This is not the American way
More than half of the remaining prisoners in the Guantánamo Bay prison camps - 86 of 166 - have been cleared for release.
But at Guantánamo they sit, unindicted and untried. By their continued presence, especially with more than 100 of them engaged in a hunger strike, they serve America's enemies purposes more so than most of them probably ever did while they were outside.
Most Americans likely have little sympathy for the hunger strikers or for the detainees in general, regardless of whether the prisoners actually engaged in terrorism. But the message the prisoners are sending is not for the United States alone. It undoubtedly has resonance in their homelands, where their plight contradicts America's assertions that we are a nation ruled by law, and where their continued detention without charges serves as a recruiting tool for our enemies.
Meanwhile, as Congress passes special legislation to ensure that air traffic control towers are staffed, American taxpayers continue to pay more $800,000 per year to house each Guantánamo prisoner, about 26 times the cost for each inmate in the civilian federal prison system.
After failing to close Guantánamo in his first term, President Obama has restated his intention to do so. That should have widespread support from Americans who respect the Constitution, believe in human rights, or simply want to stop wasting money.