Will closing Guantanamo make America safer? President Obama vowed to close the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects in Cuba by this month, but making it happen is proving a lot harder than he imagined.




The battle we are fighting against violent extremists will not be won with military power alone. It will also require using America's powers of persuasion and our stature in the world. That's why the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has become such a liability.

Our nation has tong been associated with symbols of freedom: the Statue of Liberty, the Stars & Stripes, our Constitution. Guantanamo, where some prisoners have been held for seven and a half years without trial is now also a symbol--of our failure to live up to our own ideals.

For much of the world, Guantanamo has come to represent the denial of basic human rights. It symbolizes indefinite imprisonment without access to legal advice, as well as abuse and mistreatment.

Our enemies use Guantanamo as a rallying cry; for groups Eke Al Qaeda, America's failure to act in accordance with the values we preach has become a way to recruit more people to their cause. In a war of ideals and principles, Guantanamo is a wound we must heal.

Respected military readers like General David Petraeus and retired General [and Secretary of State] Colin Powell have said we should close Guantanamo. So has Senator John McCain, whose sufferings as a prisoner of war in Vietnam give his opinions added weight. They know that dosing Guantanamo will make our nation safer by eliminating that rallying cry. And it will restore our standing so that we can insist that our own troops are treated humanely if captured.

Closing Guantanamo will not be easy; there are many details to work out, and it might seem easier to do nothing. But in this case, the harder decision is also the right one, and the one that will make our nation safer and more secure.



Shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay and releasing detainees is a gamble--one that seems to value America's popularity abroad over our national security.

The executive order that President...

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