But the truth is, as President Obama learned, "close Gitmo now" is easier said than done (and note that I happen to agree -- Gitmo should be closed. Its very existence makes more enemies than just not having it).
Think about it -- what can we do with these guys? Even if all of those repatriation issues fade away and, say, the Bahamas elects to take all the "safe" detainees, what do we do with the ones we can't release? Do we transfer them to American prisons? Two guesses as to what happens when we dump some poor bearded Afghan dude in lockup and tell his guards and fellow prisoners, "This fella's a terrorist."
Nicolas Kamm / AFP / Getty
Hint: it will not make these people happy.
Yes, quite a few detainees are either innocent or pose no continuing threat. Some were just conscripts who were drafted into the cause, and a lot of the rest saw their motivation disappear after several years in prison. Basic logic dictates that these people need to be released. But do you have any idea what a clusterfuck that actual process can be? Take the case of these two Algerian detainees who didn't want to go home because their status as former Gitmo inmates made them a target.
And on the other end of the spectrum, some of these men can't be released because they're fucking dangerous. The detainee recidivism rate is at 29 percent and rising. That means many or even most of the folks we let go have no desire to hurt anyone, but enough of them do that we have to be very careful about who we set free. The attack on Benghazi may have been planned by a former inmate, for example.
Anadolu Agency / Getty
In other words, the margin of error here is measured in explosions.
So yeah, keeping all of these guys locked up is stupidly unfair, but it's not as simple as letting them all go. And that's why, for the time being, Gitmo isn't going anywhere.
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