September 16, 2008
George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and John McCain all agree that the United States ought to close Guantánamo. But how can we expand a position that has been little more than a bumper sticker – "Close Guantánamo!" – and turn it into a blueprint for real policy change? This report outlines an answer to this question. It will likely fall to the next administration to carry out this new policy. The challenges are considerable, and there is no "silver bullet." In fact, there are only imperfect options. That said, Sarah Mendelson and the CSIS Working Group on Guantánamo and Detention Policy have concluded that the costs of keeping Guantánamo open far outweigh the costs of closing it. They recommend that the process of closing Guantánamo should be achieved through a policy called R2T2:
During his first week in office, the next president should announce the date for closure of Guantánamo as a detention facility in conjunction with announcing the establishment of a new policy. Implementation of this new policy would be charged to a blue-ribbon panel of eminent Americans tasked to review the files on all remaining Guantánamo detainees. The duties of the panel would include categorizing all detainees to be released or transferred to the custody of another government or, alternatively, to be held for prosecution in the U.S. criminal justice system, whose record in international terrorism cases far outshines that of the Guantánamo military commissions. Since 2001, the U.S. criminal justice system has convicted 145 terrorist suspects, whereas the military commissions, thus far, have only convicted two. Overall, this straightforward policy – R2T2 – can help restore our reputation as a country that is built on and embraces the rule of law.