Here's a plan for reducing the population of Gitmo that I can support: sending illegal combatants back to their home countries.

The Bush administration is negotiating the transfer of nearly 70 percent of the detainees at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to three countries as part of a plan, officials said, to share the burden of keeping suspected terrorists behind bars.

U.S. officials announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement with the government of Afghanistan to transfer most of its nationals to Kabul's "exclusive" control and custody. There are 110 Afghan detainees at Guantanamo and 350 more at the Bagram airfield near Kabul. Their transfers could begin in the next six months. ...

he agreement with Afghanistan is the largest of its kind so far. Prosper said yesterday that the U.S. government is working to send 129 Saudis and 107 Yemenis from Guantanamo to the custody of their home countries. If the U.S. government is able to arrange the transfer of detainees who came from all three countries, the population at the U.S. facility will drop by 68 percent, from 510 to 164.

Great news, as long as the receiving governments don't just set these guys free. I doubt they will though, because there won't be much incentive. The countries mentioned don't care much about human rights and wouldn't think twice about keeping people in prison just to use them as a negotiating tool with the US.

This also seems to be the most morally acceptable solution. I don't like the idea of holding people forever with no charges, but I also don't want these terrorists to get involved with the American court system. If we send them back to their home countries they can be charged there (or not) and dealt with by legal systems with more authority over them. If I were a Guantanamo prisoner I'd be begging to stay.



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