U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-South Carolina, was one of just three Republicans in the U.S. House Wednesday to join Democrats in supporting a move to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and potentially allow the transfer of prisoners there to U.S. facilities.
Afterward, Sanford said he had voted to close the Cuban prison because he opposes the government holding people indefinitely – in many cases, the Guantanamo prisoners have been held for years without being formally charged with crimes.
“Indefinite detention is not consistent with the values that America was based on,” Sanford said in an interview. “If you look at the military tribunals . . . there was finality to the process: `We find you guilty in military tribunal, we’ll take you out back and shoot you, or we’ll let you go.’ It was not, `We’re going to hold you for the next 40 years.’ ”
However, Republicans in the House – with help of 21 Democrats who broke rank with their party – defeated the proposal to close Guantanamo Bay.
The issue came up during debate of the National Defense Reauthorization Act, a bulky piece of legislation that decides military spending and authorizes various national defense programs.