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A stellar assortment of retired US generals and admirals nailed their colours to the mast on Tuesday for the closure of the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay.
Nearly 40 retired flag officers signed a letter to US Senator John McCain denouncing the camp.
Sen McCain read out the impassioned plea during a debate on the Senate's annual defence policy Bill.
An amendment proposed by Sen McCain would have enabled the Obama administration to try suspects in the US or release them overseas.
But it fell eight shy of the 60-vote threshold for passage.
A Republican amendment that would have made it even harder for President Obama to move prisoners was also defeated, illustrating the complete disarray the issue has caused in the Senate.
The generals and admirals, however, were in no such doubt when they wrote that "Guantanamo is a betrayal of American values.
"The prison is a symbol of torture and justice delayed.
"More than a decade after it opened, Guantanamo remains a recruiting poster for terrorists.
"The Senate National Defence Authorisation Act... would provide a meaningful step towards responsibly closing Guantanamo.
"It authorises the transfer of detainees... for purposes of resettlement or repatriation and it permits transfers to the US for purposes of prosecution, incarceration and medical treatment.
"We support these provisions and oppose efforts to impose more stringent restrictions on the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo."
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