Close Guantanamo? Don’t Rush to Judgment!

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President Barack Obama announced Tuesday his intention to close Naval Station Guantanamo Bay military prison (Gitmo) in Cuba. The prison has served as a detention camp for terrorists since shortly after the 9/11 attack. The population has been comprised of mostly al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. Gitmo is located in southeastern Cuba on the coast of, yes, Guantanamo Bay. A chronological track of Guantanamo Bay can be found here.

The closure announcement marks the second attempt to shutter the facility in roughly 7 years. There was a failed January, 2009 Obama executive order with the same intent. The order was sidetracked ten months later after prisoner relocation problems and the refusal of Congress to fund it.

Early indications are that in the time remaining of his “lame duck” administration, this closure attempt will be deja vu all over again as Marco Rubio went into hysterics upon hearing the news, and John Kasich characterized the detainees as “the worst of the worst” thereby relegating vicious murderers who hacked their victims to pieces after torturing and killing them, to runner-up status.

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Republican legislators predictably stood in line to denounce the move. Their numbers were joined by a few Democrats.

The U.S. has leased the 45 acres that Gitmo stands on for about 113 years. Guantanamo Bay came into existence 4 months after 9/11. Nearly 800 terrorists have been housed at Gitmo over the years. Some 90 or so remain. There have been suicides, hunger strikes and at least one heart attack, but few charges. The president intends to ship some of the residents off to foreign prisons. Those left over would be held in assorted U.S. prisons. Named as potential detention centers were the federal facility in Leavenworth, Kansas, a Naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina and a couple of Colorado prisons and the possible revival of an old choice that we’ll examine later.

As reported, Rubio and Kasich, and other overwrought elected official types were inconsolable. “Terrorists in our prisons; right here in the USA?” Unthinkable!

A little 20th century history music please. If the Nazi military machine wasn’t a terrorist organization, I don’t know what was. Our military lost, as in met with violent deaths, almost 300,000 wonderful young men and some women as well, in that action. Most were killed by the Germans. Nearly 700,000 were injured. That’s a combined million plus casualties.

My dog-eared Webster’s describes ‘terrorists’ as “appalling persons or things committed to violence in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands.” Pretty much covers the Nazi’s, wouldn’t you agree?

After the Nazi’s slaughtered our American heroes, we captured a number of those ‘terrorists’ and put them in prisons. Prisons located in virtually every state in the union. A total of 425,000 German POW’s occupied 700 camps in 46 states. Most were confined in barbwire spaces with a single watchtower. And we can’t safely accommodate a few dozen bad guys, no matter their intentions in modern prisons with high caliber weaponry and solitary confinement cells that render an individual essentially helpless?

Here’s that interesting prison sidebar I wrote about earlier. It merits further scrutiny. A month before initially attempting to shutter Gitmo, Obama declared that it was the administration’s intention to house around 100 detainees in a little used prison, the Thomson Correctional Center, located in an Illinois city by the same name. Congress again refused to fund the effort and it never materialized.

In January of 2015, word came out that the feds had purchased this humble joint for $165 million, with every intention of turning into a high security showplace with all the latest institutional bells and whistles designed to house, as Kasich put it, “The worst of the worst.” It’s an interesting piece of timing that this “state-of-the-art, maximum security prison” would spring up and be ready for the worst of the worst at the same time the closing of Gitmo was near the top of the president’s agenda.

The Website, Counterpunch has been reporting that the facility has appointed a warden and will supposedly be operational sometime in 2016. The site pointed out that the Justice Department has referred to the facility as “ADX USP Thomson”, a designation that would suggest the highest level of security for the likes of those with terrorism convictions.

A new home for a few Gitmo grads, or, come to think of it, ISIS? As usual, there appears to be a whole lot of stuff going on that we’re not aware of.

As Alice once exclaimed, things are getting “Curiouser and curiouser.”