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JFoster Wrote: To not acknowledge the fact that the defense industry is our economic "bread and butter" is a very limited point of view as well. Defense companies make billions of dollars arming our over-populated military. Another base is just another dollar, especially in countries we shouldn't have any interest in in the first place, and the fight against communism argument has run its course, holding less water in regards to Cuba.
I've been trying to explain that we have to divorce the two. I'm on board with reigning in the military industrial complex, but conflating the issue of the prison at GITMO with the overall defense industry is a red herring.
Closing down GITMO is a human rights issue, not a budgetary one. The military budget is roughly $581 billion dollars this fiscal year. The prison at Guantanamo Bay will cost roughly $450 million out of that $581 billion budget. That translates to .078% of the military budget.
We also have to remind ourselves that Congress has the power of the purse in this country and they have made it impossible for President Obama to do much of anything at GITMO without their approval. They have passed amendments explicitly prohibiting the President from transferring any prisoner being held there to American soil, even on military bases within our borders. He is not a king and can't just ignore them.
He does have the power to negotiate prisoner swaps and transfer individuals being held at GITMO to a foreign country, but if no country wants them then we are back to square one. Of the remaining 91 prisoners being held there, 35 have been cleared for release but no country wants them. The remaining are in limbo because the Congress hasn't drafted new legislation establishing a military tribunal after the Supreme Court ruled their last attempt as unconstitutional.
So it's not as simple as just saying "we need to close GITMO." I would love for us to close GITMO and dozens of other military bases, but we are a country of laws and the President can't just do whatever he wants.