POLITICS

Guantánamo: It's Obama's Disgrace Now

US President Barack Obama speaks during the Inclusive Economic Growth and Development forum at the Old Customs House which he
US President Barack Obama speaks during the Inclusive Economic Growth and Development forum at the Old Customs House which he attended with Costa Rica's President Laura Chinchilla, in San Jose on May 4, 2013. Obama turned the spotlight on economic ties with Latin America on Saturday as he wrapped up a three-day trip to a region roiled by drug violence. Obama sought to shift the narrative away from the drug war during visits to Mexico and Costa Rica this week, praising trade as a path to fighting poverty and creating jobs that turn young people away from a life of crime. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Once upon a time, in the long-ago days of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, we may have had the worst and most abusive presidential administration in the history of the United States, but at least there was some moral clarity. You were on their side or you weren’t; you either bought into the idea that the “war on terror” was a special set of circumstances that required an immense expansion of executive power and the indefinite suspension of constitutional norms, or you didn’t. Nothing quite symbolized that division like the military detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It was a locked-down and secretive facility in a country that didn’t want us there, where hooded and manacled men – in theory, the most violent and dangerous anti-American militants on the planet – were kept under mysterious conditions, denied the rights we routinely accord to suspected murderers and rapists, and subjected to interrogations we didn’t want to know about.

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