The Uighurs have become something of a Guantánamo Rorschach test: hapless refugees to some, dangerous plotters to others. For the Obama administration, the task of determining which of those portraits is correct and whether the men can be released inside the United States has raised the stakes for the president’s plan to close the Guantánamo prison. Either choice is likely to provoke intense reaction.
The dilemma has taken on new urgency because the plan to close the prison depends on other countries’ accepting some of the remaining 241 detainees Diplomats say that with President Obama embarking on Tuesday on a European trip, the effort could falter unless this country signals it is willing to take some of the Guantánamo prisoners.
At home, though, Mr. Obama faces the prospect of a storm of protest from some quarters if he admits detainees the Bush administration labeled terrorists and barred from this country. Already, word of the men’s possible release has brought denunciations and anxiety from military groups, families of Sept. 11 victims and political figures.
An online debate over the issue accompanies the article.