The AP reports this morning that a significant step in closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay has been taken. The article is below, but to cut to the chase, the prisoners currently held in Gitmo will be moved to an underutilized prison located in Illinois.
AP sources: Ill. prison to get Gitmo detainees
This is being painted, of course, as good news. Moving the facility to the U.S. will bring much needed jobs to Americans, and the President, no doubt, will throw this achievement on the table as a flagship campaign promise that he kept.
There are just two little problems.
First, the whole issue with Gitmo was not that there was a prison located there; it was – and still is – what was happening at that prison:
Hundreds of “suspected terrorists” were being rounded up, arrested, and held there indefinitely. No charges were being brought against them, they were not told what they were arrested for, and they had no right to an attorney or a speedy trial or anything else that we afford to even the most base of criminals.
Oh, and we tortured many of them repeatedly, in a variety of new and exciting ways, kind of like they did during the inquisition except that 1) since we are the “good guys” it’s ethical now, and 2) because of improvements in torture technology, any confessions we gained were 100% viable.
The fact that these things were done on a military base located in Cuba is what really made all of this remotely acceptable, because Cuba isn’t the United States, and the prisoners weren’t really criminals in the ordinary sense; they were military combatants, and since – conveniently – there was a war going on we could hold them as prisoners of war for as long as we wanted.
The outcry about Guantanamo was that people wanted it shut down, not moved. What sense does moving it make?
Imagine a wife being angry at her husband for having a long-standing affair with “Lucy”. She wants the affair to end. What has been accomplished if her husband stops seeing “Lucy” only to start sleeping with “Susan”? Would this make the wife happy?
No? Then why would we be satisfied, because that’s exactly what is going on here with Gitmo.
But it’s actually even more ridiculous – and damning – than that, because there is a second problem with this Gitmo solution, and it should make every American bristle with alarm.
To continue with the “affair” analogy for a moment, not only is the husband merely dropping one mistress for another, he’s actually moving her into his own house! Again, should the wife be happy about this?
Think about this for a second: We are moving the Gitmo prison into the United States.
What does that mean? It means that it is now acceptable to the American people to have a prison within our own borders where people can be arrested, held without being charged with a crime, afforded no rights, given no trial, and – if a confession is needed to validate the whole thing – tortured.
And it's okay with us!
We have created a war that is unwinnable, and can therefore be “fought” indefinitely. We have made it acceptable to arrest people based on what they might do. We are continuing to broaden the definition of “terrorist” to include almost any group of people who might speak out against the government.
And now we have our very own U.S. “terrorist” prison to lock them all away.
Well, let me rephrase that; we have our first U.S. “terrorist” prison. We can certainly build more of them if we need to, because we’re setting a precedent here, and once a precedent is established, it’s simply a matter of repeating it over and over and over.