Tuesday, June 02, 2009

NIMBY arguments against closing Guantanamo explained

Many bloggers are mystified by the argument that closing Guantanamo will bring (suspected) terrorists to our back yards. To me, the logic, such as it is, of the opponents of closing Guantanamo has always been clear. In the end I conclude that the bloggers in question really don't understand the fears of anti due process Americans.

No one fears that detainees in Guantanamo will escape from super max prisons. The fear is that people held in Guantanamo in spite of the absence of probably cause to believe that they are terrorists (let alone proof beyond reasonable doubt) will be released from said prisons, because, you know, the constitution clearly says they must be released.

The point of keeping the Guantanamo prison open is *not* that people can't escape from it. The point is that, if they are released from the prison, they are still stuck in Guantanamo. They certainly can't walk over to Cuban controlled Cuba (not welcome). They don't have the right to travel to the USA (or the rest of the USA if Guantanamo counts as US territory). There is this wonderful concept "excludable alien" which has long existed and which permits restriction on travel *without due process*.

Thus the Uighers have been found not to be enemy combatants. It has been found that they never were combatant enemies of the USA. They are no longer in the Guantanamo prison. Instead they are as free to go anywhere in the Guantanamo naval base as are any non US citizen civilians. In effect, they are in a more pleasant prison.

That is the point of keeping Guantanamo open. To release people to a very small area of freedom if they are not to be imprisoned.

The logic of the oponents of closing Guantanamo is that say the Uighers can't possibly be locked up -- they were never adversaries of the USA and there is no evidence that they ever had anything to do with any attempted terrorism at all. Still they are Moslems and aren't White and are maybe, who knows, dangerous. So we have to keep them locked up if we can and unlocked up in Guantanamo if we can't.

They don't fear escape of a terrorist from a super max. They fear judges. They fear that release due to "why the hell were they ever locked up" will mean actual freedom not release to an alleged non-prison in Guantanamo.


pj said...

Haven't you missed the 'well maybe they weren't terrorists before, but now we've locked them up for years for no reason, they might well become terrorists' argument?

Robert said...

Yes I missed that one. It isn't ever stated openly, the Guantanamo supporters would have to admit that their favored approach has created terrorists.

However, I'm sure that in their cowardly hearts that is an important reason people want to keep prisoners released from Guantanamo prison in Guantanamo territory with no clear sovereign.