I guess you can add this to the list of President Obama’s executive actions designed to circumvent an unhelpful Republican Congress:
In a series of secret nighttime flights in the last two months, the Obama administration made more progress toward the president’s goal of emptying the military prison at Guantánamo Bay…Now 127 prisoners remain at Guantánamo, down from 680 in 2003, and the Pentagon is ready to release two more groups of prisoners in the next two weeks; officials will not provide a specific number.
President Obama’s goal in the last two years of his presidency is to deplete the Guantánamo prison to the point where it houses 60 to 80 people and keeping it open no longer makes economic sense.
Hmmm. Will Republicans be willing to close Guantánamo if it no longer makes economic sense to keep it open? Color me skeptical. This is a tough-on-terrorism issue, not a budget issue. If I had to guess, I’d say that Republicans would refuse to close Guantánamo if there were even a single prisoner left there. If it becomes a US version of Spandau, well, that’s just fine. Closing it is for appeasing, weak-kneed, liberals, not rock-jawed severe conservatives.
In fact, I could easily see this becoming a stock question during the Republican primaries. “Would you ever close Guantánamo?” The candidates will then take turns trying to top each other with ever more absurdly hawkish answers, the same way they did with immigration in 2012. Like this:
Candidate 1: I will never close Guantánamo. These are the most dangerous people in the world.
Candidate 2: Not only wouldn’t I close it, I’d expand it.
Candidate 3: Expand it and make it more secure. I’d build a moat.
Candidate 4: And an electrified fence.
Candidate 5: I’d take away their Obamacare!
At that, everyone would look admiringly at Candidate 5 and silently give him the victory.