Close Guantanamo Bay: Camp detrimental to war on terrorism

By Sheila Moussavi 2007

In 2002, a small bay in southern Cuba became the host of a detainment camp for military combatants from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Guantanamo Bay Detainment Camp (or Gitmo as it is commonly known), as well as the bay on which it rests, are under the complete jurisdiction of the United States government.

But what merely began as a detainment camp for enemy combatants has since been reduced to a cesspool of accusations involving corruption, torture and general mistreatment of prisoners. The general fear that prisoners at Gitmo may be exposed to rough interrogation techniques and torture has raised the international outrage to a high-pitched cry for removal.

In fact, the international scorn has reached such a point that, according to the BBC News, British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith declared Gitmo a “symbol of injustice.” Goldsmith proceeded to suggest that its removal is imperative in order to maintain the “historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice.” Goldsmith is not alone.

Last week, the United Nations Committee Against Torture urged the U.S. government to close the prison at Guantanamo altogether. According to an article by the Associated Press, the committee’s request was the result of increasing fear that prisoners were being held for protracted periods without sufficient legal supervision.

To make matters worse, a list of prisoners provided by the Pentagon made no mention of several notorious suspects or of the location of former detainees, causing critics to conclude that the United States may have established secret prisons.

But despite these allegations and requests, the U.S. government has refused to shut down Guantanamo Bay.

International criticism clearly demonstrates the danger of maintaining this facility; by running a morally and legally questionable detainment camp, the United States is participating in the same corruption that it went to war to protect.

What’s worse, by supporting Gitmo, we may be supporting a system that subjects its prisoners to torture, which, besides being completely undemocratic, would contradict everything we’ve been fighting to protect.

In order to fight against terrorism, the United States needs to maintain moral superiority. Gitmo seriously undermines this superiority and, consequently, the entire war on terrorism.

If we are going to gain international support and guarantee that we are practicing the same democratic values we fight for world-wide, Guantanamo Bay must be shut down.

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