Roberts threatens to block Appointee over Gitmo closing

Brenden Williams

President Obama is taking steps to close Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, but Kansas Senator Pat Roberts has threatened to put a hold on an appointee of President Obama if he follows through with the closing of the long standing prison.

“For good or bad, the US Senate has to approve appointees and the senate has given individual senators something called the power to put a hold on appointees,” said Bob Beatty, professor of political science. “The Senate guards its power zealously, and individual senators can say ‘I want a hold on this appointee’, and they don’t have to give a reason. The leadership will generally respect that. That being said, I think if he wants to put a hold on this, it’ll definitely happen because the republicans control the senate.”

“The only thing the President can do is when the senate is out of session, the President appoints the person, and they would get to have the job until the end of the next session,” said Beatty. “It’s called a recess appointment. It’s a game the President and the Senate play over the years.”

Both sides of the argument have their reasons, some for the image of the American Justice System, others for security.

“The arguments are that President Obama says that it’s an American prison in a foreign country,” said Beatty. “It makes the United States look bad and it’s a good recruiting tool for terrorist groups. So he wants these prisoners in the United States where they would go through some sort of process rather than this prison.”

“The argument that I’ve heard from people who don’t want it closed,” said Beatty, “the one that we hear the most is… you don’t want these prisoners here, terrorist groups might attack. I at least have heard that. Guantanamo is fairly secure because it’s on the tip of an island, that being said, it’s possible someone would attack a prison. Actually springing these guys doesn’t seem probable, it’s not a James Bond movie. At the same time, some people in Kansas [say] ‘we don’t want these prisoners here; safety and security’, but Kansas is building a biological weapons facility. Now if you’re a terrorist, what do you think would be a great place to blow up? The anthrax building. On the one hand they say we shouldn’t put these terrorists here, on the other, when they’re handling anthrax, ‘oh it’ll be fine’.”

Freshman business major Alex Lasher believes the prison should be kept open, not for security risks but for the concept.

“I think it’s a bad idea. I don’t think we should keep terrorists and people who are very dangerous on American soil. I think more than anything it’s the concept of having them on American soil rather than keeping them in a far off place where no one knows about them.”