19 Retired Military Leaders Urge Biden to Close Guantánamo
WASHINGTON – Today, 21 years after the opening of the Guantánamo Bay (GTMO) detention facility, 19 of the nation’s most respected retired military leaders call for the Biden administration to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.
“When 19 of the United States’ most valued military leaders urge the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, it’s time for the administration to listen,” said Michael Breen, President and CEO of Human Rights First and an Army veteran. “The facility has long been a stain on our country’s reputation as a beacon for human rights. It’s time to end our use of this relic of the ‘War on Terror’ and start a new chapter of American leadership on human rights.”
This letter was released simultaneously to one signed by a coalition of 159 organizations urging President Biden to close Guantánamo.
The letter reads, in part: “We ask that you do everything in your power to finally bring this dark chapter of United States history to a close. Guantanamo is synonymous with inhumanity and injustice; an affront to the rule of law. It damages our international reputation, makes us less safe, and remains a target for charges of U.S. hypocrisy from the likes of China and Russia. All of this at the astronomical cost of $540 million per year (over $15 million per detainee).”
The detention camp at GTMO opened on January 11, 2002, and it has since held 779 detainees, all Muslim men from around the world. Nine men have died at Guantanamo, and thirty-five detainees – among them, twenty cleared for transfer – remain at GTMO today.
Human Rights First has a long record of working to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 2016, the organization coordinated former senior U.S. officials who supported closing Guantanamo. In 2013, Human Rights First coordinated a letter from 26 retired military leaders to the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights calling for GTMO’s closure.