English: President Barack Obama discusses his ...

“I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.”

And who said that? The president of the United States Barak Obama himself in a press conference. So what is he waiting for? The Congress is against to close the Guantánamo Bay Jail, he explained. The president had a lot of reasons to close the facility and look for a solution for more than 160 detainees arrested during the so-called war on terror, waiting without trial for years and years with no end in sight.

“I mean, said Obama, the notion that we’re going to continue to keep over a hundred individuals in a no man’s land in perpetuity, even at a time when we’ve wound down the war in Iraq, we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan, we’re having success defeating al-Qaida core, we’ve kept the pressure up on all these transnational terrorist networks, when we’ve transferred detention authority in Afghanistan – the idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried – that is contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop.”

Obama promised he would work with Congress again to solve this and keep his promise to close Guantánamo. But what if the Congress say no again? What is worth a promise of the president if it crash against the Hill over and over? There is no other way to reach the goal after this apparently convinced words against the unjust and unlawful situation of Guantánamo?. If Obama wants Guantánamo closed is his duty to find a way to close it. He is the president. He promised. He cannot stop after some good words.

His words, prompted by questions about a hunger strike being followed by more than 100 inmates, some of them hospitalized and force-fed, were important. The situation of the strikers seems hard and the military sent  extra medical personal to take care of the detainees weakened and avoid fatalities according several sources. I wonder if we would be talking about this without this strike.

I think the president is right, and after 11 years, Guantánamo is a very dark stain on the US that will be difficult and would take a very long time to clean up. Better to start as soon as possible.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Thanks for saying things clearly. What strikes me is that in Obama’s words I find only external reasons for the convenience for closing the camp such as international prestige, efficiency, cost and so on-, but there is no word about the human beings themselves who are (unjustly?) confined there. At least in this quotation.

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About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.


Americas, Ethics, Ideals, Justice, World and Politics


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