Some Gitmo Detainees to be Resettled in Palau

Palau to the Rescue

It’s only costing $11.7 million per detainee.

Months of moral grandstanding and intense diplomacy are finally yielding dividends: President Obama has convinced Palau, a Pacific archipelago and long-standing U.S. ally, to resettle a small group of the least dangerous Guantanamo detainees. All it took was $200 million in foreign aid to a country with 20,000 residents and a GDP of about $164 million.

Headed to Palau are the Uighurs, ethnic Chinese Muslims who were picked up in 2002 near Tora Bora. Some of them received weapons training at Afghan camps affiliated with al Qaeda or the Taliban as part of their separatist movement — the Uighur minority is brutally repressed by the Chinese government — though they are not considered threats to the U.S. or other Western nations. But they were left in legal limbo because they could not be returned to China, where they would likely be tortured or worse, and no other country would give them sanctuary.

The Uighurs are not America’s problem alone — they were captured during “the good war,” after all. Yet for all Europe’s excoriations of Gitmo as a blight on America, no one jumped at this easy chance to reduce the prison population. This was true during the Bush Administration and has remained so for its supposedly more enlightened successor. According to news reports, the Obama Administration asked more than 100 allies (i.e., basically everyone) to accept custody.

Those same objections are bedeviling the Administration’s efforts to resettle the 250 or so remaining terrorists at Gitmo, nearly all of whom are far more dangerous than the Uighurs. Palau deserves credit for its “humanitarian gesture,” as Palau President Johnson Toribiong called it, though the $200 million in aid probably helped. That works out to $11.7 million for each detainee — or about $10,000 for every Palau citizen. At the going per capita rate, it would only cost $615 billion to move Gitmo to France. No doubt the French would still have to think about it. Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A12

Would you take them in for $10k?


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