Looks like rights are on their way back to America.On Tuesday, President-elect Barack Obama began the pre-work for reversing one of the more controversial Bush era policies by announcing his intention to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
He plans to do this by freeing some of the detainees already cleared for release and to charge the rest in U.S. court. This, of course, is far easier said than done.
Many of the nearly 250 prisoners Obama would like to release have only been held as long as they have because the Bush administration has been unable to find a country willing to accept them.
Further, according to the Associated Press, holding trials in the United States could require the creation of a new legal system capable of handling the sensitive information that is inherent in some of the cases, which has incited criticism from some Democrats.
Many Republicans, too, take issue with the plan on the grounds that it will put potential terrorists on U.S. soil, creating new security risks. No matter how you look at it, closing Gitmo won't be easy. Still, it's the right thing to do.
Since the passage of the PATRIOT Act and the grand opening of Gitmo to terrorism suspects shortly following the Sept. 11 attacks, our nation has defied its Constitution by denying any sort of due process or writ of habeus corpus to these prisoners. The last time we checked, the Constitution does not have a citizenship clause for rights.
It's high time we returned to our principles. This is a step in the right direction.