Thursday, February 12, 2009

Castro Wants U.S. Out of Guantánamo By Jerome Grossman and my slim justification for staying there!

President Barack Obama has earned justified praise all over the world for announcing that he will close the United States prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba within a year. This military colony has incarcerated hundreds of people seized in the U.S. - Afghan war of 2001-02 and the Iraq war that began in 2003. Because Guantánamo is outside the United States, the U.S. has argued that these so-called "unlawful combatants" are not subject to the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners. They have not been tried and some have been tortured.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro praised Obama after his election as "honest" and "noble" but on January 29 he demanded that Obama return Guantánamo to Cuba "without conditions". Castro said, “Maintaining a military base in Cuba against the will of the people violates the most elemental principles of international law..... Not respecting Cuba's will is an arrogant act and an abuse of immense power against a little country.”

The United States does maintain an important naval station at Guantánamo Bay covering 28,000 acres. The site was leased to the U.S. in 1903 by a treaty that was renewed in 1934. Since 1960, the Castro government has refused to accept the token annual rent of $5,000 from the U.S. and has repeatedly pressured for the return of the base.

The U.S. helped the people of Cuba liberate themselves from the Spanish overlords in 1898. While they had the power to do so, the U.S. did not directly annex Cuba only because of its pretensions to being an anti-imperialist nation, an important political issue at that time. However, Cuba was forced to grant the U.S. special privileges to intervene in Cuban affairs at any time which we did in 1906, 1912, 1917, and 1920 by landing our Marines. The revolution led by Castro ended that arrangement.
The U.S. has more than 700 military bases in 130 countries, arrangements entered into willingly by the nations concerned. When a country asks us to leave, that request is within their right under international law. To ignore such a demand would call into question U.S. motives and raise the spectre that the bases were forced upon “little countries” by military or economic pressures. The only superpower has a basic interest in maintaining international law and could enhance its position as world hegemon by giving up Guantánamo Bay as the host country requests.

Because no superpower, ancient or modern, has ever surrendered its military and economic preeminence voluntarily, it would be unrealistic to ask the U.S. to do so. But there are ways of leading, even dominating, that lessen the resentment of those led. One method is the use of "soft power" to promote education, health care, infrastructure, etc instead of spending money and manpower on military bases that flaunt superpower occupation and offend local nationalist sentiment.

Looks like Obama opened a can of worms! Soft power right! We have done a heck of a job promoting education huh? I know the lease is open ended and could never really understand why. The lease has no stipulated ending date. It will end under any of the following conditions: The US fails to pay the lease, the US abandons the base or finally, when they both agree to end the agreement.

I agree, it makes no sense whatsoever to keep a base where you are not wanted. Seems like a good way to have sanctions lifted and gain favors from Obama.
I do think Guantanamo is strategically important and that would be all that wanting to keep it open would indicate at least in my limited knowledge!


Dave Dubya said...

I don't think the US would leave Gitmo anyway. It would set a precedent for other nations to ask us to pack up and move.

an average patriot said...

I agree!With Obama changing his mind on rendition and knowing closing Gitmo would take years at best not much will change here.
He satisfied his promise! He signed the orders but I don't think it will close but who knows!

Brother Tim said...

I agree that we'll probably never give up Gitmo. Bullies never give up the ground they take willingly. It will have to be wrested from them. Seeing how Cuba is so small, the chances for that happening are nil.

However, I don't agree that it could, or should, take years to close it down. Gitmo could be totally closed and abandoned within 24 hours. Once again, everybody's buying into that 'logistics' bullsh*t. It's all propoganda.

What ever happened to 'Americans can do anything'? I guess that means, anything but shut down a base in a third world country that doesn't want us there.

The weight of American avarice will eventually crush the life out of her.

an average patriot said...

You know I agree with you and we have discussed how quick it could be closed down.
However you know standard BS Politics. Stall, stall, stall until something comes up.
I saw a special on the possible closing when it was first mentioned and it was said it could be litigated for up to 2 years. Knowing politics I would expect longer!

Jerome Grossman said...

Same old stuff
More razzle dazzle

an average patriot said...

The more things change the more they remain the same. The stimulus vote showed us Obama does not matter either only the Party's. The names have changed but the game is the same!