ThinkProgress.org: This morning on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Gen. Colin Powell strongly condemned the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, calling it “a major problem for America’s perception” and charging, “if it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo — not tomorrow, this afternoon.”
He also called for an end to the military commission system the Bush administration has created to try Guantanamo detainees. “I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system,” Powell said. He scoffed at criticism that the detainees would have access to lawyers and the writ of habeas corpus: “So what? Let them. Isn’t that what our system’s all about?”
“[E]very morning I pick up a paper and some authoritarian figure, some person somewhere, is using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds,” Powell said. “[W]e have shaken the belief that the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open… We don’t need it, and it’s causing us far more damage than any good we get for it.”
Powell also sounded off on conservatives, including Vice President Cheney, who oppose diplomacy with Syria and Iran, calling their view “short-sighted.” Powell endorsed direct talks “not to solve a particular problem or crisis of the moment or the day, but just to have dialogue with people who are involved in this region in so many ways.”
Click here for the video.