I must admit I sat up when I saw Senator Rand Paul’s statement regarding the possibility that American citizens could be sent to Guantanamo. Depending on your perspective, there are pros and cons to such a course of action.
§ Guantanamo is isolated.
§ Media access is easy to control…and unauthorized “snooping” would be extremely difficult.
§ There is an embedded, professional, and experienced intelligence group already there.
§ Policies and procedures for dealing with detainees in a humane manner are in place. (As an aside, the current detainees are treated very well)
§ There is room available in the state-of-the-art facilities as the detainee population has been drawn down dramatically over the past several years.
§ The location is close enough for “day-trips” by politician/authorities. (This is more important than you think for those who wish to get “eyes-on” without being gone too long.)
§ This would be Public Relations nightmare…both domestically and internationally. When I was there, we fought the “GTMO stain” every day.
§ International human rights groups would demand equal access to American detainees….just as they do foreign detainees.
§ We would hand our international enemies incredible material for their propaganda machines.
§ Well-funded and opportunistic attorneys would be in court almost immediately …further increasing pressure on the decision-makers. Attorneys are already deeply engaged at GTMO.
§ I believe legal experts would argue that American detainees (not held on US soil) be afforded Geneva Convention rights.
§ The JTF detention facilities are small. While it would be possible to keep the current detainee population separate from the Americans, it would be difficult.
§ How the guard force (average age 22) would react to treating Americans like foreign detainees is anyone’s guess. Having separate Rules-of-Engagement for different detainee groups is also problematic.
§ You can’t keep guards and detainees from talking to each other. The guards rotate off the island continually. Secrecy won’t hold.
§ The cost of GTMO is extremely high. Everything has to be shipped or flown in. Everything. The daily cost of a detainee is exponentially higher than that of a US prisoner.
§ Cuban-American relations are thawing….albeit slowly. This could easily complicate that dynamic. I believe the State Department would engage.
§ Detained Americans would think and act differently than the current population. Disgruntled detainees don’t try to escape…they attempt suicide. Americans would try to escape.
Steve, clearly this is not an all-inclusive list, but you get the idea of some of complexities involved in such a decision.
It is remarkable to me that we have reached a point in our history that we are actually having discussions like this. Sad really.
Keep fighting the fight…in the end, the good-guys win.