Alex Massie

Diet Guantanamo!

Text settings

Watch this one run and run. First up is Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings:

"If we have transparency and accountability, than you can leave Gitmo just like it is," he said. "The physical plant of Guantanamo is built to hold people. And therefore I argue and will pursue the administration to give a look at legislation that I am developing that will give transparency and accountability and may satisfy our allies as well," Hastings said, noting that he would enable groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Red Cross to have better access to monitor the facility.

Hastings has yet to seriously discuss the proposal with the White House but asserts that it could be a viable solution given that the new Gitmo comes with a guarantee of no torture.

Hastings, a former U.S. District Court judge, cited a problematic prison he once ordered closed, renovated and eventually reopened.

"I went in-same facility-we just changed what was going on inside and therefore the perception changed," he said, when asked about President Obama's assertion Guantanamo poses a international perception problem for the nation.

Given that Obama has vowed that no torture will take place at the facility, Hastings said Obama will be able to declare that "the new Guantanamo is open."


National Review's

I continue to be baffled by this: If President Obama truly is the transformative, transcendent figure all the hype tells us he is, why can't he "cleanse" Gitmo of its purported terror-driving taint by his personal certification that it's now a top-notch detention center — "rule of law" compliant, consistent with "our values," and otherwise worthy of The One's very own seal of approval? Why is that straightforward, cost-free alternative not an option? After all, he's maintaining Bush policies like rendition, state-secrets, and military commmissions. We are now told we can trust that these former atrocities have been purged of their Bushie taint because Obama has personally scrutinized them and decided to keep them after an oh-so-thoughtful nip here and tuck there. Why does that rationale not work for Gitmo?

Look, as I said last week, this business about Gitmo being a blight on our reputation in the world and a driver of terror recruitment is the most uninformed gust of high-minded, reality-defying blather ever blown across a debate. But even if we concede this dreck for argument's sake, shouldn't the problem be an easy one for a messiah of Obama's stature? Obviously, nothing will satisfy the ACLU until the combatants are roaming America's streets while Pelosi waterboards Cheney, but if Obama says Gitmo is now fine, shouldn't that be enough for the Europeans?

This doesn't seem a difficult point to grasp. But, I dunno, maybe it is.

UPDATE: Batting third, is dear old Victor Davis Hanson:

We have seen that we can rename terrorists and the very war on terror in hopes of changing reality. Tribunals, renditions, intercepts, Iraq, wiretaps, etc. — they all continue, but with a kinder, gentler Obama facade. I think Guantánamo will follow the same Orwellian script. Readers can probably imagine the new euphemisms that prove Obama closed the facility as promised even as it will remain open under some such inspired nomenclature that suggests that it is neither a prison nor in Cuba — The Center for Man-Caused Disasters? The Victim Center of Overseas Contingency Operations? The Caribbean Institution for Conflict Resolution?  

Aye,right enough, Guantanamo's a laugh a minute.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleInternationalbarack obamatorture