Edited by The Nation
FEW OF US are paying attention to Guantánamo Bay right now. But a recent United Nations report reveals that the post-9/11 forever prison is shifting into a macabre new phase: providing end-of-life care for its aging captives with its characteristic brutality. It’s a grim testament to how normalized Guantánamo is in 21st-century America.
Some will see the impending detainee deaths as Guantánamo solving the problem of itself. President Biden, to his credit, isn’t one of them. He has accelerated transfers out of Guantánamo, but his approach has a central flaw: Even if transfers could vacate the detention camp, emptying Guantánamo is not the same as closing Guantánamo. And unless the camp is permanently shuttered, it’s only a matter of time before one of Biden’s successors takes up Donald Trump’s unrealized call to fill it back up with “some bad dudes.” It could well be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who’s about to be the first presidential candidate with Guantánamo service on his résumé.