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Holding prisoners without charge for years, with no end in sight, is abhorrent to American values and, one would think, law, yet that is the case at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. An Associated Press story about the 20th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo published in the Bangor Daily News on Jan. 10 quotes Michael Lehnert, a retired Marine Corps major general tasked with opening the center, as saying, “To me, the existence of Guantanamo is anathema to everything that we represent, and it needs to be closed for that reason.”
The story also notes that in addition to its cost to the reputation of the U.S., the center costs an estimated $13 million per prisoner per year. Thirty-nine prisoners remain at Guantanamo. Ten face trial, but proceedings have been bogged down for years; 13 have been cleared for release; and two dozen have not been cleared and have never been charged.
We’ve ended our war in Afghanistan, yet the disgraceful situation at Guantanamo continues, a drain on our treasury, an affront to our values and a blot on our reputation.