The closing of Guantanamo Bay prison was a non-issue in the election but as part of its ongoing series of editorials advising President Obama on what to do in his second term, the New York Times believes it’s worth a look now.
The paper editorialized today that Obama should “spend political capital” and work to shut down Guantanamo:
Mr. Obama did not say how he intended to move the issue forward in his second term or break the Congressional logjam. The fact is, Guantánamo cannot be emptied without ending the Congressionally imposed restrictions on transferring prisoners to the United States; on using funds to prepare facilities on American soil that could house Guantánamo detainees; and on releasing dozens of detainees who pose no threat, if they ever did, and who have been held far too long without charges or trial.
If Mr. Obama is serious about fulfilling his pledge — and we trust he is — he needs to become more engaged this time around and be willing to spend political capital. Republicans, and some Democrats, who have helped to prevent the closing of the Guantánamo prison are implacable, and dedicated to a propagandistic argument that military justice for terrorists is somehow tougher and more reliable than civilian justice. The opposite is true, but the administration has made the case poorly.
NYT has long held the position that Gitmo should be shut down, citing the indefinite holding of prisoners as a human rights violation.