Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued Wednesday that keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open is a humane choice, given the alternatives.
Graham said that closing the facility would lead to U.S. forces being coerced into “killing people instead of capturing them, because there’s no jail.”
The Senator added that the other alternative would be extradition, which would open up entirely new difficulties.
“If you do capture them and you can’t put them in American control, you’re given the choice of having to turn them over to another country that would be less respectful of human rights,” Graham said.
Graham added that the U.S. would also not be able to keep detainees in Afghan prisons, such as the one located on Bagram air force base.
“The Afghan government can not be the jailer for the United States,” Graham said. “It would collapse the Afghan government.”
The remarks came during a press conference with fellow Republicans and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman on legislation to keep Guantanamo Bay open indefinitely.
Citing concerns over the role the prison plays in anti-American propaganda, the Obama administration has committed to shutting the facility down. However, in the face of strong political opposition, they have met with little success.
Graham noted Wednesday that although he was sympathetic to the desire to shutdown the facility, maintaining it is the only possible option for the foreseeable future.