President Obama addressed the nation about closing Guantanamo Bay.
It's been seven years, one month, and one day since President Barack Obama ordered the closing of Guantanamo Bay.
The executive order was one of the very first things he did upon arrival in office, signing it on Jan. 22, 2009. All these years later, though, and the detention center in Cuba remains very much open. Why? Congress has repeatedly voted to keep the facility open, not transfer its inmates elsewhere, and other moves designed to stall.
For years, the facility has remained home to suspected terrorists, though many were never so much as charged with a crime. It's an end-around in our judicial system — which, as the president has noted on multiple occasions, has a pretty solid track record when it comes to convicting terrorists — and a recruiting tool for our country's enemies.
Still, it remains open.
Nearing the end of his second term, the president isn't ready to give up on his goal of closing the facility. And so today, he addressed the American people, outlining a clear plan to shut it down.
The four-part plan involves everything from working with other countries to working with Congress. The whole thing — in all its details — can be found on the Department of Defense website.
There's simply no reason to keep it open, and closing it should be a bipartisan goal.
And the president outlined five reasons we need to close it now.
1. It's not effective.
2. Its existence has been used as a terrorist recruiting tool.
3. It's expensive.
4. In the past, Republicans have supported its closure.
5. We pride ourselves on being a free and just society. This doesn't reflect that.
"This is about closing a chapter in our history. It reflects the lessons we've learned since 9/11," Obama said.
Keeping people held without charges at Guantanamo Bay does not keep us any safer than trying them in federal court. What it does, however, is stain our country's legacy.
It's time to move past that.