The Gitmo Quandary

President Obama and his administration should consider three actions to stanch the political and international bleeding over Guantanamo, by immediately transforming its nature for however long it stays open.

With Congress balking at funding relocation of prisoners from Guantanamo to the United States, the Obama administration should consider taking the following actions to reduce the controversy over time:

1) Administratively give prisoners at Guantanamo (at least those who otherwise would have been relocated to the US) all rights and procedural access that they would have on U.S. soil.

2) Immediately make Guantanamo a model of continuous access for human rights monitors including the ICRC, turning it from a symbol of abuse to one of humane treatment.

3) Use military commissions or other mechanisms to assure swift judicial determinations for new detainees, and make this process as transparent as is consistent with maintaining necessary short-term operational secrecy.

These actions together would reduce the legal and symbolic differences between Guantanamo and the US, leaving only the NIMBY argument. In fact a central holding facility would afford more transparency than could be achieved by parceling detainees out to various US prison facilities. Hopefully this would also reduce the political black eye the administration has received on this issue.