Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Closing Gitmo

Let me just say that I agree with everything that Kevin Drum says in this post about Obama's decision to close Guantanamo Bay on his first full day in office.

1) Guantanamo Bay really is a disgrace to anyone who's been paying attention. The Uighars, for example, are a group of men who fell victim to a long-running feud with a rival clan. The rival clan told the US military that the Uighars were secretly Taliban, a claim that they knew to be false. The US, with no evidence besides this clan's say-so, rounded up all the Uighar men, brought them to Gitmo, tortured them, and eventually realized that all of these people were completely innocent of the allegations against them. Not just that there wasn't evidence to prove them guilty, but that there was overwhelming evidence they're completely innocent. 7 years later, they're all still in solitary confinement at Gitmo, because Afghanistan doesn't want them back, and no other countries are willing to take them as refugees. So we just decided to keep them locked up, in prison, indefinitely, knowing they're innocent. The entire world knows this, and the sooner we start to make ammends, the better.

2) Closing the base the right way will take time. There's the refugee problem I talked about above. There are people who have been tortured to the point that their 'confessions' and 'information' are simply useless. And then there are just genuinely dangerous people that need to be tried, in a real court, for their crimes and dealt with appropriately. This will take time (the Obama team estimates a year), and rightly so: something this complicated just doesn't happen overnight, not when you want to do it the right way. People who complain that the base doesn't close the very same day Obama issues the order are letting their ideology blind them to reality.

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