From Guantanamo to 'Paradise'


Palau has agreed to accept the 17 Uighur Muslims from China who are no longer considered "enemy combatants" but have remained at Guantanamo because nobody wanted them. Well, nobody except the Chinese government, which probably wanted to beat, imprison, and execute them. That prospect queered the deal as far as the U.S. was concerned. At the same time, both the Bush and Obama administrations have refused to let the detainees, who have been at Guantanamo since 2002, settle in the United States, and the federal judge who last fall ordered the government to admit them was overruled in February by an appeals court. Fun facts about Palau:

1. It is a former U.S. trust territory in the North Pacific that became an independent country in 1994.

2. It is an archipelago consisting of more than 250 islands.

3. Its U.N. representative calls it "paradise."

4. It is one of the world's smallest countries, with a population of 20,000.

5. It is one of the few countries that maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, so it doesn't much care what Beijing thinks.

6. It will soon receive $200 million in "long-term development aid" from the United States.

Which suggests a few observations:

1. To make up for seven years of captivity, Palau had better have really nice beaches.

2. If the U.S. were as welcoming as Palau, which is accepting nearly one former detainee for every 1,000 residents, it would let in about 300,000.

3. If the going rate is anything like $12 million each, I'd be happy to take a few myself.

More Reason coverage of the Uighurs' predicament here. Me on President Obama's plans to close Guantanamo here and here.