Guantanamo Detainees Still Living in Limbo
It’s been 12 years since the first al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners of the post-911 Afghanistan conflict were taken to prison cells in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Denied access to the American legal system by Congress, the nebulous 2001 law that allowed for indefinite detention (the Authorization for the Use of Military Force or AUMF) of combat terrorists may be expiring soon. The problem lies in the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which is set for the end of next year. Does the AUMF automatically expire the day the last pair of American military boots leave the ground?
More importantly, what sort of legal and political limbo does that leave the Guantanamo Bay detainees in? Legally, should they be set free immediately? Processed through the American legal system? There are no easy answers to these questions, and it doesn’t help that President Obama, on his second day in office back in 2009, ordered the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo closed. In fact, it was one of his oft-repeated campaign promises and tapped into a rising sentiment of anti-terrorism conflict weariness.
Today, 164 detainees remain in custody in Cuba, which is down from a high of 660 about a decade ago. Troubling to Congress and others is the reality that an estimated 30 percent of released terrorists have found their way back to into battle in various locations. (Derek Dowell – VNN) (Image: Flickr | JTF Guantanamo)