Wherefore Art Thou, Guantanamo?

Far from decisively acting to close Guantanamo down, the Obama administration has dithered over the closing of the prison. Not hearing too much from the left about that. I guess they're busy collecting signatures supporting the biggest deficit hike in history.

During President Obama's 60 Minutes interview, the maligned prison came up once again. John Hawkins noted:

This is what we’re abandoning -- but, for what? When Kroft asked Obama what comes next for the terrorists imprisoned at Gitmo, he didn’t seem to know.

Well, I think we’re going to have to figure out a mechanism to make sure that they are not released on U.S. (inaudible), but do so in a way that is consistent both with our traditions, a sense of due process, and international law.

So Obama has announced we’re closing Gitmo, but he still hasn’t figured out what comes next? Isn’t that a bit of an issue, since we have these terrorists in hand, will presumably be capturing more, and even the New York Times is admitting that European nations are “hedging” on helping us with Gitmo inmates? Shouldn’t Obama have thought this all the way through before he decided to close down Guantanamo Bay?

The challenges inherent in closing Guantanamo Bay are many. Probably least important to legal experts but most important to citizens is the safety of Americans should Guantanamo detainees be put into American prisons. It is bad enough to have military officers trained to deal with this sort of inmate at risk; it's worse to have federal prison guards put at risk. If harm comes to a prison guard or even an inmate, how will Americans perceive the choice to put terrorists in American prisons?

Prison guards and fellow inmates wouldn't be the only American lives put at risk. Consider the transfer of the inmates to prisons and to court. All points in between would be huge security problems. Imagine the propaganda coup should an al-Qaeda operative find a way to disrupt, bomb, or interfere with the proceedings.

As it stands, Guantanamo Bay has been a boon for al-Qaeda propaganda. One of the misguided notions has been that al-Qaeda wouldn't exploit any chosen method of detention. Lies. It's the enemy's stock in trade. They'd find a way to exploit the American justice system and portray themselves as victims.