Gitmo Closing: an Easy Call for Bush


The lines appear to be drawn on closing the country's notorious prison at Guantánamo Bay.

Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice are for it; Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales are against it.

This should be an easy choice for President Bush, the so-called decider, who says he wants to shut it down—but not yet. He is not deciding.

There needs to be no dillydally on this issue. Bring the prisoners to the United States, and house them separately from felons here. Then file charges or deport them.

Gitmo, as it is called, has become a nightmare. Prisoners have been held for years without formal charges. Further, there have been many suicide attempts and reports of abuse by guards.

These men are no angels, but we are a nation of laws as well as order. Cheney seems to differ on that proposition, given his latest outrage to refuse to follow the law on reports of intelligence gathering.

The forces to close Gitmo include Colin Powell, the former secretary of state, who failed to capture Bush's ear while in office. Cheney and his pal Don Rumsfeld saw to that over and over.

Rice seems to at least be trying for something positive on the foreign policy side before Bush leaves office. Gates, the un-Rumsfeld, left a cushy job as president of Texas A&M to boost Bush's standing. Cheney seems intent on crushing any attempt to open up on all issues affecting war policy. Gonzales is a hopeless figure who has even lost the confidence of many Republicans.

Why is this so difficult for Bush? I think we all know the answer: He defers to Cheney, the real decider.