March 1, 2009  

Goodbye Gitmo

TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA for ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and all overseas CIA detention centers. Without question, this is the right thing to do for U.S. moral authority and for the safety of our troops. It will be a complex and difficult task to deliver, however. The administration is likely to find it a difficult task re-housing prisoners in the U.S. once proponents of closing the facility in Cuba exhibit signs of “not-in-my-backyard” syndrome. The administration’s stated intention of closing Guantanamo by January is also optimistic. And while a full assessment of Bush administration policies in this regard is warranted, the emphasis now should be forward-looking. Vendettas against agents and interrogators, soldiers or intel personnel for doing what they had been told was legal in the past should not be allowed. The president should also expand his order to include ending the policy of rendition — the nonjudicial extradition of suspects to other countries where aggressive techniques may be practiced.