It’s nice to want things, President Obama, it’s sure nice to want things…
Through legislation and various executive actions President Barack Obama has greatly impacted public policy for his eight years in office. But the one piece of legislation that has always eluded him was the closing of Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba. Much like how those asshole children won’t give that cartoon rabbit some of their sugary cereal, a GOP led Congress has blocked President Obama anytime he has tried to push legislation to close Guantanamo. So how does he plan on doing it this time? Here’s our 10-Point Expert on President Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay Prison.
Point 1: For those that don’t know, Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba was established in 2002 by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a prison camp to detain dangerous individuals – more or less from terrorist organizations – to interrogate and persecute detainees for war crimes against the United States.
Point 2: Over the last couple of years, the existence of black site prisons like Guantanamo Bay, has come under scrutiny from many in the US over the treatment of detainees saying that many of them have been abused and/or tortured, which would violate international law under the Geneva Conventions. Some of these “enhanced interrogation” practices that were being practiced on detainees at Guantanamo include force feedings through plastic tubes and most famously waterboarding, which simulates the sensation of being drowned.
Point 3: After these incidents at Guantanamo surfaced onto the international stage, many have criticized the existence of Guantanamo Bay Prison as being a symbolic “black eye” for the United States and destroying US credibility around the world. That is why President Obama believes it’s best to close down Guantanamo Bay Prison to put this past the US so as a nation it can move on.
Point 4: The Obama administration has introduced legislation that would systematically close down Guantanamo Bay Prison by transferring its detainees – which are currently indefinitely detained – from the Cuban prison site to high security prisons in the US.
Point 5: Currently there are 91 prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay Prison. Under President Obama’s plan, the current detainees would be transferred to various places which breakdown in various ways.
Point 6: Under the plan, 35 detainees would be transferred to other foreign countries. This, of course, would have to be approved by the Department of Defense and other relevant agencies to make sure the transfers are appropriately handled. It’s important to note that in President Obama’s current plan to close down Guantanamo, it does not specify which countries the prisoners would go to.
Point 7: Also in the plan, 22 current detainees would face a US military tribunal or US Domestic trial. While the Obama administration has expressed their preference for individuals to be tried in civil court, they have put in the stipulation of military tribunals to appease conservatives in Congress in hopes that they support the Guantanamo Bay closure. But out of the 91 prisoners, there would 10 detainees that would be tried under US military tribunal, without question.
Point 8: Yet the vaguest part of the Obama administration’s plan to close down Guantanamo revolves around the status of 34 detainees. Their cases have yet to be resolved, but it’s a safe bet to assume that they would share a similar fate as the other detainees that have been outlined by President Obama’s plan.
Point 9: With all that said, the GOP controlled Congress hasn’t been attentive to Guantanamo Bay Prison closing in the past and that doesn’t look to change. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan made his thoughts very clear on the matter putting out a press release stating that President Obama’s Guantanamo Bay proposal was “against the law” and saying “Congress has left no room for confusion, it is against the law.”
Point 10: Truthfully there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell that a GOP controlled Congress passes President Obama’s Guantanamo Bay closure plan. There are multiple reasons why President Obama’s plan is a hard sell this year, from it being incredibly vague – though that’s the GOP’s fault for adding language in this year’s Defense budget which makes it illegal to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the US for trial or jail them on US soil – to it being an election year which many conservatives in Congress doesn’t want to risk the proposition of reelection. When President Obama’s term ends in a couple of months, the closing of Guantanamo Bay Prison will probably end up being one of his biggest legislative promises he regrets not being able to follow through on. For the GOP controlled Congress, they look to be ok with that.
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