Denver Bar Association
September 2009
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Docket Committee Saves Gitmo

by Marshall Snider

Poor Barack Obama. Has any U.S. President ever taken office with more grief on his plate? An economy in the tank, two wars that might be equally unwinnable, health care in shambles, North Korea and Iran rattling nuclear weapons, terrorists around every corner, detainees at Guantánamo Bay with no place to go, and car manufacturers — the pride of America — going bankrupt. Why would anyone want this job, anyway?

We at The Docket, Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians, feel a great deal of sympathy for the travails faced by our nation and our President. Lawyers being problem solvers, however, we have not just been sitting around bemoaning the fate of the union. Instead, we recently spent nearly half of one of our Docket Committee meetings over a lunch of Chinese food and diet sodas, brainstorming solutions to the problems facing our country. And we think we may just have come up with a one-size-fits-all solution to several of the President’s bigger problems.

It was simple to put the pieces together, once we gave it some thought. The administration wants to close the facility at Guantánamo Bay, where we are holding hundreds of enemy combatants and others suspected of terrorism. At the same time, if you have ever seen documentaries on Cuba (I know you have never been there; that would be illegal) you know that Cubans drive American cars manufactured in the ’50s and ’60s. Clearly, Cubans need cars, and the United States now not only owns Chrysler and GM, two companies that manufacture cars, but our government is actually paying people $4,500 to trade in their old clunkers. Add to that piece of intelligence the fact that our government has a long term lease on a big plot of land in Cuba. Duh!! Is this a no brainer, or what? The U.S. government should open a car dealership at Guantánamo Bay!

We not only have the cars and the land, but the large number of unemployed detainees at the Gitmo facility constitute a ready and able local labor force (you can’t tell me that of these hundreds of actual or imagined terrorists there aren’t a few mechanics or people with sales experience). The government also owns Citibank, which could finance the car purchases, and AIG to write liability insurance for the buyers.

In short, all the pieces are currently in place for the grand opening of Uncle Sam Motors in Guantánamo Bay. We own the car manufacturers, the lot, and the financing and insurance capabilities. Better still, we are located on a small island filled with people who need new cars and obviously can’t get them in Cuba (location, location, location). These are people who will jump at the chance to receive a subsidy toward the purchase of a new American fuel efficient car, considering that the subsidy about equals their annual income. And think of the trade-ins: 1960 Chevy Bel Airs, 1955 Hudsons, maybe a ’49 Studebaker or two — if we can’t resell them to retail customers, we can fix them up and peddle them to collectors as classics. Everybody wins.

That’s okay, President Obama. No need to thank us; it’s just the Denver Bar Association doing its patriotic duty, helping out where it can. But maybe if you could reimburse us for the Chinese food, that would be a nice gesture.


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