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Guantnamo Bay Prison Reform


We, the United States of America, are looked upon highly as a country of freedom,
fairness, equality, and our ability to stand out as great leaders of the world. With this in mind,
what would happen to the United States image if one of our leading prospects were to be
tarnished under corruption and injustice? It is our goal to uphold these existential prospects so
that we may maintain prosperity through them and find stability within them. With all of this
said, it is important to be educated on specific matters within our nation regarding the possibility
of injustices so that we may give our voice to reform the corrupted matter. More specifically, the
corrupted matter we must approach entails that of the Guantnamo Bay Prison, or GTMO for
short, stationed in Guantnamo Bay, Cuba. Prosecution of the war against terror has resulted in
the detention by the United States of at least 650 citizens from more than 40 countries at military
detention facilities on the US naval base at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba (Fogarty 54). GTMO was
originally established to detain extraordinarily dangerous people (or terrorists), to interrogate
these detainees in an optimal setting (in other words, in a place outside of Supreme Court ruling
and regulation), and to prosecute detainees for war crimes by whichever method deems the most
effective (Gregory and Pred 2). GTMO has lost its credibility over the past few years due to poor
treatment of the prisoners and their rights. However, it is important to note the positive
outgrowth this prison can have with reform and that to close the prison all together would be a
decision more rash than right.
Global media surrounding the Guantnamo Bay Prison has been nothing but detrimental
to Americas image concerning how we deal with terrorists. While this media is detrimental, it is
also true. At this point, any person can search for Guantnamo Bay Prison on Google and see in
the suggestions that follow that GTMO is a very controversial topic. Pictures, videos, and any

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records of the abuse shown at GTMO are now accessible to a major audience exposing the
mishandling of our prisoners of war. This GTMO abuse outbreak in the media has proven to be a
domino effect for human rights activists publishing sites who feel the need to cite their stance on
the subject. The School of Laws Asylum and Human Rights program is one of 15 human rights
organizations whose joint letter to US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, urges him to intervene
to end the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantnamo Bay (Seligson) The reason
our media has risen so firmly against GTMO prisoner abuse is because of people like Dick
Cheney. Vice President Dick Cheney (2001-2009) publicly admitted his support for
waterboarding (widely considered a form of torture) despite statements against torture by the
administration he represented, showing the public that corrupted hands hold power in the White
House, especially in the executing of our laws (Lokaneeta 32). We, the people, need to convince
the leaders of our nation that we will not be bystanders to this politically accepted abuse as our
countrys name gets tarnished. Media involvement is vital to inform and remind the leaders of
our country that we, the American people, do not accept the conditions of the current treatment
of the prisoners at GTMO.
The purpose in creating this international prison was well-thought out in theory, but there
were bound to be political and moral issues that our government would face. The Bush
Administration developed questionable legal processes for the detainees by capitalizing on the
legal-free environment offered at Guantnamo Bay, which led many to call for the closure of
the detention facility (Nemish v.). On the other hand, the argument may be if the first priority of
our government is to protect its citizens, and information allows us to prevent future attacks and
protect innocent lives, shouldnt the government gain information through interrogation to
protect the lives of its citizens? If we get vital information through torturous interrogation yet we

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are saving the lives of our citizens, doesnt it justify the torture? What exactly qualifies as
torturous interrogation anyway? Abuse of the detainees has been reported ranging from sleep
deprivation, forced feeding, forced nakedness, severe beatings, electric shocks, and sexual
assault. It was found out by a journalist who entered the prison to question one of the prisoners,
that in rotating shifts, US soldiers periodically kick and beat some prisoners, spitting on them,
cursing their family, and cursing their nationality and religion (Khan 34). No amount of twisted
legal or political support for the retrieval of information by whichever means are necessary can
justify such abuse in these severe terms such as severe beatings till the point of unconsciousness
or forced feeding through the anus. White House legal advisors have gone to great lengths to
rewrite prohibitions of torture (Welch 47). The Department of State has said many times that they
uphold the rules and regulations permitted to them. General Peter Pace, Chairman of The Joint
Chiefs of Staff, has stated, "I can tell you categorically that any maltreatment of any detainees by
U.S. Forces or Coalition forces is totally unacceptable. That our orders have and will continue to
be that we will treat everyone in our charge humanely and with respect." No amount of clever
reasoning can defend how these prison guards are treating the detainees. Are we really going to
continue to compromise our countrys image and morality to get information from these
criminals? It is time to end the abuse! We need to reassess and reform our GTMO system and
prison guards.
The immediate objective of the Guantnamo Bay Prison was to place selected prisoners
taken during the war in Afghanistan beyond the reach of any federal court that may try to enforce
habeas corpus (Gregory and Pred 2). That statement in itself defines America in its toughest
moments- its corrupted state. These defining moments make up our country and matter to the
development of it. While these detainees are physically and mentally abused everyday in the

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Guantnamo Bay Prison, their rights are also being abused. Nowhere has it been said or written
that the maltreatment of detainees is acceptable. United States personnel are required to comply
with all U.S. laws and treaty obligations in their treatment of detainees (Facts About
Guantnamo). The laws are all there, they just arent being enforced; the execution of it all needs
reformation. Barack Obama tried to enforce that the Guantnamo Bay Prison comply with the
Geneva Conventions (Obama). Military personnel overlook any discrepancies that are being
carried out in GTMO for the sake of obtaining vital information. On January 18, 2005, the
Supreme Court refused to consider whether the government's plan for military trials unfairly
denies the detainees basic legal rights (Guantnamo Bay Naval). Why should a GTMO prisoner
be denied the right to a fair and speedy trial? They committed a crime just as a murder has done
but unlike a murderer, they dont get a chance to defend themselves. Why should a murderer get
the opportunity of habeas corpus, but a terrorist doesnt? Yes, there is a matter of the degree of
crime, but they should be judged for that crime regardless- a murderer is a murderer. These
prisoners cant be charged for that crime unless they are charged for that crime. We dont have
the jurisdiction, by any countrys standards, to hold the life of any unprosecuted man hostage. It
is against the foundation of what our country is made of. Who are we if we dont uphold our own
laws? We must hold our government in contempt for the lives of these uncharged hostages whom
we have wronged. Only 15 prisoners have been charged with war crimes (Reuters). We must
right our wrong. This doesnt mean freeing all of the gitmo detainees, rather just giving them a
speedy and fair trial; they deserve at least that. They will be punished for what crime they have
committed regardless. What is the government so afraid of? That a detainee may be considered
innocent when there is substantial thought by military personnel against it? Fair is fair; if we
didnt want to abide by our own set of rules governing a courtroom, then we shouldn't have made

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them in the first place. We can make ourselves known to those who dare to stand against us
without compromising our morality or Declaration of Independence.
Though many try to argue either the closure or relocation of the Guantnamo Bay Prison,
they arent fully taking into account what would need to be done to make that happen or of the
repercussions. Even the president, Barack Obama, elected in 2008, didnt fully understand the
vitality of GTMO. The day after he got elected into office, he declared he would shut GTMO
down within a year, 2009, but he (like every other person who is trying to get it shut down) was
unaware that he didnt have the complete political authority to make that happen, especially since
the idea of moving terrorists to US prisons is not politically popular. International prisoners need
an international prison. Though this prison needs reform, badly, it also needs to be recognized for
its existential importance and what it has accomplished. Through interrogations of detainees,
the coalition has learned about Al Qaida and Taliban recruitment and how they form terrorist
cells. We have learned how they communicate, train, raise funds, and travel (Facts About
Guantnamo). All of this information leads us to better prepare our troops for future acts of
terrorism. Without GTMO, we would have no where to put our prisoners of war. Many of the
detainees are too dangerous to be stationed in the Afghanistan prison (Garcia 5). Therefore,
GTMO is necessary to hold detainees for as long as is deemed fit, according with new regulation
on the treatment of the prisoners. If we continue to release the prisoners at the rate we are going,
just to shut down the prison, we will release more terrorists back into the world. We are creating
an unsafe environment for ourselves and the world. In fact, nearly 1/5 of GTMO detainees have
returned to their old acts of terrorism once released (Garcia 2). Obama is looking to shut down
the prison by the time his term ends but there is still currently no plan B for the prisoners

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(Board). It is time to start asking the hard questions, to buckle down and decide what would be
best for our country.
Guantnamo Bay Prison is a corrupted, but important facility that must be fixed. We need
the prison for our countrys stability, for our citizens safety and even for the safety of other
countries. The maltreatment of the prisoners has hit an all time low that Barack Obama quoted
as, a sad chapter in American history. He is right. We must alter the direction that GTMO
history is headed. If we dont reform prison treatment, GTMO will be shut down. If GTMO is
shut down, we will be forced to either free terrorists or put them on our home soil, which nobody
wants. To put the terrorists on our home soil would be to put our country and its citizens in
unnecessary danger. If these prisoners are deemed too dangerous to be placed in the Afghanistan
prison, then it is appropriate to say that they are deemed too dangerous to be put on our soil.
Senator Jerry Moran refuted the moving of the prison, "Terrorists should not be living down the
road from Fort Leavenworth - home to thousands of Army soldiers and their families, as well as
military personnel from across the globe who study at the Intellectual Center of the Army." What
state would want to accept some of the most dangerous men in the world? All of this debate on
whether or not GTMO should be closed or where it should be moved is a waste of time and
money. We must put our citizens first and realize that keeping GTMO open is in the best interest
of all of our citizens.

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Bibliography
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