Chalk another one up for human rights in the U.S.
Just two days after formally taking office, President Barack Obama made good on one of his campaign promises Thursday and signed an executive order to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within one year.
And really, it’s about time.
Since the base was opened to enemy combatants and other terror suspects following the Sept. 11 attacks, the island prison has been a glaring example of the hypocrisy of Bush’s policies in the U.S.
Allegations of the mistreatment of detainees, including the use of harsh interrogation techniques — including waterboarding — to gather information from potential terror suspects.
Of course, this was nothing compared to the greater injustice faced by prisoners of Guantanamo: The fact that they could be held indefinitely without formal charges until the U.S. government chose to release them or grant them a military trial.
What’s less American than that?
Thankfully, in June, things began to change.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that terror suspects, previously stripped of all rights, did indeed have the right to habeas corpus — that is, the right to protest their detention.
Soon after, Obama announced his intention to close the prison camp altogether, and to grant detainees trials in civilian court while still on the campaign — a promise he made good on today.
We applaud Obama for taking this step in defense of human rights in America. It’s about time somebody stood by the principles of this nation.
Hopefully, it’ll last.