The tiny Pacific island nation of Palau has agreed to accept 17 Chinese Muslims, members of an ethnic group known as Uighurs, who are being held at Guantanamo Bay.
If sent back to China, it is feared the detainees would be executed. Palau retains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and the U.S. may reportedly give the island nation up to $200 million dollars in exchange for accepting the detainees.
A blogger at Hotair argues that Palau is getting a good deal for accepting the 17 detainees:
One can’t blame Palau for taking the deal. First, their entire GDP for 2008 was $164 million, according to the CIA Factbook. Over 85,000 tourists visited Palau and provided about $120 million of that. Now 17 Uighurs will come to Palau with $12 million each. If they’re truly rehabilitated, well, what a deal, right? Plus, Palau gets to stick a finger in Beijing’s eye; they don’t recognize the communist regime at all and have close ties to Taiwan.
Author and journalist Andy Worthington argues that the move shows signs of desperation on the part of the Obama administration:
Could this, then, be the answer to the Obama administration’s Uighur problem? Perhaps, but if so, it will demonstrate only that, when it comes to cleaning up the mess that is Guantánamo, cowardice, desperation and the least enviable form of pragmatism available are yet another example of Bush and Cheney’s despicable legacy.
The Agitator remains skeptical, arguing that taxpayers are paying for government error:
Just so I have this straight: Because the government wrongly detained the anti-Chinese government Uighurs, U.S. taxpayers have to shell out $200 million, and the Uighurs have to spend the rest of their lives exiled to Palau?
A blogger on Flickering Pictures still has many questions:
As much as Obama deserves praise for shutting down Guantanamo, I can’t help wondering: if they’ve done something wrong, shouldn’t they be charged, rather than sent off to a tropical paradise? And if they’re innocent, shouldn’t we be talking about compensation for their kidnapping and subsequent seven years of imprisonment on a Cuban military base, with no explanations, lawyers or telephone calls?