This one sort of came out of left field during the press briefing yesterday. Jen Psaki announced that President Biden is planning to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Eventually. Maybe. While it’s true that Biden brought this up a few times on the campaign trail, there was never much in the way of details as to how he planned to pull it off. Nothing much has changed in that regard because all Psaki would say was that there was going to be a “robust” review of the situation. (Associated Press)
President Joe Biden will seek to close the prison on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay following a review process, resuming a project begun under the Obama administration, the White House said Friday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it was the “intention” of the Biden administration to close the detention facility, something President Barack Obama pledged to do within a year shortly after he took office in January 2009.
Psaki gave no timeline, telling reporters that the formal review would be “robust” and would require the participation of officials from the Department of Defense, the Justice Department and other agencies who have not yet been appointed under the new administration.
This is a good headline for Biden because, for reasons I still fail to understand, it’s still popular in progressive circles to demand the closure of the facility at Gitmo. I’m not sure how arguing in favor of anything that makes life easier for members of the radical Islamic terror group that attacked America in 2001 is a winning position, but it is what it is.
It’s very possible that a headline is all Joe Biden is going to get out of this maneuver. As noted above, Barack Obama proposed doing the same thing during his first year in office, yet Gitmo is still sitting there in operation to this day. Psaki is correct in saying that a lot of people from various departments will need to be involved in this process if it’s ever going to happen. This is something that came up again recently when the Pentagon proposed sending down a shipment of doses to vaccinate all of the terrorists there.
There are 40 prisoners left in Gitmo, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Ten of them have been approved to face military tribunals, but that idea has been repeatedly challenged and held up in the courts for years. If Biden wants to shut the facility down, however, we’re going to have to do something with them. If we can’t put them on trial there in a military tribunal, what are we supposed to do? Ship them all up to the United States and put them in a Supermax and put them on trial in federal court? You may recall how well that idea went over when Obama proposed it.
This is what Senator John Cornyn (R – Texas) had to say about it:
“The Democrats’ obsession with bringing terrorists into Americans’ backyards is bizarre, misguided, and dangerous. Just like with President Obama, Republicans will fight it tooth and nail.”
What other choices are there? I suppose Biden could declare that they could be sent back home and released with “time served.” But c’mon, man. We’re talking about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. You should know that malarkey is never going to fly. I’m sure nobody is happy about it, but we may be stuck with Gitmo until all forty of them pass away from natural causes.