With another stroke of Obama’s pen, many of those prisoners could be on a plane back to their families tomorrow. The president is plainly concerned with how this prison will affect his legacy; in releasing the cleared, he has a genuine opportunity to solve much of the remaining problem before the end of his term.
For years we at Reprieve have represented many of these people: a slew of warehoused individuals, cleared for years – meaning that they were determined by every security agency you and I have ever heard of to be no threat to anyone. (At the beginning of President Obama’s term, he asked all the security agencies to look again at the Gitmo files, and the cleared prisoners passed this test unanimously. Many of them were held safe to release earlier, under the Bush administration, and have been waiting for their number to come up ever since.)
Once you treat these men as individuals, and not the orange-jumpsuited scarecrows whom Republicans tend to deploy for political gain, solutions to the Gitmo conundrum quickly appear.