Monday, February 29, 2016

CLOSING DOWN - Guantanamo

"Inside Obama’s plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center" PBS NewsHour 2/23/2016

Read "Congressional Republicans" as fear mongers.


SUMMARY:  President Obama announced plans Tuesday to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, asserting that its existence undermines national security.  The proposal -- which would send the facility’s remaining 91 detainees to domestic U.S. sites -- would fulfill the president’s 2008 promise to close the prison, but Congressional Republicans have been vocal in their opposition.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  From President Obama today came a fresh appeal to — quote — “close a chapter at Guantanamo.”  From Republicans came an outright refusal.  It all focused on a fight that’s gone at least as long as he’s been President.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  For many years, it’s been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay doesn’t advance our national security.  It undermines it.

GWEN IFILL:  For the President, it may be his final chance to keep a 2008 campaign promise, shutting down the military prison at Guantanamo.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  It’s counterproductive to our fight against terrorists, because they use it as propaganda in their efforts to recruit.  It drains military resources, with nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running, and more than $200 million in additional costs needed to keep it open going forward for less than 100 detainees.

GWEN IFILL:  At its peak in 2003, Guantanamo held 680 detainees.  Today, 91 prisoners remain at the detention facility; 35 are expected to be transferred out by this summer.

The President’s new proposal would send the remaining detainees to an unspecified facility inside the United States.  It speaks of 13 potential sites, including civilian prisons and military bases, but makes no recommendation.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  The notion of having terrorists held in the United States, rather than in some distant place, can be scary.  But part of my message to the American people here is, we’re already holding a bunch of really dangerous terrorists here in the United States, because we threw the book at them, and there have been no incidents.  We have managed it just fine.

GWEN IFILL:  Then-President George W. Bush first ordered foreign terror suspects held at Guantanamo after 9/11.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now.

GWEN IFILL:  But in one of his first acts as President, Mr. Obama signed an executive order to shut it down.  Today, he pointed out that, early on, the decision appeared to have bipartisan backing.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  My predecessor, President Bush, to his credit, said he wanted to close it.  It was one of the few things that I and my Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, agreed on.

GWEN IFILL:  But McCain and others have never backed this President’s solution, and have even passed a law that would bar moving detainees to American soil.

"How do lawmakers feel about the plan to close Guantanamo?" PBS NewsHour 2/23/2016


SUMMARY:  Following President Obama’s announcement that he will fulfill his longstanding promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Capitol Hill lawmakers have been torn between support and opposition.  Gwen Ifill talks to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Col.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) for their perspectives on the proposed shutdown and what it could mean for the detainees.

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