This is exactly what I did not wish to read on the paper this morning while sipping my cup of java: Senate Democrats rejecting President Obama’s proposal of closing Guantanamo Bay “because pressured by Republicans and concerned about the politics of relocating terrorists” (Washington Post of May 20, 2009).
What??? And what should we do then? Keep it open despite the accusation and profs of unlawful torture imposed on war detainees that violated the Article 3 of the Geneva Convention? No, never. The place MUST be locked down and soon.
The purpose of building GITMO and having prisoners locked in there was so that CIA investigators did not have to respect the same provisions of the law that they must have endured if the prison were indeed on American soil. But, since the tapes are out, and no more “secret waterbording” interrogations can be allowed, then why not just prisoners in a high security prison here in the States?
Sure, there are war prisoners, some of whom are masterminds of the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center, but now that they cannot be tortured in GITMO anymore, why not keeping them in a prison on U.S. soil? You think they might escape and just start running around in your own backyard?
Well, think again. The same could have then happened with death row inmates all along since the death penalty was instituted. And I have yet to see a chained man just escaped from jail walking by my basil in the backyard and threatening to take my life, pulling a gun out of his pants (it sounds more like a movie actually). I am much more worried about street bandits giving a lesson to the members of the opposit gang on my street corner.
If we think this way, then we should not have prisons in American, period. But since we spend so much taxpayer money to have cozy prisons why not use them for the purpose they were built for: Detained prisoners, no matter the kind.
Keeping prisoners in Gitmo is not a viable option either, since it has become such a black hole for the American troops and such a dangerous hub for terrorist’ trainees that it might cause the U.S. to lose some more pride than to win unuseful information.
Why do I care so much about a bunch of dangerous terrorists or, as Bush would call them, “the worst of the worst?” Because if even the mothers and sisters of 9/11 victims I interviewed recently are in favor of closing the prison, why should we, member of a Democratic institution that is built on a “innocent until proven guilty” organ of the law, oppose closing a facility that has only defamed the name of our nation?
GITMO would have been the perfect place for having war prisoners because it was big and isolated and in the middle of no men’s land, but it was made unmanageable and dangerous for its own prisoners without accomplishing nothing more than more harm to the American reputation in the world.
By having tortured and brutally interrogated the majority of the most “wanted” people guilty of the 9/11 attack in the same place unlawfully, the American people have dug a deep black hole for themselves among the Arabs countries who have been developing such a strong sentiment of hater toward the USA that will take entire generations to subdue.
Would it be better if we start concentrating on ameliorating American relationships with Arab countries instead than focusing on where to place prisoners of war? Whereever they might end up, the Islam world will be pissed at us no matter what, but if we close GITMO, we put and end to the idea that we, as a Democracy elected by the people, have allowed for premeditate torture. This could be a good start to wipe off the Islamic belief that Americans are barbaric and did not justify their action in the name of the International Law of War.
Now, I am not to say, I want the above mentioned terrorists to go about free, and neither do I think the Obama Administration would let them do so if they are move to U.S. soil. If they are charged with a crime they should be tried an they should be held responsible for a world disaster and kept in prison as long as the law requires, but, until then, keeping them, untried, waiting in GITMO its despicable and immoral. They commited a crime, but they should have a right to defend themselves in federal courts without so much time elapsing, especially if their charges aren’t even clear.
I believe this argument I just made will burst a pretty heated discussion or will grant me the possible nickname of “terrorist protector,” which I am not by the least. What I was trying to convey with my thoughts, was the discontent I felt this morning when I opened the paper and saw that the Senate majority did not pass Obama’s request to close a place that has been the cause of more pain and harm than resolve and closure. A place that will always be remember not as the prison “where justice was made,” but as the detention center, where “the law was not applied correctly” and where the U.S. forces lost some of their charisma.
What is the U.S. to do now? With or without GITMO there is still much work to do to avoid another 9/11, closing GITMO might have taken us a bit closer to that goal. But, yet again, who know what decision will be taken next. Let`s just not hope for another prison in a remote location.