Close Gitmo? Interesting Statistics

With all the talk about “closing Gitmo” from president-elect Obama, to Senator McCain, even including SecDef Bob Gates, President Bush, many Congress members, most of the media, and a preponderance of European sources and activist human rights organizations, it is natural to think that this idea has the support of most Americans.

Guess what? I was shocked to see that according to a late Quinnipiac poll 44% of Americas are AGAINST closure. A large percentage – 27% – are undecided, and a rather small percentage, less than a third, favor immediate closure of the facility.

We are already seeing Senators and Representatives from areas as widespread as Colorado, Kansas, South Carolina, and California speak out against relocating detainees to their home turf. You will find some of their comments on earlier blog posts.

And no wonder.

Those of us who are following these things have noted repeatedly suicide attacks against detention facilities in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq intended to cause chaos and free detainees. In several locales escapes and breakouts have resulted in thousands of hard-core terrorists rejoining the fight.

Add to this already volatile mix the unsettling prospect of demonstrations, constant legal wrangling, and additional international criticism regardless of where these men are confined and it is clear to see why people are against the idea of having detainees moved into their neighborhoods.

Even pro-closure advocate Senator Diane Feinstein (D, CA) is now saying that it will take “up to a year” to resolve the complex Guantanamo issue.

Glib promises that fall off the tongue easily during heated campaigns often run into a brick wall of reality when it comes time for implementation. It will likely be the same with Guantanamo. I expect Congressional debate and hearing to take place after Obama makes his announcement.

Let us work to have unemotional, rational debate over ultimate disposition of these detainees and not rush into a situation decided in haste and regretted at leisure. One way to become an informed citizen about this critical issue is to read my book Inside Gitmo. You can pre-order off the web site here today. I hope you take advantage of the opportunity.

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