Underwhelmed By Taking A Year To Close Guantanamo
Don’t think everyone’s happy with the apparently-imminent executive order on closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within the year. Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, one of the leading civil libertarian institutions to have fought Guantanamo for seven years, just put out this statement:
It only took days to put these men in Guantanamo, it shouldn’t take a year to get them out.
We are proud that President Obama made addressing Guantánamo one of his first acts in office. Yet we are disappointed that he outlined no concrete steps for closing the base and gave his administration an entire year to sort out its plans – meaning that some men could have been detained indefinitely in terrible conditions for eight full years. Surely he could do better.
President Obama should commit to dismantling the military commissions, not just suspending them, and to prosecuting any cases before federal criminal courts — real courts with real laws.
At the risk of prognostication, it doesn’t sound as if the principal Obama legal advisers who’ll be tasked with designing that post-military commissions regimen — Eric Holder, Dawn Johnsen, and Marty Lederman at Justice; Jeh Charles Johnson at Defense; and Greg Craig at the White House counsel’s office — actually disagree.