Editor’s Note: This piece first appeared at The Huffington Post on Jan. 11, the ten-year anniversary of the opening of the military prison at Guantánamo Bay.
By Gary Isaac, Counsel, Mayer Brown LLP, and an Advisory Board member for the American Constitution Society's Chicago Lawyer Chapter. Mr. Isaac is also a contributor to The Guantánamo Lawyers: Inside A Prison Outside The Law.
Today's an anniversary, but there's no reason to celebrate. Ten years ago the first detainees were brought to Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo has undermined American values and jeopardized our national security for a decade -- that's long enough. So I've joined a group of retired military officers and habeas attorneys calling for Guantanamo's immediate closure. We've launched www.closeguantanamo.org and have initiated a petition urging President Obama to honor the commitment he made, on his second day in office, to close the prison.
Signatories to our Mission Statement include Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Gen. David M. Brahms (Ret.); Rear Adm. Donald J. Guter (Ret.); Rear Adm. John D. Hutson (Ret.); Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for the Military Commissions at Guantanamo; retired federal Judge John J. Gibbons, who argued the first Guantanamo case in the Supreme Court; along with many other colleagues who've been involved in the Guantanamo litigation.
Over half the prisoners still at Guantanamo were cleared for release years ago, by an Obama Administration task force made up of the top intelligence and law enforcement officials in the nation. Some were cleared previously by the Bush Administration -- as long ago as 2004. These men are hardly the "worst of the worst" -- they're simply politically inconvenient.