Following Leon Panetta’s statement implying that Guantanamo Bay will be open for a while, Defense Secretary Robert Gates conceded to the Senate Arms Services Committee yesterday that the possibility of closing the detention center is “very low.”
“I think we’re in the position, frankly, that the prospects for closing Guantanamo, as best I can tell, are very, very low,” said Gates, according to Politico. Gates said the closure is unlikely because of significant political opposition, and because it isn’t clear where high-profile terrorists will be kept if it shuts down:
Gates said that the “very broad opposition” to closing the controversial detention center from members of Congress was a key reason why he said he didn’t see the closure happening any time soon. …
Asked by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) where Osama bin Laden and other high-profile terrorists would be kept if Gitmo were closed, Gates said “the honest answer to that question is, we don’t know.”
The reason for the “very broad opposition” is obvious — Guantanamo Bay is absolutely necessary for detaining high-profile terrorists. There is simply no alternative right now. President Obama knows this, but can’t come out and say it because he made opposition to the detention center a major part of his campaign. That’s why he has to take self-contradictory positions like signing a bill that prevents Gitmo inmates from being transferred to U.S. soil, and then declaring that he will fight to overturn those restrictions.