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Guantanamo BayIs it time to close the doors?

Issue Background

The Guantanamo Bay Detainee Facility (Gitmo) was opened in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1987 by the US Military. The facility has gained significant media coverage since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush utilized the detainee facility to hold and try enemy combatants from the war on terrorism. The facility proved controversial however, as prisoners were not treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an order declaring that Gitmo would close within the year.

Key Arguments

» Yes

  • Everyone deserves a fair trial, even terrorists. Guantanamo Bay has allowed the US military to detain and release alleged terrorists without even pressing charges. Americans must adhere to basic human rights requirements even in the face of fear and violence.
  • Interrogation techniques used at Gitmo crossed the line into torture on numerous occasions in the form of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and isolation chambers.We must close the detention facility in an attempt to wash our hands of our past transgressions.

» No

  • The enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay are not traditional prisoners of war and so do not deserve traditional treatment. They have no country to which they belong and they do not fight in accordance with the rules of warfare. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to detain them in a traditional prisoners of war facility.
  • Closing Guantanamo Bay means releasing or transferring hundreds of potentially dangerous terrorists onto US soil since many foreign countries have already refused to accept the detainees. The monetary and security risks involved in such a action would greatly weaken our country.


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