WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. lockup at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is unlikely to be closed in 2008 now that many Republicans are praising its use.
Earlier this year, even President George W. Bush and his top advisers spoke of closing the facility, which has been a target of international criticism.
But the latest attempt in Congress to shutter it faces defeat as many Republicans embrace Guantanamo as a symbol of the fight against terrorism, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
"It's a Republican litmus test this year," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, of Nebraska, one of the few Republican lawmakers calling for Guantanamo to be closed.
"The Republican Party has won two elections on the issue of fear and terrorism" and its going to try again, Hagel said.
In recent years, the Bush administration has slowly reduced the number of detainees held at Guantanamo to the 340 being held there now, the Times reported.