Guantanamo detainees' bleak future
U.S. military guards move a detainee inside the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on September 16, 2010.
January 8th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Guantanamo detainees' bleak future

By CNN's Pam Benson

Ten years after the arrival of the first prisoners captured by U.S. forces after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will likely be in business for many more years - perhaps decades - to come, analysts say.

For the 171 detainees still there, the future is bleak.

GITMO - as the detention facility is commonly known - would have been emptied two years ago under a proposal introduced by President Barack Obama. Just days after his 2009 inauguration, the president announced his plan to close the facility within a year and ordered a review to determine which detainees could be criminally prosecuted, which ones were safe to transfer to other countries, and what should be done with individuals who could not be tried but were too dangerous to transfer.

Congressional roadblocks spearheaded by Republicans stymied Obama’s efforts.

Lawmakers passed legislation that cut off funding for transferring any of the detainees to the United States for trial or for building and improving detention facilities, effectively axing a plan to acquire a prison in Illinois to house detainees.

The action pushed the president to change his plans to try some of the high-value prisoners–those tied to the 9/11 plot– in civilian courts. Instead, Obama resorted to military commissions to handle the cases from Guantanamo Bay.

Congressional restrictions have also made it difficult for the administration to transfer detainees to other countries. And recent legislation mandates all future foreign detainees be held in military detention, although it does provide the president with the authority to waive some provisions. In a signing statement, President Obama indicated he would "reject any approach that would mandate military custody where law enforcement provides the best method of incapacitating a terrorist threat."

Since its opening a decade ago, 779 individuals have passed through Guantanamo’s cells, according to the Defense Department.Of those still there, just seven detainees are designated to be tried before military commissions while another 29 are under review for prosecution. Forty-six will be held for indefinite detention. Approximately 60 detainees are cleared for transfer to another country if the proper security arrangements can be made. And 30 Yemeni nationals are in conditional detention because of the current security situation in Yemen. None of those detainees is expected to go anywhere anytime soon.

MILITARY COMMISSIONS

The debate rages over whether suspected foreign terrorists should be tried in federal civilian courts or as enemy combatants who should be prosecuted before military commissions.

The rules of evidence are far more lax in a military commission than they are for civilian trials or military courts-martial. Hearsay is allowed as is coerced, or involuntary, statements.

Many of the high-value detainees held by the CIA were subjected to harsh interrogation methods authorized by the Bush administration. The military also was allowed to use interrogation techniques beyond those contained in the Army Field Manual.

Marc Thiessen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, argues terrorism is not a crimebut an act of war, and that’s why military commissions are necessary. "They still provide a fair trial, but they recognize the reality these people were captured in a war and not committing a crime."

Hina Shamsi from the American Civil Liberties Union disagrees.

"The use of torture is the main reason for the appalling and shocking fact that 10 years after 9/11 the alleged perpetrators of those attacks have not been brought to justice, despite the fact they've been held for many years," Shamsi said. "It is the main reason why federal courts were rejected in favor of military commissions that have lower evidentiary standards and are less fair than federal courts."

Current and former military lawyers say new rules that are created for any particular military commission make it harder to resolve issues that come up and will prolong the process.

"The problem with these military commissions, the physical location of Guantanamo, the uniqueness of the procedures, the evidentiary rules at Guantanamo…does not bode well for the end of Guantanamo military commissions in the foreseeable future,"Retired Marine Corps Judge Advocate Gary Solis said.

Bryan Broyles, Deputy Chief Defense Counsel for the Military Commissions, agreed that this will be a lengthy process.

"I think creating a new system out of whole cloth and expecting that to be quick and fair was fundamentally naive. That's where we are now," Broyles said.

He added that detainees have a sense of fatalism and do not believe a conviction or an acquittal will lead to their release.

INDEFINITE DETENTION

Many civil liberties and human rights activists were outraged whenObama accepted the Bush administration position of ordering indefinite detentions for those individuals who have not been charged but are considered too dangerous to release or transfer elsewhere.

The ACLU’s Shamsi also takes exception to the notion there are no geographic or temporal limits to capturing suspected terrorists.

"If we accept the rationale that the entire world is our battlefield and our safety requires the detention of people who might be dangerous even if we can't prove they violated any law, it is hard to find any limit to who the government can imprison in the name of security and safety," Shamsi said.

But Thiessen believes terrorists are the enemy and can be captured wherever they may be and held as long as necessary.

"Until al Qaeda issues a statement with the words 'we surrender,' we have the right to continue to hold them as long as al Qaeda is at war with us," he said.

Solis, who teaches the law of war at Georgetown and George Washington University law schools, said the international Geneva Conventions, which regulate the conduct of war, allow for long-term detentions of those who pose an imminent threat to a nation’s security.

And although Broyles finds the idea of indefinite detention "intellectually honest," he says it "is a horrific thing if you have ever even glanced at the (U.S.) Constitution."

TRANSFERS TO OTHER COUNTRIES

Although the Obama administration determined that approximately half of the detainees could be transferred if appropriate security measures are worked out with the receiving nations, Congress placed restrictions on their transfer because of fear they will return to the battlefield.

The Director of National Intelligence released a study in December 2010 that showed a 25% recidivism rate among transferred detainees, that is, those who have re-engaged in terrorist or insurgent activities.

The difficulty posed by the congressional restrictions coupled with the problems of arranging the transfers means that those designated for transfer may be stuck at Guantanamo for years.

Shamsi, who directs the National Security Project at the ACLU, calls the prospects "bleak right now" for all of the individuals held at Guantanamo, slamming the facility as "a catastrophic failure on every front–legally, morally, ethically and (from) the perspective of security."

GITMO has been used as a recruiting tool for terrorists, Shamsi said, and "it has likely created far more terrorists than it has held."

But the AEI’s Marc Thiessen, rejects that suggestion.

"If you go through terrorist statements over the years, they never talk about it. What is a recruitment tool for terrorists is a successful terrorist attack," said Thiessen, the former Bush administration official and author of "Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama is Inviting the Next Attack."

Although suspected terrorists are likely to be at Guantanamo for what Solis called a "long, long, long time," both Thiessen and Broyles say conditions have dramatically improved at the facility.Inmates are housed in air-conditioned cells, they have access to exercise machines and, for the most part, they are allowed to spend more time together.

Regardless of who wins the presidential election later this year, Thiessen believes Guantanamo will remain open indefinitely. "The big difference is whether we will use it as a place to bring new terrorist detainees or not," said Thiessen, suggesting a Republican president would resume capturing senior al Qaeda terrorists and bring them to Guantanamo for interrogation, something that has not happened in recent years.

The Obama administration policy has emphasized killing suspected terrorists through the use of CIA and military-operated armed unmanned aircraft, and no additional detainees have been taken to Guantanamo since Obama took office.

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Filed under: CIA • Detainees • Gitmo • Military • Military Commissions • Obama • Terrorism
soundoff (236 Responses)
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  10. Bobby

    WEDNESDAY IS AN IMPORTANT DAY http://www.witnessagainsttorture.org

    January 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  11. rad666

    Now, if Russia wanted to place a prison in Alaska, I would be OK with that.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • Anon

      And maybe China could use Hawaii...I know they have Tibet, but I feel like they have earned the right for some imperialism instead of the silly isolationism they have had to endure for the past hundred years. They need to get back up on that horse.

      January 9, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
      • Alev

        The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to rein in ciredt card rate increases and excessive fees, hoping to give voters some breathing room amid a recession that has left hundreds of thousands of Americans jobless or facing foreclosure. The House was on track to pass the measure as early as Wednesday, paving the way for President Barack Obama to see the bill on his desk by week's end. Don't you feel blessed that once again you will be able to bail out the irresponsible with higher fees and stronger requirements. First Wall Street than Banks, than insurance companies, auto makers, mortgage holders now ciredt card dead beats. I am looking hard for something I can get bailed out from. It is tough being a responsible citizen because if you have a job, no mortgage on your houses, own your cars, pay off your ciredt cards every month, pay for your kids college where else can you go to suck funds from the government.

        July 1, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • Bobby

      WEDNESDAY IS AN IMPORTANT DAY-Please contribute!!! http://www.witnessagainsttorture.org.

      January 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  12. Dman5005

    "Many of the high-value detainees held by the CIA were subjected to harsh interrogation methods authorized by the Bush administration. The military also was allowed to use interrogation techniques beyond those contained in the Army Field Manual."

    It should be noted that this led to many terrorists being captured, and was a direct reason that Osama Bin Laden was found.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
    • Bob

      Dream on.. took ten years to find Bin Laden, and you tell me it was because Guantanamo?
      The only reason Bin laden was found it was because the good effort of intelligence on the ground. not any other reason..

      January 9, 2012 at 10:17 am | Reply
      • Dman5005

        Not specifically Guantanamo, I'm telling you that because of interrogation tactics such as waterboarding, they were able to find him. Which is entirely true.

        January 9, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Larry L

      When I was commissioned an Army Officer we were in the Cold War with the USSR. We opposed them because they were an evil empire of gulags, torture, and arrest without charges. They were evil and we represented good. I served 34 years and sadly, during that period fearful and weak Americans chose to trade their freedom and honor for what they hoped would be increased security. I wonder now... when a young man raises his hand to be sworn-in does he have the same pride? Can you when you're fighting for a Nation that chooses the moral low ground?

      January 9, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
      • jim

        You ex-military dudes seem to have difficulty understanding the civilian thought process. War is not a "noble calling" for us. It is a dirty, difficult undertaking that should be won by whatever means necessary. Survival is at stake. It is NOT a cowboy movie shootout where the bad guy gets to shoot first and prisoners are handled with kid gloves.

        January 9, 2012 at 11:13 am |
      • Epidi

        The older Veterans know well enough how dirty & horrible war is and what it takes to survive. Ask any of them still alive about what they saw when freeing the people from the concentration camps and then speak of survival. Ask any of them who came back from Nam and got spit on at the airports at home for serving thier country and what thier fellows endured in the POW camps and then speak about honor. Then go f* u* c* k yourself because you haven't got a clue except the video games you sit and play all day getting numb to what combat, face to face (not button pushing to blow people up from a distance as in "Shock & Awe") does to a person yet still has the wherewithall to retain their humanity.

        January 9, 2012 at 11:55 am |
      • warezwolf

        Thank you, sir, for your service and your opinion. As a fellow vet I could not agree with you more. I am ashamed at what this country has become and hold a great many people, including myself, in contempt for it.

        The fact of law:
        "Until al Qaeda issues a statement with the words 'we surrender,' we have the right to continue to hold them as long as al Qaeda is at war with us,"

        The Socialist strengthening local law enforcement to be used against the populous:
        President Obama indicated he would "reject any approach that would mandate military custody where law enforcement provides the best method of incapacitating a terrorist threat."

        Our own ACLU's subtle warning:
        "If we accept the rationale that the entire world is our battlefield and our safety requires the detention of people who might be dangerous even if we can't prove they violated any law, it is hard to find any limit to who the government can imprison in the name of security and safety,"

        January 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  13. Jen

    Yesterday I accidentally walked through airport security with a water bottle. A possible terrorist act. According to the laws in this country, I could have been sent to GITMO forever, no trial, no due process, nobody even bothering to tell my family what happened. Instead they just took away my water bottle. So, has the TSA gone soft on terrorists now? Maybe I should have been executed on the spot. I'm just sayin'.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • Bob

      The TSA in ten years has not caught a single terrorist, they are the terrorist, terrorizing old ladies and children, in ten years they have not accomplished a thing, and the real terrorist were caught by the passengers themselves, no the sky marshals or TSA personnel.

      The shoe bomber and the underwear bomber were subdued by passengers.

      January 9, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
  14. ragitator

    Kyoto protocols are designed to further degrade Americas economy, nothing more. The protocols don't address the largest abuser, China. If Americans had half a brain, they would stop buying cheap foreign sh!t, then they wouldn't have to wonder where the jobs are as they are sitting on their Hover-rounds at Walmart because they are so fat.

    January 9, 2012 at 6:43 am | Reply
  15. ragitator

    25% reduction in the earths population would be an excellent start.Help the global warming issue immensely

    January 9, 2012 at 6:38 am | Reply
    • comecleanOK

      So would a nuclear winter.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  16. Captain Afganistan

    The author of this article did an excellent job at portraying the high-minded Obama as a victim of mean old Republican skullduggery. Well done, Pam! Why, you might even get a job at the WH if you play your cards right. How about your next story is on how hard Obama has tried to get the Congress to ratify the Kyoto protocols, only to be out manuvered by big-business supporting republicans.

    January 9, 2012 at 4:36 am | Reply
  17. Edo Van Ede

    The Third Geneva Convention says that those who do not follow the rules of war do not get the benefits of the Geneva Conventions POW treatment, but are, instead spies, terrorists and saboteurs, and should be given a field tribunal, and, if found guilty of breaking the rules of war (no uniform, no flag, no insignia, attacking through deception, et al) can be summarily executed.

    These prisoners should have been grilled for intelligence and shot once the info was gained.

    They are a terorist risk... as already INSANELY released Gitmo prisoners have proven when they returned to terrorism and killed more poeple.

    Why have those who have released known terrorists – who then killed more people- NOT been indicted for CRIMINAL MALFEASANCE and aiding the enemy?

    Terrorists, spies and saboteurs have lost their "rights" to anything by a field tribunal and swift execution if convicted.

    January 9, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
    • jon

      Well thanks to the NDAA American's who are merely a suspect with no concrete evidence against them get to go to places just like it. If you buy more than 7 days worth of food at a time pay cash or they might come knocking on your door.

      January 9, 2012 at 1:23 am | Reply
    • Larry L

      Does everynation who signed the Geneva Convention now have the right to simply change the definition of "soldier" to that of "combatant" so they can disregard the agreement? When our Soldiers are captured is it okay for the enemy to torture them if they call them terrorists?

      January 9, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
  18. gtsmoker

    well we can't kill em, but we can keep them locked up til their to old to enjoy their virgins

    January 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Reply
  19. martin

    Typical fucking Republicans...Obama goes to close GITMO, the Republicans roadblock it, then blame him for breaking a promise. The GOP is a goddamn joke.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
    • jay

      When Mr Obama decided to keep GITMO operational he had a Majority of Democrats in BOTH the House and Senate – The "typical republicans" you claim "blocked him" had insufficient political power to do so by themselves. Clearly there were a significant number of like minded Democrats who went along with the resolutions the were undertaken by the House and Senate to prevent the closing of GITMO and the transfer of Terrorist prisoners to US soil for Confinement and or trial.

      Also the completely absurd, callous, Insensitive and insulting plan of Mr Holder to try the 9/11 Mastermind in NYC was also opposed by Significant numbers of Democrats in NYC and NY State political positions – As the Democrat party has the majority of seats in US House and Both Senate Seats. So it would appear that not just "f-ing republicans" oppose the Terrorist detention and legal process moves of the President

      January 9, 2012 at 11:04 am | Reply
      • Bobby Ray

        While there was a Democratic majority in the House and Senate when Obama took office, they did not enjoy the supermajority needed to overcome GOP filibusters and bring bills to a vote. Under Senate rules a single senator can stop legislation. My own senator, Ron Johnson (R-WI), has done this numerous times to promote his Tea Party agenda. It makes him look like a stooge, but if he can obstruct the Obama Administration, he will. So the GOP HAS prevented the closing of Gitmo, and then taken the president to task for not keeping the promise that they alone kept him from keeping.

        May 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  20. p1978

    Fake Humanright watch is in tight lipped......
    fake humanright watch based on USA routinely shouting at developing countries.
    buhah,hah,hah,haaaaaaaaa

    January 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  21. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/the-ceremony-of-innocence/

    January 8, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  22. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/confess/

    January 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  23. M47

    Your talking about terrorists! Terrorists!!! Did america get soft?? SHOOT THEM ALL IN THE HEAD!!! They want America gone an thier debating to send them to thier neighboring countries?? Let them all rot in jail to teach the rest of them that we take suicide very seriously, they are jealous of our religion, religion and war are Gods playground.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      Actually we are talking about people suspected of being terrorists.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:38 am | Reply
  24. M47

    Your talking about terrorists! Terrorists!!! Did america get soft?? SHOOT THEM ALL IN THE HEAD!!! They want America gone an thier debating to send them to thier neighboring countries?? Let them all rot in jail.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      Unfortunately many nuts like these one in the USA, and then you wonder why things happen and why America has so many enemies, just imagine this nut job in Iraq..!!!

      January 9, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
  25. adam

    So yet another thing the President was unable to do...

    January 8, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Reply
    • sharoom

      The article explains why he was unable to do so.

      January 9, 2012 at 3:06 am | Reply
      • JH123

        The article does try to explain it, but conveniently overlooks the fact that Congress was dominated by Democrats during this period... so it was impossible for the Republicans to block anything. Just another slanted article trying to blame anyone but Obama for policy failures.

        January 9, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  26. Hannibal7

    These enemy combatant prisoners should never have been taken from the battle field. The other side did not take prisoners, save to torcher and behead them. I do not propose beheading of these prisoners, when a simple firing squad will do. Do not kid yourself, If they are let go they will kill Americans. Lets shoot them now so they won't kill again. War is dirty business. You win by eliminating the enemy. No fear. No hesitation. No remorse. Ask yourself, would these animals in Gitmo even have this conversation or would they simply cut your throat?

    January 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  27. Al

    GITMO is an embarrassing joke, especially when the Republican packed SCOTUS said federal law didn't apply there. The Marines and Navy personnel there could disobey their commanding officers, since UCMJ (a set of federal laws) supposedly don't apply. Try 'em or cut 'em loose and close the place down.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Reply
    • Charles

      Your statements are completely ignorant of the facts. GTMO is still a military base and all UCMJ applies. In fact, living in the fish bowl that is GTMO, UCMJ is used more often than most military bases.

      January 9, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
      • Al

        By virtue of what you said (and I don't have the statistics but will take your statement at face value), you have proven my point. Let me simplify: SCOTUS stated in their opinions regarding detainees' rights that federal law does not apply at GITMO. UCMJ is codified in federal law in Title 10 of the US Code. US militrary personnel (mainly USN and USMC) are stationed at GITMO. Therefore, taking SCOTUS' opinions at face value, UCMJ does not apply to those personnel assigned to GITMO. Granted, we all know that's not true, but that's what SCOTUS literally said. SCOTUS couldn't say that only the combatants had no rights, because they would then run contrary to a tremendous body of case law derived from the fights over slavery, civil rights, and discrimination in general. So they used geography instead. Rather than declaring the whole process of GITMO unconstitutional, like I said, they've now created a defense for any person charged with a crime under US law at GITMO, where they say US law doesn't apply. Finally, remember that it was Bush Jr., not Obama, who created this mess; Obama is just trying to clean it up.

        January 9, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  28. Michael

    Yeah, well, get over it. The illusion of "freedom" in the USA is just that, an illusion. President Obama, on January 4th, signed the NDAA. It's a new law empowering the Military (at the request of any law enforcement agency) to unconditionally detain anyone indefinetely without due process. The new law effectively empowers any law enforcement agency, with support from the Military to arrest anyone for any purpose remotely associated with "terrorism." The law is so vaguley written that anyone could get arrested and detained indefinetely for things such as participating with Occupy protests, minor infractions, selling pot, you name it.

    Many legal experts describe this new law as the "last nail" in the coffin of freedoms and rights in America.

    The facts of the matter is that America is no longer in the hands of the people, but, rather, in the hands of the few. This includes large corporations and their holds on basic patents and governance/influence over social issues such as access to Universal Health Care, the Military and law enforcement agencies and of course the wealthy.

    America has now crossed the line as it continues to move towards a police state, that by the time Americans realize what has happened, will be too late to correct nor do anything about.

    Sentiment by many Americans approaching retirement age and aware of the dire situation is to leave America for more affordable and democratic countries.

    To many, what I say will come as a surprise, especially since the Government silenced the media on coverage of NDAA. For those that understand what I am talking about, prepare yourselves.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  29. susanne

    Just free them and let them go.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  30. rad666

    Clear out the prisoners. GITMO could become the next vacation hot spot. All kinds of activities to immerse you in the whole "terrorist prisoner" experience. Go extreme.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Well, probably not. But relax relations with Cuba, and Havana could – once again – be a primary American tourist destination.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  31. sid

    When the war on terror is over the detainees at Git-mo will be the last Muslims on earth.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Reply
    • sharoom

      Almost 25% of the world's population is Muslim.

      January 9, 2012 at 3:10 am | Reply
  32. Dizzyd

    Yeah, warhawks! Kill 'em all. Never mind that some of them just MIGHT be innocent! And what happens when for whatever reason YOU are seen as a threat by the gov't and thrown in GITMO for an indefinite amount of time? Will you still cheer? 'But we're citizens!' you say. But at that point, you're also a threat to national security. What's to stop Congress from changing the rules regarding our rights? They've shown that they can just ignore national ideals when they're inconvenient. It's truly a scary thought.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  33. clearfog

    I prefer we change the name to GetMore and act accordingly.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • Bobby

      More what?

      January 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  34. bucko

    Let's see: that's ACLU as in Arab Civil Liberties Union. Right?

    January 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply
    • alan of montreal

      wow, hope you never end up in jail in the US before anyone's actually proven you innocent or guilty.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  35. Realist

    The question of the century will be..........Just how low can the U.S. government stoop? I say they will try to outdo their masters in Tel Aviv.

    January 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  36. Bobby

    January 11 Washington D.C. This Wednesday. Pay attention. This is your chance. Torture is immoral, and also illegal under international law and U.S. law. In addition, a government cannot indefinitely detain without trial or convicion of any crime. How "suspicious" an individual is is irrelevant. You should have not a SHRED of sympathy for the USG about all the hand-wringing about what to do with Gitmo detainees. The USG created this situation...deliberately..so don't have a shred of sympathy for them. Torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment are immoral and illegal under U.S. and International Law (UNCAT, GC's, UNHCR.) Don't let anything or anyone distract you from this fundamental point. http://www.witnessagainsttorture.com

    January 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Mike, NH

      Read the Geneva Convention and educate yourself. Enemy combatants may be held for the duration of the conflict. Tell us when Al Queda will stop making war on us, and we can tell you when they'll be released. Get it?

      January 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
      • Bobby

        What you say is, unfortunately for you, totally irrelevant to my point. As a side note, which detainees in Gitmo are/were members of Al Queda?

        January 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • Bobby

        Doesnt really matter anyway; the damage is done. I feel more uncomfortable traveling around as an American after Gitmo/Abu Ghraib/Rendition/Bagram than I did after 9/11 itself. Which frankly is really unfortunate because as a professor of international politics, I have to take students abroad–we have had many uncomfortable enounters, none of them about 9/11; all of them about Gitmo/Abu Ghraib/Rendition/detainee abuse related issues. Also, speaking of educating oneself, you dont have to take it from me. Take it from a source you probably would give more credence to. Read what Alberto Mora has to say about all this. Or the report from the Senate Armed Services Committee. Not all people who are critical of the post-9/11 U.S policies/behaviors are crazy left wing nutjobs. There are plenty of military, DoD, FBI, and Congressmen/women bothered by it too. Finally, you are correct-unlawful enemy combatants can be detained according to the GCs (although that term actually never appears in the GCs); but that's irrelevant: the U.S. has signed and ratfied a number of other treaties that protect anyone from torture, inhuman, cruel, or degrading punishment, and its part of U.S. law, too. Gitmo was a huge mistake, and the way it has been handled afterwards has only made it worse. Two very good letters to the New York Times today (1/8/12) by former Gitmo detainees on the NYT homepage (on the right somewhere) you might also want to read.

        January 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
      • Mike, NH

        Bobby, the Geneva Convention allows for unlimited detention as long as there is a conflict. As far as Al Queda membership, how is any 'partisan' to be determined to be a partisan? Unless the follow the convention by using devices on their person to identify themselves from the public at large, there is no real way. Suffice to say that apprehension on the battlefield while armed is probably all the ID you need. the 'battlefield' may be anywhere in this type of war. Illegal enemy combatants may be tried and executed, or not. Illegal enemy combatants, by their illegal nature, have reduced rights from that of a POW or legitimate resistance group. Basically they have the right to humane treatment. That's it. Whether waterboarding is torture is a matter of debate. The DoJ made a ruling on that prior to it's use.

        January 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
      • Bobby

        Mike, I know very well what the Geneva Conventions say. I have read them more times than anyone would ever want to. I teach International Law at the College level. This is not about what the Geneva Conventions say or do not say. Let's approach this from another angle: just go find out the answer to this one question, and it will take you beyond the narrow issues of what the GCs say: US Army JAGS, the USDoJ, the Office of Legal Counsel, the FBI, even in the CIA, State, and the White House, there were people against the Bush Administration detention policy, which was basically this: we have the right, because we are at "war" against terrorism, to grab anyone, anywhere, at any time, and interrogate them how we see fit, for as long as we see fit, for information we think they might have. This goes far beyond the GCs. The whole administration and USG during that time did not fall in line with this, various aspects of it...even Henry Kissinger said Gitmo should be closed and is doing far more harm than good. Why do you think that is? Don't go back and forth, just think about it, and research it. Start with Joseph Margulies book, look at Rasul vs., Bush, Boumediene vs. Bush, etc...this goes WAY beyond the Geneva Conventions.

        January 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
      • screeny

        @Bobby - I'm completely unnerved. What is an intelligent person who can back up their ideas with facts and citations doing here? I come here to read ignorant frothing at the mouth. I come here to read people who love America but have NO IDEA what this country is supposed to be about. I come here for "Kill them all, but torture them first," and Bobby just ruined my morning.

        January 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • TC

      Please do detailed research prior to posting opinions on here. The Military Commissions Act signed by President Bush and resigned by Obama has strict procedures and processes that are as strict and fair as the current civil or criminal courts for the US.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Reply
  37. Mike, NH

    How typical that yet another poorly written CNN article fails to point out that the legal justification for holding terrorists is the geneva Convention. Under the convention, enemy combatants (including non-uniformed combatants) may be held indefinitely for the duration of the conflict. If Al Queda wants to surrender itself and end the conflict, the detainees could be released.

    January 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      The Geneva Convention applies to warring nations who are also signatories to the treaties. We have never formally declared war on anyone, al Quaida is not a nation, nor is it a signatory. The current situation in Gitmo is very difficult to resolve because it just doesn't fit into any framework we've ever had to work in before.

      Given that stalemate, it would be best to try the detainees in whatever venue we decide is best – either US courts or military tribunals – and be done with them. Afterward, we can focus on devising some better way to handle things in the future.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
      • Mike, NH

        The US signed the convention. Hence we are bound by it once the Senate ratified it; which they did. A declared war is not a requirement, only hostilities. While the Convention was not written with a war in terror in mind, it still applies. the detainees are NOT POW's, but illegal combatants. as such they have very limited rights. They may be tried, and may also be executed if found guilty. It matters not how long the conflict goes on.

        January 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
      • robroy

        so mike, nh where do your men and women in uniform fall into this scenario?tick for tack eh.yeah that's right mike,your fellas can do what they want and get the thumbs up and if they did the same thing with one of your troops in uniform they'd be branded terrorists and animals.if they held 200 of your boys indefinitely,you'd go to the U.N. with intelligence stories on how you'd have to flatten a country to get them{you know how your intelligence stories have worked before ie. Iraq

        January 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  38. gary

    Gitmo is SO unAmerican ... it's an embarrassment and a dishonor to America. A Cheney / Bush infected boil on the USA

    January 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      So why is it still open after three full years? Obama just got done fighting hard to allow the President to make the final determination on detainee's fate, even holding up the military appropriations bill until he got the wording he wanted. All this does, though, is ensure that he has the same power he has held since he took office. He can order those men to trial, military or civilian, or order them released tomorrow morning if he chooses. Yet for three years, despite his campaign promises, he has failed to do so, and that boil you're referring to sits there glistening and pustulant as ever.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Reply
    • JayT

      Exactly. If they weren't terrorists before they were "detained" for ten years, they probably sure as hell are now.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  39. frootyme

    Hmm, I wonder it what way Nazis where brutal than this. Holding the inmates without trial indefinitely.

    January 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • Mike, NH

      Nazis sent 8 million to the gas chamber after starving them and working them to death. Really, anyone who tries to compare GITMO, with 3 square meals a day and time out for prayers, to the Nazis is just historically ignorant.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
      • dank

        if you seriously think that the only thing that goes on in gitmo is 3 meals and prayer breaks you are sadly mistaken. people that cite the Geneva convention are ignorant. osama himself said that 9/11 was because of united states occupation of saudi arabia. which means gtfo of our lands business and we will leave you alone. freedom and the western culture have nothing to do with it.

        January 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Bobby

      Actually the techniques used at Gitmo and Bagram etc. have their origin in Gestapo interrogation techniques, ca. 1935-1940. Google a very good expose in Vanity Fair about it.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  40. Misha Sergeyev

    USA is always right , due to USA we exist , we can have good life,
    I love USA god bless USA

    January 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  41. Herp derp derp

    I wear hats. Hats are nice. Hats make me feel like the king of the moon. Sometimes salami falls out of my belly button. Cheese is also leaking out of my ears. I'm going to go take a bath in lard now.

    January 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  42. SearingTruth

    "We became evil to fight evil, assuring its victory."
    SearingTruth

    A Future of the Brave

    January 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  43. government cheese, M.D.

    Obama is set to release 8 self confessed, high value detainees from Gitmo. Not a word from the liberal media.

    January 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • Bobby

      Huh? What is the point you are making? That the "liberal" argument that something is deeply wrong with Gitmo is somehow defeated hands down because some of the over 700 people detained there confessed? That's totally irrelevant...

      January 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • john80

      Confessions resulting from torture are unreliable. Gitmo was a giant travesty perpetrated by the neocons to subvert the rule of national and international law which ultimately made us less safe. We need to close the place down immediately and try the remaining high value detainees in legitimate courts or let them go, and never go around the constitution or the Geneva Conventions again.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
      • government cheese, M.D.

        Only 3 people were water boarded. None of these 8 were water boarded. They are proud that they had a part in 9/11. Now, Obama is letting them go to negotiate with the Taliban.

        January 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Mike

        Idiot, do you even know the definition of neocon? Neoconservatism was developed by former liberals, who in the late 1960s began to oppose many of the policies and principles associated with President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs. So, in your opinion the liberals are to blame for Gitmo? You Obamacons will say (and make up) anything.

        January 9, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Just curious – "high value"? What possible value do they possibly have now, after all this time? Whatever terrorist organization there might be wherever they're from has moved well out from underneath them by now.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • Rich

      Give me 3 months with a battery to your nuts and I bet I could make you "confess" to being a terrorist too.

      January 9, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
  44. renjikuchiki1

    Wow.... I have even more reason to learn a new language and get out of this country now. Indefinite detention... and what happens if the infinitely detained turn out to be innocent? There will be no trial to assess their guilt.... the American government has gone down hill since the 1930's....

    January 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • Bobby

      Renj, where have you been for the past 10 years? You mean it takes some mediocre quasi-blog on a so-so news network like CNN for you to realize this? Try going to Amnesty, the ICRC, the ACLU, the UN, the CCR, HRW, the Congressional Research Service, the Senate Armed Services Committee, the ECHR..anything

      January 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  45. Joe Sixpack

    The "War on Terror", like the "War on Drugs" will never end. There will be no victors, only victims on all sides.

    January 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • Aadil

      That's where you're wrong. There will be victors, at least for the short term. They are corporations. The last decade has been like winning the lottery for these groups...ie: bae systems, lockheed martin, etc etc. And they are doing all this with the blood of millions of people across the world as well as with the blood of our own American brothers and sister. And we will not hold them accountable.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  46. Darwin was right

    Some of the posts here read like they were composed by the GESTAPO or the KGB. Too bad you were born in the wrong country – you would have made good recruits for them. The "war on terror" is actually GOD'S GIFT to the Pentagon budget, which was in danger of being slashed after the fall of Communism. The fact is, you're much more in danger of being KILLED by PREVENTABLE MEDICAL MISTAKES in hospitals and clinics than by any terrorists. More than 600,000 Americans have been killed by PREVENTABLE MEDICAL GOOFS since 9/11, 200 times more than lost their lives in the terrorist attack. Yet RIGHT-WINGERS just can't wait to spend more TRILLIONS on the "war on terror." Of course, war and bombs is a lot more exciting than medical quality and safety!

    January 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  47. pinkiepi

    Thanks to atrocities like this, it's no wonder so many Middle Eastern people hate America.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  48. Chief Michael A. White Sr

    I believe that the authorities should have a set time limit to question/interrogate the detainees before they're forced to return them to their original country. Instead of pulling away from the situation we should embrace the situation with more enthusiasm. By allowing a full fledged investigation, interrogation intact, we can minimize the amount of time it takes to bring these alleged terrorists to trial and sentence them. This is my remedy to the situation. Hope you like it. Chief

    January 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
    • Bobby

      Should there be any rules to govern these interrogations, "Chief"? And also, tried in which court? Will you admit evidence gathered under coercive interrogation tehniques? Finally, what if the country of origin will surely torture the person? If we send them back, we violate international treaties we have signed. Can you enlighten?

      January 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Reply
  49. Michael

    I thought Obama said he promised that he was going to close this place years ago. Guess Bush knew what he was doing when he said this place had a purpose.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  50. dave robust

    I would like to see in Gitmo President of Iran , Venezuela, Syria and Castro brothers as well, Then we can say we have peace on the planet, VIVA USA

    January 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • Duane - St. Pete FL

      good call......

      January 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
    • Bobby

      Agreed, Add to those: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Geoffrey Miller, William Haynes, David Addington, George Tenet.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  51. joe carrigan

    Mr. Bush was right , USA is right, we can not allow muslims to put in jepeardy people lifes.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  52. Duane - St. Pete FL

    I love gitmo! I say keep it open for the rest of their lives! Poor Obama :o) to stupid to understand they will just go back to killing. Let them rot......Obama will be smoked in the election......can't wait!

    January 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  53. jason

    'as soon as the war on terror is over we'll let them go'. what a complete and utter stupid statement i cant believe that an adult said are you three years old sir... the war on terror will never be over our government has no desire to ever let this 'war' end... this 'war' has now destroyed the bill of rights.. this is working out so well for the globalists why would they ever wanna stop new world order 2012!!! slavery here we come...

    January 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
    • Duane - St. Pete FL

      relax....just arm yourself.....:o)

      January 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • HWB

      Jason what the hell are you saying??????????????????????

      January 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • matt

      Agreed, just like the war on drugs will never be over, you are fighting a fictional war.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  54. nick Yager

    Mohammad is correct on that. Well said.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  55. Mohammad Mohammad Mohammad

    The fact is that some of these people are terrorrists although gitmo has released prisoners after years of DETaining them stating that they were found to be innocent. Terrorrists are trying to destroy are American life so we are going to destroy it before they can there hands on it through the military being allowed to deatain any American citizen indefinitely without a trial... FREEDOM!!!!!!!!

    January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
    • Duane - St. Pete FL

      hey chowder head.....they are not Americans.....they don't get any rights....

      January 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Reply
      • dank

        anwar was an american. i didnt see him get a trial before they blew him to pieces. your ignorance knows no bounds. understand the definition of blowback and you understand 9/11. western culture and freedom had nothing to do with it. osama himself said that

        January 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  56. jordan

    Thanks tot he GOP who did whatever they could to keep GITMO in business.I am not a person who would support terrorism in any way and that being said any prisoners we may have should have a trial and a real sentencing.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • Duane - St. Pete FL

      shoot them

      January 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  57. askal2u

    They are terrorists, just kill them all.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      If you're that certain, there's no harm in putting them on trial then, is there?

      January 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
      • Duane - St. Pete FL

        yeah, ship all the boo hoo crowd of liberals and all the terrorists on the same island so they can tell the,
        mall how bad the US is and how much you libs love them......dummies

        January 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        Actually, Duane, I'm a Goldwater-style Conservative and have been for quite a long time. As such, I like to see the Rule of Law adhered to. Among many other reasons, it shows we are better than many of those who oppose us.

        January 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
      • HWB

        Why waste the money. How the hell do you get picked up in the middle of some god awful battlefield, with guns in hand and blood all over your body otcan you say you were on you way to school when you got picked up and sen to Gitmo. Shoot the motherf**kers and move on.

        January 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • Samet

        Those GTMO prisoners are going to sesiruoly start suing for torture and mistreatment if they complete this move!This is _so_ stupid. I wonder if they'll have civilian guards. I've got news for them civilian guards aren't going to tolerate the type of behavior that the prisoners have subjected their military guards to. I see lawsuits up the gazoo

        July 1, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  58. Tewrobert

    They HAve shown they will not change,

    Kill them AND shut that money GITMO hole down and move on,..........It will set a nice exAMPLE

    OR JUST TURN THEM LOOSE WHERE WE FOUND THEM, THIS IS CRAZY
    Our government acts like we have endless finances

    January 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  59. pooh2

    The whole Gitmo issue is as contradictory as human nature is. As a liberal I am against it. As a scientist I would like to see a logical solution. But I do recognize how complex the issue is: if someone was detained there, even when innocent, when he gets released he might get radicalized.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • d

      after being imprisoned for that many years of course they will be, how hard would it be?

      January 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      There is no legal system on earth that jails people for something they may or may not do in the future.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
      • HWB

        All the more reason to kill them.

        January 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  60. SwilliamP

    Most current and former servicemen up to and including Sen. John McCain, do not approve of torture or indefinite detention without due process. Their opinions should be heeded and not that of elected officials who were never in combat. Guantanomo is the most un-American thing that has existed in the last 50 years.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • Duane - St. Pete FL

      no.....obamas mandate that says we all must buy health insurance is.......

      January 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • HWB

      No not really. Obama is the most Unamerica thing in the last 200 years.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  61. George

    Children 15 years old were tortured at Gitmo ..... still not shut down! Nice USA!

    January 8, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • ARMYofONE

      So where is your proof of children tortured at GTMO??

      January 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
      • Raluca

        Well Dan.. to answer your qeoutisn (without advocating one or the other)..you just have to look at the different terms you and Mr. Cheney employ.He uses: enemy combatant You use: (an)other criminal These two terms reflect the prism with which you view the prisoner, and thus how you view they should be treated..

        July 1, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Phil in Oregon

      If your children were killed by them you wouldn't complain a bit.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • Duane - St. Pete FL

      move to Pakistan in protest!!!! Please.........

      January 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Reply
    • HWB

      What he was made to eat his brocolli?????????????????????

      January 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  62. Independent Mind

    If I was a member of al Qaeda, I'd be thanking George W Bush and his fellow Republicans for tearing the Constitution to shreds. In fact, I would proclaim "Mission Accomplished!"

    January 8, 2012 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • ARMYofONE

      Constitution does not apply to war criminals.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
      • Independent Mind

        What war? Did Congress declare war? I think not.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • ARMYofONE

        Congress passed laws to support the detentions in the War on Terror. Deal with it and stop whining about the poor terrorists who kill innocent people with bombs.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • Independent Mind

        Typical. Your attempt to dumb-down the discourse is a tactic often used by those who hate America. Uh, that's a joke, at least the "hate America part." For I can tell you don't hate America. Rather, you just don't grasp why and how our beloved country came into existence. Deal with it? Stop whining? Pol-leeze! And right back at you.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • Jose

        They should be heavily armed and turned loose in New York, Chicago and LA.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • HWB

      You mean Independent F**k Mind, don't you???????????????

      January 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  63. mccgeno

    They're POWs, as soon as the war on terror is over we'll send them home. What's the big deal?

    January 8, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • Independent Mind

      "War on terror" is a phrase, not a congressional proclamation of war. Congress must first declare a war before you can end it.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • ARMYofONE

      Funny, I thought they voted in Congress to go into Iraq and Afghanistan for the "War on Terror"

      January 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
      • Independent Mind

        Congress did not declare war. Congress authorized military action. "War on Terror" is just a slogan, not a Congressional declaration.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • ARMYofONE

        And Congress also passed laws so we may detain those in our coined phrase that is not a war. Look at the bills and laws passed to support the War on Terror. You sound like you support terrorists.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Phil in Oregon

      Since THEY declared war on us 20 years ago, and they never forget a grudge, we will be at war until all of them are extinct. At least with the GOP they were tried, with Obama they will be in limbo forever.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
      • Chris

        Phil in Oregon, how do you define "they" and "them"??
        This "kill 'em all" mentality just results in creating more anger (from "collateral damage" of innocents killed in this "war on terror") which helps terrorists organizations with their recruiting.
        A less simple minded solution is needed. Maybe with the support of less F-ing with other countries.

        January 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  64. Old Soldier

    Although most of the news articles aren't always interesting, the comments many of you submit are vastly entertaining. Not informative, based on reality/law, or too often not connected to the English language. Although I have no knowledge of the "Commissions" and how they might work, I've served as Summary Court Martial Judge and member of Courts Martial boards. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) follows civilian court principles (we do not allow hearsay as evidence contrary to the article). While service members in all branches fall under the UCMJ, civilians don't! These "terrorists" are first and foremost civilians. They typically don't meet the criteria for "enemy soldier" under the Geneva Conference rules, either. That was a constant headache in Germany as we planned for actions involving terrorists or subversives. I never understood how we can have a "War on Terriorism". Same as "War on Drugs". Terrorism isn't a definable country, military organization, or group. It's an act, minset, or technique. President Obama did promise to close down Gitmo, but if you read articles or listened to the news, you should know that Congress DID pull the rug out from under him on that and other subjects/promises. No President can dictate to Congress because that's unconstitutional. For those who think/blog he should be blamed because he didn't live up to the promises he couldn't keep, still your tongues and typing fingers. In this Republic, he can't over-rule Congress except in certain areas or constitutional ways. Gitmo is a headache to the military as much or more than the media, citizens, and human rights arguers. I was TDY with an MP Colonel when he received an email he was to immediately replace the Gitmo commander (fired for unprofessional behavior with a female not his wife). He was there for only a short time when his career was ruined for reasons having nothing to do with his duty performance or personal acts. We have very few MPs trained and used a longterm guards in prisons and detention centers. We can't afford to keep more on active duty as that reduces allowed numbers of other soldiers, and is essentially a career killer for the ones who hold the Military Occupation Specialty (MOS). The article doesn't mention that we held many other civilians at Gitmo only to release them when we determined they weren't actually terrorists or posed little threat they would become active terrorists. Perhaps a Republican President might resume capturing terrist leaders and send them to Gitmo for seclusion and intelligence gathering. But doing so sends truly hardcore "terrorists" into an enclosed site with others of their ilk: that's an opportunity to keep them informed of current affairs, train others to the extent possible, and recruit from a group already demoralized, angry, and ready to expand into better terrists if released. Personally, I'd rather see us kill the trash on the spot in order to avoid problems of keeping them safe, housing them, and watching them become living martyrs. The fact we kill innocent civilians with gunfire, UAVs, and other acts is not nice, but you must expect "Collateral Damage" (CD) in every conflict. A negative aspect is that dead kids or women polarize and build terrorist cells. We likely made far more new terrists than the terroists did! President Obama isn't blaming others in Congress for failing to close Gitmo, the writer did. As a lifelong Republican myself, I have to support and defend the President for his hard work and good intentions. After 30 years in combat boots, I understand that even though the Commander is in charge, he/she can't do everything by himself/herself. A Commander has a Staff to handle the nug work of an organization: in the President's case, he not only has his personal staff, civilian/military employees, but HE ALSO DEPENDS UPON THE CONGRESS TO DO ITS JOB!!! And let's not forget the President relies upon ALL AMERICANS to work together for the country to survive. We can't control Congress, but we can control ourselves and work together as a nation.....or refuse to do so and act/type like illiterate, non-thinking bozos. You have the right to free speech, but why not include critical thinking, honesty, and open minds?
    Old Soldier, out!

    January 8, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Independent Mind

      Finally, someone who knows what he/she is talking about. Thank you for your service. I too served, for 20 years. I am agreement with you up until you said, "We can't control Congress." I think you meant we cannot control the currently seated Congress but we can control how we vote. You said you are a life-long Republican. I think most people go to the ballet box and cast their vote much the same way they go to a football game and root for their home team. They wear political hats, place stickers on their bumpers, and make jokes about the other party. It's an US-versus-THEM mentality, and a blow to the ego when you find yourself on the losing side of an issue. But can you separate yourself from your party affiliation and honestly ask; where have the policies related to GITMO taken our nation? Who charged with protecting the Constitution is not doing so? Regardless of party, my recommendation is to simply not reelect them.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  65. SixDegrees

    Anybody remember the Mariel Boatlift while Carter was in office? over thirty years have passed, and many of those detainees are STILL in legal limbo within the United States, imprisoned this whole time and all but forgotten.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
  66. Bobby

    Please join the protest in DC on January 11 on the 10th anniversary of Gitmo and call for Obama to try the detainees, let them go, and/or close Gitmo forever. Please go to witnessagainstturture.com!!! Donate and Join!!

    January 8, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • ARMYofONE

      Instead of wasting time protesting something you will never change, try using the energy to raise money to help our homeless, our hungry, our fellow Americans who are in deep need.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • HWB

      Please all died before the anniversary date. That way the American public and the Gitmo lifers can live ln peace. The only one whinning are the Liberals looking for another agenda to justify their existence.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  67. Disappointed Jenny

    I am an independent, but I had campaigned for President Obama and voted for him in 2008, because he made himself appear to be on the left on most issues. However, as soon as he got elected he moved to the right, and he has continued the same old extreme right wing foreign policies of the previous administration, including keeping Gitmo open, which he had promised to close down if he was elected. Thanks for deceiving your supporter President Obama, but I am not a fool, and cannot be fooled by the same person twice. So guess what, I will campaign for and vote for whoever is your opponent in 2012, even if he is on the right, just to send a message to Washington, that American people are not dumb and cannot be played around just by giving lip service before an election.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • Independent Mind

      Perhaps you did not read the article? "Congressional roadblocks spearheaded by Republicans stymied Obama’s efforts." The article explains why Obama ran into a brick wall on this.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
      • Disappointed Jenny

        Independent Mind: An all Democrat congress with a Democrat President was in power from 2008 to 2010. My sincere advice to you and all, DON’T just go by what politicians say, go by what they actually do, and DON’T just go by what you read or hear on a news channel, do your own independent thinking and research, which is so easy with the net these days.

        January 8, 2012 at 11:49 am |
      • Independent Mind

        Jenny, you are correct and you got me there. Obama and the Dems had the monopolistic opportunity to do the right thing and close GITMO. They didn't do it before the Republicans regained control of the House. I am sorry I didn't catch that. Regards.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Jose

      What is so complicaated ? ? ? ?
      Give each one a mat knife, wire cutters, Austin Powers outfit and 250 euros in cash -- load them on a military transport and let them out at the end of the riunway in Oslo Sweden. Mission Acomplished 2.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
      • MIke

        Oslo, Norway, you mean............

        January 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • HWB

      He never moved to the right of center. He moved only from far loon left to far left. How far left are you?????????

      January 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  68. Noworries

    Didn't Barry Soetoro promise the Taliban he would be freeing some?

    January 8, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
  69. gerald

    like their future wasn`t bleek to begin with,the government can`t take them to trial because the government cannot prove they were terrorist

    January 8, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
  70. YoHi64

    Set a limit on the detentions....if the detainees aren't prosecuted and sentenced.....turn them loose.

    IF they return to the battlefield.....they're probably going to die.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • Old Soldier

      YEP, THEY MIGHT DIE. BUT THEY LIKELY WILL KILL SOLDIERS AND/OR INNOCENT CIVILIANS BEFORE DYING. Dump point, YoHi64. Think before typing. Old Soldier, out.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
  71. mipolitic

    CHEERS ! bleak future . bounce the ball.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
  72. stu jordan

    This fascist nation can imprison anyone at anytime...including it's own citizens without a trial forever (NDAA 1031). Abolish federalism to end slavery and tyranny. Federalism = Corruption = Slavery!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
  73. nick Yager

    Fair enough. Partisan politics above all else

    January 8, 2012 at 10:36 am | Reply
  74. Flyboy7588

    Who gives a crap about these savages!!! Why is KSM still breathing????? Why are any of these savages in Gitmo still breathing?

    January 8, 2012 at 10:36 am | Reply
    • Joshua Ludd

      Because here in America we believe in due process and innocent until proven guilty... not summary execution of prisoners. Don't like that? Then move to a country even less interested in justice and fairness.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • Independent Mind

      The wrong-thinking position you have taken is one of the significant reasons why our forefathers wrote the Constitution. To use an old worn out Republican rebuttal; why do you hate America?

      January 8, 2012 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • ARMYofONE

      They are prisoners of war. They are not granted conditions under the Constitution.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
      • fedup1

        Maybe we should not hold indefinitely men suspected of terror. Just seems wrong to imprison men for 10 years without proof of anything. This seems more like a way to abuse power and just go arrest anyone for no reason at all. I won't be reading these comments anymore so don't bother with your glib one sentence responses that don't really say anything.

        January 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
      • Anibal

        As a former rensdeit of GTMO, and soon to be a returnee, life there is great. Good camaraderie, good people (from the contractor side of the house anyway), and supporting the effort there was a challenge. I dare not say too much about my experiences there lest those who know me figure out who I am, but I do say that yes it is a military base, and yes there is the rule's of the road to live on base.I know some folks there who've been there 25+ years already. I have only lived there 4-1/2 years just prior to 9/11, to 04. It'll be nice to go back. As for the McDonald's there, well let me tell you some of my personal McDonald experience stories. Better yet, maybe not.Scott I heard you're leaving. Tony, see you soon

        June 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  75. Harry Tank

    Publicar? Publinee!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
  76. Ishtars Gate

    In America, it is frowned upon to be accused of something and detained indefinately.
    But if you are from another country and your skin is brown, well then... lock them up and throw away the key.
    This speaks highly of American when they are fighting to win the hearts and minds of simple people around the world.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • Harry Tank

      ... simple people – how racist!

      January 8, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • ARMYofONE

      Someone always throws a race card. however, the color of a persons skin, does not determine his race. Maybe you should educate yourself better.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  77. loveyou

    Disagree. The Democrats owned both houses of Congress for Obama's first 2 years.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
    • Duane - St. Pete FL

      yup....they have the house, sente and the press all liberal controlled for two years.....economy was hurting, wars were going on and all Obama and the libs could do was a b
      B.S. health plan that will get knocked down...and cash for clunkers....what a bunch of lossers

      January 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Reply
      • skydiver

        Learn how to use spell check, you just make yourself look foolish. Gotta love republicans.

        January 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • Duane - St. Pete FL

        busy makin money....:o)

        January 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  78. michelle

    Once again Obama blames others for his "unpopular" decisions. Does he own up to anything??

    January 8, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
    • duckforcover

      Obama has "owned up" to killing Bin Laden, vaporizing terrorists instead of detaining them, and ending rather than starting wars. Are you too Republican to face reality?

      January 8, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
      • Duane - St. Pete FL

        go thing Bush put those tools and intelligence in place so obama could pull the trigger....Bush was three times the man Obama is.

        January 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Joshua Ludd

      Oh, you mean like how Bush constantly blamed Clinton for the economy?

      January 8, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
  79. Sagebrush Shorty

    Why does my CNN comment section on this article say "publicar" instead of Post Comment? CNN please press #1 for English.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:17 am | Reply
  80. Sagebrush Shorty

    If this administration had any backbone with regard to Islamic criminals this situation would never arise. Either try them and execute them if found guilty or else send them back to whatever hope they crawled out of. The close the place down as promised by the Chosen One.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      Hole they.........

      January 8, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
  81. nick Yager

    They bin laden raid was beautiful. I agree.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
  82. Gabbo

    Who cares about these murderers ? They are fortunate to be alive.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
  83. ragitator

    You have to kill terrorists as soon as they are identified. Raise their head up, put a bullet in it

    January 8, 2012 at 10:07 am | Reply
  84. Andrew

    Seriously! Who cares these low lives deserve what they get its more than they ever gave their victims and don't give me any of this they haven't had trials crap. The reason is because they should be dead not living off tax payer dollars in GITMO one ninety five cent bullet for each of them will do just fine! Again with everything going on in the country these sh@@bags are the least of anybodies worries.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:06 am | Reply
    • Joshua Ludd

      How do you know they even had any victims or were "terrorists" in the first place without a trial?

      January 8, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
  85. nick Yager

    Galoot- I agree except that we need to afford them a trial, one way or another. We can't imprison people without a trial- it is unamerican. Even though they are not protected by the constitution we need to have the moral high ground. Let them rot in jail for eternity, once convicted.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:05 am | Reply
  86. ragitator

    Bullets are cheap, if they are too dangerous to let go,$0.04 is a quick resolution. I agree with the no prisoner approach with the drones..kill em all, let allah sort them out

    January 8, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
  87. nick Yager

    You are wrong. Obama made a determined effort but was shut down by republicans in order to generate opinions like yours. Don't drink the coolade. Partisian politics are keeping us from accomplishing anything these days.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • J R Brown

      No...the Kool-Aid is that the Republicans shut down Obama...the TRUTH is that Democrats in Congress led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid voted to de-fund closing GITMO. Look it up for yourself. They wanted something in return for their votes and Obama wasn't ready to deal.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • Ian

      Just like Obama, blaming other people for his failed leadership.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
  88. Galoot

    Bleak future for sociopathic terrorist scumbags whose sole intent was causing the pain and suffering of as many others as they could manage?

    Cry me a river.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • Joshua Ludd

      Except that without a trial, you can't know even a single one of the things you listed about them.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
  89. J R Brown

    Hey, wait...there isn't supposed to be anyone at GITMO any longer. Obama said he would shut that place down immediately if he were elected President...that it is a black eye for America.

    lol at the dupes that fell for that one....like most of Obama's promises.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • Old Soldier

      JR Brown: someone in your family or neighborhood needs to unscew your head, let in some light and fresh air, then spit into your brain housing group to raise your IQ. But reading your comment is rather entertaining....like watching Larry the Cable guy. But I suspect Larry is, in fact, intelligent and plays the fool intentionally. You, on the other hand........! Old Soldier, out!

      January 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • skydiver

      Did you not even read the article? You may not be aware of this, but Obama is President, not a king or a dictator. And I qoute from the article:
      "Congressional roadblocks spearheaded by Republicans stymied Obama’s efforts.

      Lawmakers passed legislation that cut off funding for transferring any of the detainees to the United States for trial or for building and improving detention facilities, effectively axing a plan to acquire a prison in Illinois to house detainees."
      Really, try to read before making foolish comments.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply

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