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Most Americans against closing Guantanamo: Poll

world Updated: Jun 02, 2009 20:47 IST
AFP
Most Americans against closing Guantanamo: Poll

Two of every three Americans are opposed to closing Guantanamo, with an even higher percentage against moving some of the detainees from the "war on terror" prison to their own US states, poll results showed on Tuesday.

When asked if the United States should shutter the notorious facility and move some of the accused terrorists to US prisons, 65 percent of Americans polled said no, with just 32 percent saying yes, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll published in the newspaper.

The ratio jumped to three to one against when respondents were asked whether they would support moving the detainees to the respondents' home states, the poll said.

The findings spotlight the difficulties facing President Barack Obama as he tries to convince Americans that he should honor his campaign pledge to close the world's most controversial prison, at the US naval base in southeastern Cuba where 240 detainees are still held.

On his second full day in office Obama ordered the prison camp closed within a year. But he ran into a buzzsaw of opposition in Congress, where Senate lawmakers led by Democrats in Obama's own party blocked the use of 80 million dollars reserved for closing Guantanamo, and voted overwhelmingly to stop the use of any funds to move the prisoners to US soil.

By 40 to 18 percent, poll respondents said they believe Guantanamo has made the United States safer, accepting the arguments put forward by Obama's predecessor George W Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney that the prison has boosted US security.

Obama last month insisted he was right on vowing to close Guantanamo, and said potentially dangerous Al-Qaeda detainees could be safely held in US "super-max" jails.

But Cheney warned that a premature Guantanamo closure and a shift of its inmates onto US soil would be "cause for great danger."

The poll of 1,015 adults was conducted Friday through Sunday and has a margin of error of three percentage points.