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New Administration Must Confront Dilemma at Guantanamo

At the top of the next president's to-do list surely sits confronting the challenges presented by the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While the secretive detention center has been a poster child for the curtailment of basic rights by the US since the War on Terror began, many Guantanamo detainees present severe threats to global security.

A review of military tribunal files reveals that a good amount of the 255 detainees have significant terrorism credentials, such as connections to al Qaeda leaders, assassination experience, and training in the use of poison and disguises.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama say they will close Guantanamo Bay. Whether it stays open or closed, the new leader must find a way to avoid atrocities, such as holding journalist Sami al-Hajj for six years without a single charge at Guantanamo, while also taking seriously the concerns of intelligence agencies. Hopefully, the next administration will use all the tools of an upright criminal justice system to prosecute terrorists.


Join The Conversation
Calimie Calimie 8 years
I didn't know McCain wants to close it, I'm glad he does in case he wins today. That must get closed ASAP, it goes against every human right ever. Those people must be publicly tried and, if found guilty, taken to a prison to serve life. No more torture should be allowed by the US Army.
bluesteyes bluesteyes 8 years
Where are they going after they closed this down? It will get moved to the underground, I strongly believe that. They (US, UK, Europe and other rich countries) do not want anyone questioning them on this issue. It has become an international issue (human rights is an international issue), it's an issue which people feel uncomfortable with, people want to do the right thing but sometimes you have to choose to protect your own family or the principles? People will choose their own family and this thing won't be high on the agenda. Climate change will be.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I would tend to think that what has come to light about Gitmo and Abu Ghraib would tend to refute the argument that all that's needed for fair, decent, just, and humane detainment of suspected enemy combatants is military control and personnel. Otherwise, we could just put Lindy England in charge.
stephley stephley 8 years
Doesn't require military experience - it requires knowledge of the law.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
Jude, yes, you're right about that, but what about how to handle the prisoners? THAT requires some experience and expertise to be handled properly.
ceej ceej 8 years
When the US plays world police like this they should have made sure that they were scrupulous in their dealings with prisoners. Unfortunately this was far from the case. I really hope the truth comes out.
stephley stephley 8 years
It'll be interesting Ceej, when Obama people are able to look at all the documentation, to see if anyone is tried for violating laws or the Constitution. Obama has said a review of illegalities will happen.
ceej ceej 8 years
We have only heard of the people that have been held illegally in Guantanamo whose countries have worked hard to release them, e.g Britain. Or who have been tried and released. How many more have languished there for years under false imprisonment? These people must be tried. Can you imagine the uproar if American citizens were detained this way by a foreign power?
em1282 em1282 8 years
I'm with ya, CG, and I like Jude's idea about being sent into space... and :rotfl: about the GITMO "arches"! I didn't even notice that.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Oh my God, I see what you mean.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Is it just me or does that picture look like a McDonalds GITMO style?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I could get behind that idea, CG, except that instead of letting the winner come back to the U.S., they get a one-way ticket into space.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Right on, Shadowdamage. General Wesley Clark also pointed out that McCain had not held executive responsibility or commanded troops in wartime. Military experience is not a de facto qualifier for Commander in Chief, especially when it doesn't include the experience of high command during wartime. McCain certainly served very honorably, but that doesn't mean he would make a good Commander in Chief based on that experience.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
em that would be a great show, might I suggest some contestants? Lindsay, Brit Brit, Paris, The whole Hills cast, all the combined casts from Rock of Love, I love New York and all the other skankalicios VH! MTV reality show people. The one left standing? gets to come back to the US.
zeze zeze 8 years
"I would think a thorough understanding of habeas corpus and constitutional law (as well as international law) would be more of an asset in making sure this place is shut down effectively than being a fighter pilot. I'm just sayin." ...ya except the constitution doesn't apply here.....remember......
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
I said it before, and I will say it again, military experience is not a measure of good judgement, and this has gone PAST a military issue and into a mixed bag of civil rights, security, human rights and international issues.
em1282 em1282 8 years
CG--you just made me think of this (awful) movie I saw months ago about these prisoners who were dropped off on an island and, as part of a reality show, had to kill each other (or get killed themselves) to win some contest. Why do I think that actually might be a plausible plot for a reality show some day?
em1282 em1282 8 years
Who's "Obie"? I just keep thinking about little Ron Howard from "The Andy Griffiths Show" every time I see that. Do do do, do do do do, do do do do, do do do do do, do do do, do do do do, do do do do , do do do do...
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I would think a thorough understanding of habeas corpus and constitutional law (as well as international law) would be more of an asset in making sure this place is shut down effectively than being a fighter pilot. I'm just sayin.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Is there an island out there that still has some cannibals on it, let em loose on it! -kidding.
zeze zeze 8 years
I think both will shut it down. Bush should have shut it down, IMO, it became a burden more than a benefit, it hurt the country and the Republican party a lot more than it helped anyone, plus it is a huge PR - I'm not Bush, this is change moment.
stephley stephley 8 years
Had it been left to the decent elements in the U.S. military, there would be no Guantanamo.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Military service has nothing to do with being able to make sure that those whom we detain are treated with at least some semblance of fairness and justice, Mykie.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
Considering Obie has no military experience whatsoever, it scares me that he MIGHT have to handle this.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
six years without a charge? WOW!!!! My country may be run by a dictator who throws people in prison and tortures them but even they have charges no matter how fanciful brought upon them.
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