Let US clear up Guantanamo mess

Some sense from a columnist at the Times, no less: it was the USA who rounded up men too casually in their “war on terror”, and it is they who should take in the victims, not expect other countries to pay for their mistakes:

The United States should provide a home for those Guantánamo prisoners whom it cannot charge for lack of evidence or is unable to deport. That is the only way to bring an honourable end to one of the worst legacies of the Bush Administration.

That will not happen, however. US officials have put out feelers to dozens of countries, asking them to take in the now-unwanted prisoners who were scooped up with too little thought in the War on Terror. Even though it is the Bush Administration asking, other governments are, understandably, treating the request as a tender to bid for the favours of Barack Obama’s team. The President-elect has declared that one of his first acts will be to shut down the camp, a blight on the US’s reputation around the world. How better to help him to start with a clean moral slate than to give a good home to a few Guantánamo inmates?

This is ridiculous. The US rounded up these men too casually, failing in the heat of battle to distinguish fighters from bystanders, including those turned in for bounty by their compatriots. The tribunals it held after the men had been taken to Guantánamo Bay were merely a nod to the Geneva Conventions, which require a country to check that the PoWs it holds really are enemy fighters. Now that the US has acknowledged - seven years after the first men men arrived at Guantánamo - that it lacks evidence to try all but a handful, it should take them to the US mainland. After all, if it is safe to repatriate them, then it is safe to let them live in the US.

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