Since his first Presidential campaign in 2008, President Obama has continued to promise to close Guantanamo Bay. Yesterday, after 8 years, President Obama finally outlined a plan that would forever close the offshore detention center.
Obama’s proposal involves sending a portion of the remaining 91 detainees to other countries and placing the rest in undisclosed prisons throughout the US.
“Guantanamo Bay, if it had any usefulness, that usefulness ended by 2003,” National security expert and the host of WGBH’s Security Mom podcast Juliette Kayyem said on Boston Public Radio Tuesday. “From a national security perspective, from a moral perspective, from a legal perspective, it’s run its course and we need to close it.”
Opponents of the President's proposal have brought up concerns over bringing up to 60 or so terrorists onto US soil. Kayyem says that these concerns are overblown and ridiculous. “All the hysteria about bringing these guys here, everyone just keep you heads on. Close to 400 million people can handle 40 to 60 guys in maximum security prison,” Kayyem said.
Kayyem does not believe that any prisoner brought from Guantanamo to the US will pose a threat. “What do you think they are, Voldemort? What, that they are going snake through the bars of the prison and go kill 2000 people. It doesn’t work that way. If we don’t close it when there are 80 prisoners, we will never close it,” she said.
Despite Obama’s strong desire to close the detention center, Kayyem does not believe congress will approve the President’s. “It is clearly going to be dead upon arrival in congress,” she said. According to Kayyem, Obama’s public proposal has already achieved a significant accomplishment by bringing the issue of Guantanamo Bay back into the public consciousness. “He has brought the conversation back into the headlines. He is not an idiot. There is a bureaucracy that needs to start,” said Kayyem.
For Kayyem, the closing of Gitmo is long past do. “It is fiscally, physically, morally, legally, unnecessary. It is unnecessary from every perspective, and we can do it.”
Juliette Kayyem is a national security expert and the host of WGBH’s Security Mom Podcast. Listen to her interview above.