Fox Hosts Former Bush Admin. Officials To Criticize Obama's Plan To Close Guantánamo

Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS

Fox News turned to former George W. Bush administration officials to criticize President Obama's aim to close the Guantánamo Bay detention center, a facility established by the Bush administration.

Obama is expected to deliver a speech reiterating his pledge to close Guantánamo and transfer its detainees to other countries. In anticipation of the president's remarks, Fox featured former Bush administration officials Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove to push back against the idea of closing Guantánamo.

On America's Newsroom, Rove, a Fox News political analyst and former Bush adviser, warned that "we ought to be very careful" about transferring detainees out of Guantánamo, and said: "I worry about the rush to close Gitmo. We're in a war, and we need a place to keep these people."

Later on America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer said to Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary under Bush, that an argument can be made that captured terrorists must be sent to either a U.S. prison or Guantánamo. Rumsfeld responded by touting Guantánamo and expressing skepticism about Obama's push to close the facility:

RUMSFELD: It should be Gitmo. Gitmo's probably as well run a prison as you'll find. Now, prisons are not nice places. But these people were picked up on the battlefield, they're down in Guantánamo because of their danger they pose to the United States. There's a process that handles them in a humane way. And closing it -- I would really want to see what he says and what he plans to do.

The Guantánamo Bay detention camp was established by the Bush administration in 2002. As Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth has noted, the facility is highly controversial, and Bush himself said he wanted to see it shut down.

Moreover, the costs of keeping the facility open are very high. According to Reuters, Guantánamo costs $900,000 per prisoner annually, and the Pentagon estimates it spends roughly $150 million annually to operate the facility and military court system at Guantánamo. In comparison, analysts say the average cost across federal prisons to house inmates is approximately $30,000 per year.  

Furthermore, experts say that Guantánamo hurts America's image and helps terrorist organizations recruit more members. 

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