during WWII, have consistently denied even our minute requests ever since. During our “Line in the Sand” conflict with Libya; we requested that our planes be allowed to fly over French airspace-DENIED! If it were up to me, I would have flown over anyway and accidentally dropped a few 3,000 pounders on that ungrateful nation.
While I applaud President Obama’s pledge to close Gitmo; he would have been better served having a definitive plan in place before making this promise. If we are going to accept responsibility for these travesties; then we should also devise a resolution. And if the European Union is willing to offer a helping hand; we should provide them with an answer to any question they have. Regardless, if we have the capability to provide safe havens for admitted killers; we should certainly be able to provide the same for those we have so obviously wronged.