From a P.R. perspective shutting down Gitmo is obviously the right move. But what about from a substantive sense?
I’m not looking to defend the place. And the P.R. angle alone is reason enough to close it down. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves: Shutting Gitmo wouldn’t much more than a symbolic victory.
Symbolism counts for a lot, but it’s not the whole game. And
the problem is that while Gitmo has become the symbol and shorthand for the
Again, I support closing Gitmo—because giving jihadists free advertising seems like a bad idea. But there’s also a perverse possibility: Unless the closing is connected to other changes it U.S. could end up making the U.S. less accountable. After all, if there’s no symbol to focus on then I gotta bet the pressure to improve the overall detention system would dissipate. In other words: no spooky photos, no outrage.
Consider renditions. Suspects have repeatedly been tortured
when shipped to other countries. Now, I’m just guessing here, but let’s say
Gitmo was shut down. I imagine some of the prisoners would simply be released.
Others would (finally) face military tribunals and presumably be shipped to brigs.
And what the prisoners whom the
In other words, apart from the symbolism, what would closing down Gitmo achieve? Would it the secret system of prisons any less...secret? Would it afford detainees access to anything approaching due process? Would it mean fewer of them get tortured?