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Gitmo Tag

In response to the ongoing border crisis, the Biden administration is apparently considering setting up a migrant detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. They are seeking a private contractor to run said facility. Can you even begin to imagine the media's reaction if Trump had done this? It would be nuclear.

In November, Republican Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina became the youngest member of Congress. You may remember the inspiring speech he gave at the Republican National Convention, where he explained that a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. His Democrat opponent just proved that North Carolina voters made the right choice.

President Barack Obama transferred 15 Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United Arab Emirates, making it the largest transfer in his time in office. He sent 12 Yemenis and three Afghans to the Middle East country, leaving only 61 prisoners in the Cuba base. Gitmo had 242 prisoners when Obama took office in 2009.

Having campaigned on closing Gitmo and on his first day in office signing an executive order to close it within the year, Obama has been steadily emptying the detention center, often in dubious deals and scandalous, logic-defying swaps.  This is something that he has been determined to accomplish while in office, and with time running out, he has today proposed a new plan to close Gitmo for good. Speaking somewhat uncomfortably about American values (as he always does), Obama laid out his reasoning behind and plan for closing Gitmo within the year. CNN reports:
Obama outlined a blueprint that involves transferring the bulk of remaining detainees to other countries and moving the rest -- who can't be transferred abroad because they're deemed too dangerous -- to an as-yet-undetermined detention facility in the United States.

While Obama cried for TV cameras yesterday, his administration was putting the finishing touches on a plan to transfer up to 17 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. This has been in the works for a while. Catherine Herridge of FOX News reported Monday:
Source: 'Al Qaeda followers' among 17 being transferred from Gitmo The group of 17 detainees expected to be transferred out of Guantanamo Bay as early as this week includes “multiple bad guys” and “Al Qaeda followers,” a source who has reviewed the list told Fox News. Little is known publicly about which prisoners are being prepared for transfer, but the Obama administration has notified Congress it plans to ship out 17 detainees – some of whom could be transferred within days.

Tom Cotton, the freshman senator from Arkansas, has never minced words when giving his opinion of Guantanamo Bay detainees. In a speech he gave at the Heritage Foundation in Washington last week, he reiterated this position, making a strong case for continuing to hold the remaining 107 prisoners in Cuba. Opening his remarks by recalling President Obama's first call to close the prison some seven years ago, Cotton quickly came to the point. America continues to keep prisoners in Cuba because to do otherwise would threaten our security.
We do not maintain Guantanamo because we want to. We maintain it because it is in the best interest of our national security to do so. In this way, Guantanamo is not a unique site-not sui generis or separated from historical practice, as many of its critics say. It is, in plain terms, a humane and professional wartime military prison: the unpleasant but inescapable necessity of any conflict, well-grounded in the laws of war. Guantanamo was created to house captured combatants and has always been set for closure once hostilities end.

Obama has been trying to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay since being sworn in as president and now he's running out of time. Would it be surprising for him to just go around congress? The Wall Street Journal reports:
Obama’s Gitmo Workaround President Obama is about to send Congress a doomed plan to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, so he can then shut down Gitmo the way he does nearly anything—by executive order. White House press secretary Josh Earnest repeated the familiar drill Wednesday. They “work with Congress where we can,” Mr. Earnest said. “But if Congress continues to refuse, I wouldn’t rule out the President using every element of his authority to make progress.”

Joining Rep. Trey Gowdy and Sen. Tim Scott at a Presidential town hall forum in South Carolina Thursday, Governor Rick Perry took questions ranging from entitlement reform to national security. During a particularly emotional moment, Governor Perry went off script to discuss his deep-rooted feelings about military service. When asked by an audience member if he would close Gitmo, Perry answered, "listen, I'd keep Guantanamo Bay open. The bad guys don't need be over here. This president does not know how to, and I'm just going to editorialize here just a little bit -- this president does not know how to connect the dots. If he did, we would not be negotiating with Iran today. If he did, we would have the Castro brothers on their knees in Cuba, but we threw them a lifeline." Perry continued, "this president does not understand, either he doesn't have the experience of how foreign policy works, or he is so philosophically out of tune with the vast majority of Americans." When the conversation turned to Iraq, Perry's demeanor changed.

At a speech to the City Club of Cleveland yesterday afternoon, President Obama summoned once again the hobgoblin of his presidency: Guantanamo Bay. During a Q&A session the President revealed that, if he could start his presidency over, with perfect hindsight, he would close Gitmo on day one. Who does he blame for this error in judgment? The bipartisan coalition to close the facility, of course!
“I thought we had enough consensus there that we could do it in a more deliberate fashion,” Obama added. “But the politics of it got tough, and people got scared by the rhetoric around it. Once that set in, then the path of least resistance was just to leave it open, even though it’s not who we are as a country and it’s used by terrorists around the world to help recruit jihadists.” Instead, Obama said, we’ve been forced to “chip away it” a little bit at a time, releasing a small number of detainees who could not be charged but leaving more than 100 still in captivity with no trials in sight.

Berg-dog. Club Gitmo. Feeling so...ISIS right now. Every year, the city of Tampa, Florida gathers at the Gasparilla Pirate Festival to soak in a little sun, a little more music, and one too many of those gigantic frozen margaritas. Not exactly the best venue to discuss pressing issues of foreign policy, but still---you'd expect the attendees to have at least a basic awareness of the things that threaten their country at any given moment. Or would you? Maybe not after today. Fox News' Jesse Watters traveled down to Gasparilla to see just how many attendees he could coax into revealing a rudimentary grasp on current events. The results will not shock you. From Fox News Insider:
“Do you think [the administration] should keep Gitmo open or close it?”
“Open, so we can have fun.” “Club Gitmo?” “You know it!”
No. Surely not.
“Do you know what ISIS is?”
“Being alone.”
This is real. This is a thing that is real that has happened and if I have to deal with it, then so do you. Watch:

Newly elected Republican Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) has no problem stating how he really feels about Gitmo detainees. In a hearing on the administration's recent decision to close the Guantanamo Bay facilities, (something Senator Obama promised to do when he was running for President in 2008), Senator Cotton grilled Brian McKeon, the Deputy Undersecretary for Defense Policy. Cotton hammered the point that the administration's decision to close Gitmo was not one based on national security, but one born of politicking.
Senator Cotton: Ok now I want to explore the so-called risk balance between recidivism of released terrorists and the propaganda value that terrorists get from Guantanamo Bay. How many recidivists are there at Guantanamo Bay right now? Secretary McKeon: I'm not sure I follow the question... Senator Cotton: How many detainees at Guantanamo Bay are engaged in terrorism or anti-American incitement? Secretary McKeon: There are none. Senator Cotton: Because theyre detained. Because they only engage in that kind of recidivism overseas. Now let's look at the propaganda value: How many detainees were at Guantanamo Bay on September 11, 2001?
After a few more questions and feeble answers, Senator Cotton goes in for the kill.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal released a report on Barack Obama's latest push to fulfill his most famous campaign promise---achieving the permanent closure of U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Senior administration officials are saying that the President is serious about coming through on the Gitmo closure, and is considering taking executive action to get the job done. The Wall Street Journal's report reveals Obama's two most likely routes to bypass Congress:
He could veto the annual bill setting military policy, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, in which the ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. is written. While the veto wouldn’t directly affect military funding, such a high-stakes confrontation with Congress carries significant political risks. A second option would be for Mr. Obama to sign the bill while declaring restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners an infringement of his powers as commander in chief, as he has done previously. Presidents of both parties have used such signing statements to clarify their understanding of legislative measures or put Congress on notice that they wouldn’t comply with provisions they consider infringements of executive power.
Similar efforts are likely on immigration, "climate change" and other areas where Obama is unable to obtain congressional approval. Whichever option he chooses, he's sure to meet with political backlash that won't be limited to anger at the White House. Although the 2014 midterms will be behind us by the time the President makes the choice to act, the use of executive action on the issue could have a detrimental effect on democrats seeking election (or re-election) in 2016.