Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Reignites Debate Over Obama's Promise to Close Guantanamo


"We're going to close Guantanamo." So declared presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2007. Two years later, on January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order "to effect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (Guantánamo) and promptly to close detention facilities at Guantánamo, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice." Five years later, however, Guantanamo still remains open for business.

Last week's controversial swap of five Taliban fighters held at Guantanamo in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has reignited the debate over both Obama's promise to close the detention facility and his failure to fulfill tha promise.

"With respect to the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, the President has said repeatedly — in last year's speech at (National Defense University), in this year's State of the Union, and in last week's speech at West Point — that he believes the continued operation of the detention facility harms our national security," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, told CNN. "Our policy on Guantanamo Bay is the same now as it was prior to Sergeant Bergdahl's recovery — the United States will repatriate, resettle, or prosecute detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the greatest extent possible, consistent with U.S. national security interests and our humane treatment policy."

Critics, however, charge the administration with failing (or refusing) to live up to its lofty rhetoric. "I believed Barack Obama when he promised to close Guantánamo. It sounds so naïve," wrote Yale Law School's Emily Bazelon at Slate. "Instead of releasing 78 men cleared for transfer by his own task force, Obama has kept them at Gitmo even though most have had this limbo status since January 2010." What's worse, she added, in the Bergdahl prisoner swap, "the president has released five prisoners who sound dangerous. They were not cleared for transfer. They had mid- or high-level roles in the Taliban in Afghanistan."

Earlier this year, Reason TV explained what every American should know about Guantanamo. Click below to watch.

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  1. Not sure what Obama is supposed to do to close Gitmo. 47% of Americans say leave it open and only 27% think it should be closed (according to Rasmussen Polls). And then there’s this:

    2012 : Obama faces long odds to close Guant?namo Bay if he tries again | TheHill…..ies-again-

    2013: GOP Vows To Block Obama’s Renewed Effort To Close Gitmo…..ose-gitmo/

    We can’t even get an Immigration Bill past the House. What chance is there of dispersing the Gitmo detainees? None.

    1. As executive, he orders it to be closed. Simple.

      What polls say doesn’t enter into it, just as they don’t enter into gay marriage, abortion or gun control. Law and executive action matter in a republic, opinion does not.

      Especially as he fucked 0bamacare up our asses without caring about opposition.

      And the detainees mentioned have been cleared for release by DoD and State. Bush released people in that status. 0 has not.

      Because he’s ethical and transparent, and you’re a racist, of course.

  2. I have a suggestion: The US returns full control over Guantanamo to Cuba, and Cuba closes the camp – much as it closed the casinos in 1959.

    1. Yea, that’s brilliant. We should just give up a base in a country that once harbored Soviet nuclear weapons 90 miles from the coast of the US.

  3. The left are now using the excuse that the war is ending and the prisoners were going to be released anyway so whats the big deal. The big deal is at the end of a war if you are a war criminal which these 5 men may be you do not get released from prison you stay in prison and sometimes are executed for those war crimes even after the war. Do these people not remember history and how the world court dealt with both the NAZI’s and Japanese war criminals. Also they fail to mention that the U.N. is now pissed at our president because we were supposed to turn these men over to the U.N. who wanted to try them for war crimes. Obama once again pissing off our allies and helping our enemies if he isn’t doing it on purpose then he is the stupidest president ever.

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