The Obama administration faces legal, logistical, and diplomatic challenges in its plan to close the Guantanamo military prison, says the Washington Post. If the effort stumbles, it could bring steep political costs. As the outlines of President Obama’s intentions surfaced in a draft executive order pledging the humane treatment of detainees and an end to torture, along with closure of the prison, the difficulties became equally clear.
Transferring cases out of Guantanamo raises the prospect that some may not stand up in court because of evidence tainted by torture or based on intelligence material that is inadequate in court. If the administration were to create a new system of indefinite detention for prisoners considered too dangerous to release or impossible to prosecute, for example –Obama could alienate part of his core constituency. If, as expected, some suspects are moved out of Cuba, even to the confines of a military brig in the U.S., the administration is likely to face intense local opposition. Some relatives of Sept. 11, 2001, victims were dismayed by this week’s suspension of terrorism trials. They believe the existing process of military commissions is fair and that Guantanamo provides a secure place to hold and try terrorism suspects and enemy combatants.