Republicans slammed President Barack Obama’s long-cherished dream to permanently close the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, declaring it dead on arrival.
Republican lawmakers in both houses of the Congress are keen to keep the facility open and have previously blocked proposals for the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to the United States, seeking no change in the anti-terrorism laws.
The opposition is against any plans to move enemy combatants inside the United States on the perception that the gesture will embolden enemies.
Republican Marco Rubio’s speech during a rally in Las Vegas.
“We are not going to close Guantanamo. In fact, we shouldn’t be releasing the people that are there now. They are enemy combatants. These are literally enemy combatants, in essence soldiers — not soldiers, terrorists of foreign terrorist organizations. Many of whom, as soon as you release them, they rejoin the fight against us.”
A plan is underway to send a proposal to the Congress outlining exactly how and where the Guantanamo detainees would be kept inside the United States. But the proposal could face a sizable opposition among Republican lawmakers and some of the Democratic counterparts.
Republican’s cited loopholes in Obama’s Gitmo plan, saying it is “more politics than substance, and it fails to satisfy the requirements mandated by Congress.”
According to reports, many of the released Guantanamo detainees re-surfaced on the terror field.
For years, President Obama tried to shutter the Gitmo facility. The prison became notorious for its alleged excesses with prisoners after the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.
— MK2 (@i1440) February 20, 2016
One of the biggest hurdles in Obama’s Guantanamo closure plan is the National Defense Authorization Act, which bans him from him from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.
Guantanamo remains an unfulfilled promise for the U.S. president. His first executive order elaborated on a timeline for closing the facility but was blocked by Congress. Reportedly, there is a possibility that Obama may again attempt a Gitmo closure through executive action before the end of his second term.
The Tampa Tribune quoted Obama saying, “If we don’t do what’s required now, I think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history and justice and our best American traditions was clear.”
The Patriot Post elaborated on Obama’s Gitmo plan.
“Obama’s plan, which is typically light on details, calls for the creation of up to 13 different facilities stateside for permanently shifting the 30 to 60 detainees who will not be sent overseas. There is no indication whether those sites already exist, are yet to be built, or where they are or will be located.”
Obama’s work-in-progress plan on Guantanamo closure reportedly hinges on U.S. national security concerns, since terrorists use the Gitmo rhetoric as a propaganda to further terror acts. Obama feels the step would strengthen relationships with counter-terrorism allies.
Guantanamo has remained one of the most controversial security prisons and continues to attract protests and criticisms from across the world for its alleged use of torture techniques.
Know about our 2006 protests outside High Court when Labour govt wouldn't act for British residents in Gitmo? https://t.co/1hNykTMX9v
— London Guantánamo (@ShutGuantanamo) January 5, 2016
Time will tell whether the Obama administration will succeed in convincing Congress to close Guantanamo Bay prison. There is a lot at stake for the Democrats to influence a significant number of Republicans on the legislation. For now, it looks like Obama is running out of time on the Guantanamo closure plan. What do you think?
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]