Last night I was watching RT television, the Russian station for English speakers. I saw a story that shocked and amazed me.
We haven't closed Guantanamo Bay. I knew that. I knew that the President had signed an executive order, but Congress refused to expend funds to transfer prisoners. I knew that there was a high security prison sitting empty that could receive any dangerous prisoners, but paranoid conservatism has used the boogie man of terrorists as a way of stopping progress.
Here's what I didn't know:
Half the prisoners at Gitmo have been cleared for release, but for some reason have not been released.
The prisoners at Gitmo have been at that prison for eleven years many without charges.
Amy Goodman's column in the Guardian details the potential stain to the Obama Presidency represented by the deterioration of conditions at Gitmo. What Goodman doesn't mention is that there have been suicides related to this indefinite detention. What Goodman doesn't mention is how this is playing in the world press.
RT did a story on it. Aljazeera has a story on Gitmo's shame. Interpress. Foreign Policy. World wide stories about the problems and the administration's denial that we are detaining indefinitely, when, in fact we are. The 89 who should be released and haven't been - what is that about?
What will it take before we stop this? Will the hunger strikers have to die, or will we strap them to hospital gurneys and shove hoses up their noses and force feed them, as we are doing with Tariq Ba Odah. Daily we tie him down and force feed him, and we've been doing this for six years. If shamed before the world will we close the camp or will we, as we have on so many other things, noisily and angrily deny that there is any problem?