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Closing Gitmo has become merely symbolic

The plan that President Barack Obama announced to close the Guantanamo Bay prison is really a plea to Congress to stop banning the transfer of detainees to the U.S. for trial or indefinite detention. Unfortunately, the odds of this Congress doing so are tiny. The issue has become symbolic, deafening the congressional majority to arguments for its closure.

The administration argues that closing Gitmo is a "national security imperative" and a resource drain. Both points are overstated. Yes, Gitmo is bad for the nation's image and thus unhelpful to counterterrorism. Still, there is little evidence that the prison, as opposed to U.S. wars, generates terrorism against the U.S. The White House's rough and probably overstated estimates, meanwhile, say that closing the prison would save $335 million over 10 years--that is .00005% of projected Pentagon spending over the decade, leaving aside war costs.

Source: Cato Institute voting recommendation on Guantanamo Bay , Feb 23, 2016

Israeli settlements exacerbate hostilities; separate instead

Ariel Sharon's government continues to construct settlements and a security fence in the West Bank, effectively annexing Palestinian areas to Israel.

There is no excuse for Palestinian suicide bombing, but Israeli actions also exacerbate hostilities. In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.

Source: Cato Institute voting recommendation on Israeli settlements , Dec 19, 2003

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Page last updated: Aug 03, 2017