Guantanamo, Obama, and Me
Over the next few weeks this column will attempt to touch on all of the immediate issues facing President-Elect Obama and his transition team. Obviously the economy looms large over Inauguration Day, but there is another topic that must addressed soon, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Established after prisoners were being rounded up in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, or Gitmo as it’s called, has been vilified by the Left and condemned by the World .The prisoners held in Gitmo have been given certain constitutional rights by the Federal Court and there is talk of bringing them here to be tried in our court system. One wonders why there would be some so eager to give these folks every possible break.
To be sure, if anyone of the Gitmo denizens were tried here, and convicted, they would be doing long stretches in federal prison, and would probably never see the light of day again. But what charges would they face here? The basis for holding them off of US soil is that they are “enemy combatants” with no country to claim and no reason to be engaging US troops within a third country’s borders. One of the popular rallying cries on the Left is the Geneva Convention.
Under the Convention’s rules, warring nations must have their troops clearly marked, and be part of a declared or defensive posture (Paraphrasing here). A majority in Cuba hold no status, and certainly weren’t “marked” on the battlefield. With these departures from the Convention on their part, why should US Laws and rights be applied to them? We will always adhere to the Convention, but these folks with no country’s citizenship, who have declared a hostile intent to the United States and the world, did not.
President Obama will have to deal with these folks sooner, rather than later. World opinion is that he should immediately close down the facility, let a majority of the detainees go, and try the rest either internationally, or under US Law. Others feel they should stay right where they are. These are bad folks and intend to bring harm to the United States, why bring them here for any reason? Releasing them to what they call their home countries is dangerous, too; how many detainees that have been released to a third country escaped? One would be too many.
Senator Obama is smart enough to realize that this could become a hot potato, one that could be a thorn in the first months of his administration’s side. This column feels that the status quo could be a good way to backburner the issue until we know exactly who we are, lets face it, inviting in to enjoy freedoms and rights that they don’t deserve or haven’t earned. In a country where some feel the ACLU has more influence than any of our religious institutions, there is the chance one of these combatants could actually be let go!
We also hope the President-Elect sees the same irony that this column does in a United States absorption of Gitmo detainees. The Mariel Boatlift filled South Florida and our prisons with the worst folks Cuba had to offer, and we couldn’t do anything about it. Now there are some who actively champion a repeat of a criminal exodus from Cuba to America’s shores. President Obama should keep them right where they are.