Retired generals urge Obama to keep Gitmo promise

In a letter to the president, 27 former military leaders call for renewed efforts to close the facility

By Natasha Lennard
December 5, 2012 3:14AM (UTC)
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Detainees at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay (Wikimedia)

Twenty-seven retired military generals and admirals signed their names to a letter Tuesday, urging President Obama to follow through on his four-year-old promise to close the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo.

Last week the White House threatened to veto a new version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which in its current form could impose prisoner transfer restrictions that may compromise plans to close the facility. Last year, Obama threatened a veto over similar objections but backed down and signed the act into law. As such, retired top military brass are urging a redoubling of efforts to close the camp. The letter, organized by Human Rights First, noted:


There remains a clear path to closing Guantanamo during the second term of your presidency. Detainees who have been unanimously cleared for transfer by the interagency taskforce, which included all the relevant security and intelligence agencies, should be transferred. Detainees who have allegedly committed crimes should face civilian trials in federal courts or an appropriate foreign jurisdiction. Although your administration continues to hold law of war detainees without charge or trial, under the laws of war they may be held only while hostilities are ongoing. We are approaching the end of the war in Afghanistan and the Secretary of Defense has said that the United States is “within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda.” Your administration should now turn its attention to what it will take to combat terrorism over the long term.

Human Rights First has put forward an updated Blueprint on how to close Guantánamo in President Obama’s second-term.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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