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Gitmo and NIMBY

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"Gitmo and NIMBY"

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One piece of soggy toilet paper the right is now throwing up against the wall is the idea that it’s unsafe to imprison suspected terrorists in prisons located on the North American continent rather than in a facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This is pretty absurd on its face—if there’s one thing our government does a lot of it’s build prisons and hold people there—but it’s worth observing the element of bad faith here as well. The Gitmo location was, recall, never initially motivated by considerations related to the physical security of the space.

Rather, the appeal of the location was its ambiguous legal status. Guantanamo Bay is in Cuba, not the United States of America. But since the Cuban Revolution of 1958, we’ve had no Status of Forces Agreement with Cuba authorizing the presence of an American military base. Consequently, argued the Bush administration, neither Cuban nor American law applied there. This was somewhat daft if you ask me, albeit clever, but whatever you think of the merits of the argument that is why the prisoners were sent there. The Bush team never felt it was unsafe to send prisoners to Fort Leavenworth or to the supermax prison in Colorado, they just didn’t want to be in a position where they had to follow the law.

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