Politics – The One Good Thing to Come Out of Guantanamo Bay

If there’s one good thing to come out of Guantanamo, which is a blight on American history, it’s this: never has the plight of stateless persons been in more of a spotlight.

Statelessness is a complicated, and quite frankly terrifying, problem.  Obama deserves a lot of credit for holding trials on US soil and moving some of the Guantanamo detainees to US soil for processing.  He’s even sent some detainees back to their home country.  It’s considerably more transparent than the Bush administration and is a move that announces accountability and invites scrutiny, something the far left has glossed over and deserves a bitching out for, especially since lately the refrain is to whine that Obama is just like Bush.

Unfortunately, Obama can’t do that with all the prisoners, and here we run into the problem of statelessness.

We have some prisoners that, for some reason, their country won’t take them back.  So what do we do with them?  We can’t dump people we’ve decided are dangerous on a foreign country without their consent: that’s a violation of that country’s sovereign rights.  We can’t naturalize them, for obvious reasons.  Sure, we can try them, get that done, but what do we do after that?  The story always ends the same: people in confinement for the simple reason that we have nowhere to put them.

This has been a problem, and an increasing one, for decades.  Thankfully, it’s extremely rare that a stateless person is arrested by a foreign government.  More often, they’re simply marooned.  The most famous example is of an Iranian man, Mehran Kassimi, who lived at Charles De Gaulle airport: he was stuck there for eighteen years, which is apparently the fodder of cute comedies starring Tom Hanks.

Still, it is a problem and it’s only going to increase.  One hopes that Obama will use this lingering stain to go to the UN and have some real progress made on this issue.  We need architecture in place to care for stateless persons.  No human being, no matter what they may have done, deserves to rot forgotten.


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