While You Were Focused on the NSA, House Republicans Voted To Keep GITMO Open

gitmoWith the Bradley Manning trial starting this week and the stories about the NSA tracking phone calls and internet activities, it’s easy to see why many of us have been distracted from other news going on this week.

Hell, we added 175,000 jobs in May (50,000 more than in May 2012—giving us 946,000 jobs in 2013 in just 5 months) and I rarely saw a single mention of it.

Don’t tell me our economy isn’t rapidly improving when almost 200,000 jobs being created isn’t a main headline of every major news channel on television.  Four years ago that would have been the biggest story in the news for the entire week.

But a funny thing happened in Congress while most of us were distracted—the House of Representatives voted to keep GITMO open.

In a partisan vote that mainly went straight down party lines, the House voted not only to keep GITMO open, but also voted against allowing taxpayer money to fund any new facilities (or renovations to older ones) to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay.  Oh, and it also blocks the transfer of detainees at GITMO to the United States.

Essentially, it’s the Republicans saying, “No, we won’t build any facilities in the United States to house these people, and even if a private company did build one, we’re blocking the transfer of these individuals into the United States.”

Bottom line is, until Democrats control Congress, GITMO isn’t going anywhere.

And I’ll be honest, I used to be a supporter of Guantanamo Bay.  But not anymore.

It’s become too polarizing in a time where we need less polarization.  We need to stand up as the supposed “greatest nation on earth” and start acting like it.  It’s hard for us to call other nations inhumane, when we act as such ourselves in matters such as this.

Our prison system, and technology, is more than adequate to house these individuals.  If we want to continue to call ourselves the “beacon of freedom,” we need to start rising above the fray and leading by example.

Sure, there are people there that have probably committed disgusting acts.  There are probably people there that would love nothing more than to take as many American lives as possible.

But even then, it’s time to end the controversy and close Guantanamo Bay.

Now I’m not saying these people should be given Constitutional rights if they’re brought here, but I think in the world of public opinion, housing these individuals on our own shores will at least provide some transparency that helps us shed this stigma that we have now.

The stigma that the United States has a facility located in Cuba that we use to torture anyone we want, whenever we want.  Which might be fairly accurate—at least I’m certain it is to a lot of people.

And while President Obama has recently expressed his desire to close GITMO down, unfortunately it’s not that easy.

With Republicans continuing to hold power in the House, and filibuster power in the Senate, there’s little to no chance at making any true headway into shutting down the controversial dentition center.

This is yet another example of why liberals must get out to the polls in 2014, and give Democrats control of the House and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

Otherwise, it’ll be the same Republican obstruction—until at the very least 2016.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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