Joe Biden is taking a stealthy “under the radar” approach to closing the Guantanamo military detention center in Cuba, according to NBC News. The facility still houses about 40 terrorists, including the 9/11 plotters.
The president would like to accomplish the task before the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The president has not informed Congress of his intent to close the detention facility–and for good reason. Barack Obama entered office promising to close Gitmo within a year. When he announced he was going to transfer the prisoners to U.S. mainland prisons, the bipartisan outcry in Congress forced him to shelve those plans. Both parties refused to fund the transfer and that’s where the matter has stood since 2016.
Biden is taking the stealthy approach because he doesn’t want to distract from his radical agenda. A former senior administration official said, “They don’t want it to become a dominant issue that blows up.” He added, “They don’t want it to become a lightning rod. They want it to be methodical, orderly.”
The administration hopes to transfer a handful of the remaining terrorism suspects to foreign countries, the people familiar with the discussions said, and then persuade Congress to permit the transfer of the rest — including 9/11 suspects — to detention on the U.S. mainland. Biden hopes to close the facility by the end of his first term, the people familiar with the discussions said.
But even though just 40 people are left at Gitmo, the Biden administration faces many of the same obstacles that doomed President Barack Obama’s much more public effort to close it a dozen years ago.
Those “obstacles” include the American people, who are decisively against closing the detention facility. A 2016 CNN poll showed 56 percent of Americans opposed closing Guantanamo while 40 percent supported it.
And transferring prisoners to countries like Pakistan and Yemen would be even more difficult. The host government may not want a known terrorist — even in a prison.
But the biggest problem facing closure is the core group of hardened terrorists and the “human rights” groups that are opposed to any legal action at all.
That leaves a core group of at least a dozen detainees who cannot be transferred, including 9/11 defendants. Ten detainees are in the military commissions, military courts often used to try foreign citizens affiliated with terrorist networks who fought against the U.S. Two other detainees have already been convicted by military commissions.
The administration is likely to try to work out plea deals for the men in the military commissions process, under which they would continue to be detained but could be spared the death penalty.
The legal issues raised by detaining, trying, and executing non-military combatants are absurd and should have been changed years ago. A non-military trial would only give them a platform to spew their hate and create more terrorists. That they are alive 20 years after murdering 3,000 innocent Americans is beyond belief.
Biden wants to throw a sop to his radical base by bringing the terrorists back to America, where they can become totems of anti-Americanism and their radical attorneys can make names for themselves. It would be unconscionable to have their trials turn into circuses, as they almost certainly would.
Keep Gitmo open until the terrorists who attacked us have paid for their unspeakable crimes.