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NACDL News: NACDL Urges Follow-Through On Guantánamo Closure
By Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer
NACDL News columns.
Following President Obama’s major foreign policy speech on May 23, NACDL is optimistic about the administration’s recommitment to closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. Guantánamo and indefinite detention are failures on this country’s counterterrorism record and, as with all failed policies, they must come to an end. NACDL agrees with President Obama that Guantánamo is unnecessary and too costly. It also undermines the rule of law. NACDL will do whatever it can to assist the president in achieving this goal because closing the facility makes sound legal and economic sense.
Following President Obama’s speech, NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin said: “Guantanamo will not close overnight, but progress requires action, not words. President Obama should begin the transfer of detainees from Guantánamo to their home or third party countries. He should see that his orders as commander-in-chief are followed, and that Periodic Review Boards are established to review all indefinite detentions. With the help of prominent members of Congress, the president and Congress can make it happen.”
Since late last year, the president has had the ability to transfer detainees out of Guantánamo by using a waiver provision granted to him by Congress in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. While it is important for the president and Congress to work together on closing Guantánamo, it is also important that the president use all of the tools already at his disposal. NACDL encourages President Obama and Secretary Hagel to work together to get waivers signed and men out of Guantánamo. NACDL also commends the president for re-evaluating the situation in Yemen and moving towards sending those men home.