Obama Says Guantanamo Prison Doesn’t Help U.S. Security, ‘It Undermines It’

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from NPR,

U.S. operation of the Guantanamo Bay military detention center in Cuba is “contrary to our values” and is seen as “a stain on our broader record” of upholding the highest rules of law, President Obama said Tuesday as he announced plans to close the facility.

The administration’s proposal is “not expected to go very far,” as the Two-Way reported earlier today. Devised by the Pentagon, the plan outlines how a shutdown might work — something that was requested by Congress. But it comes months after lawmakers from both parties approved legislation that prohibits the president from moving detainees onto U.S. soil.

Obama made his case for the plan at a live event at the White House.

“For many years it’s been clear that the detention center at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security,” he said. “It undermines it.”

The president added that this wasn’t his opinion alone, but one that’s shared by military advisers — and he said that the facility provides a recruiting and propaganda tool for terrorist groups such as ISIS and also hurts America’s relationships with its allies.

“Let us do what is right for America,” Obama said, seeking to close a chapter in the country’s fight against terrorism.

Several times during his speech, Obama invoked his predecessor, President George W. Bush, noting that Bush oversaw the facility’s use to house suspected terrorists — and also wanted to close the prison.

“I give him credit for that,” Obama said, calling it “an honest assessment on his part on his part of what needed to happen.”

Toward the end of his remarks, the president said, “I don’t want to pass this problem on to the next president, whoever it is. And if as a nation we don’t deal with this now, when will we deal with it?”

Responding to Obama’s plan, the American Civil Liberties Union’s executive director, Anthony D. Romero, applauded the effort to close Guantanamo — but he added, “his decision to preserve the Bush-created military commissions is a mistake.”

More than a third of the current occupants at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay are now eligible to be transferred to other countries, the White House says.

Although Republican majorities in the House and Senate are not inclined to go along.

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