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Guantanamo Bay Right Or Wrong?

#1 User is offline   Kasemei 

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 01:45 PM

Ok, as a freshman policy debater in high school, our debate topic was resolved: The U.S. federal government should substantially decrease its authority either to detain without charge or to search without probable cause. Of course, we were able to debate stuff like extrodinary renditions and roving wiretaps, but what I found to be the most debated was Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo Bay is currently an area in Cuba where suspected terrorists are being held without trial and definetly without proper living conditions. These prisoners are being abused and are not even given the Prisoner of War status. Is the United States right in doing everything it is in Guantanamo Bay? Or has it crossed the line?
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#2 User is offline   Isildur 

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:34 PM

Asiding of course the obvious deprivation of legal process, the prisioners in Cuba have been afforded every other right permitted to them under the Geneva Conventions.

Technically, they're afforded more rights, since under the convention they're SUPPOSED to act, as pows, as though the host state were their own at least in terms of showing the same respect to superiority of command (a sgt is a sgt no matter who's army he serves in), and if you're a private and a prisoner of another country, you salute that country's officers because the convention demands that soldiers behave as soldiers even in the keeping of the enemy. Since the Cuba detainees aren't soldiers of any country and have no military status of any kind, there was valid reason to deny them the original conventions as written, even more so since their methodology to warfare also contradicts the conventions.


However, as prisioners of the USA, I believe they immediately inherited the benefits of our legal protection, whether citizens or not. From my understanding, when an illegal immigrant commits a crime in America, we obviously deport them. But in the case of violent crime, we can take jurisdiction and prosecute a person arrested in our borders according to our laws even if they aren't a citizen of our country. A number of mexican drug runners are serving federal time for just this reason.

The second we took custody of the detainees in Cuba, they were entitled, and actually burdened, to face a federal grand jury for the crimes they were accused of if evidence existed to demonstrate conspiracy directed against the United States, or to be released to the Hague for international trial if no American link existed.

Of course, for the vast majority, their incarceration was not done in the interest of their cuplability in a conspiracy against America or American interests, but the likelyhood that they had information that could be of use to the US intelligence community. Which of course is illegal under our constitution, and also somewhat illegal under most international agreements as well.

The laws, both Amercian and international, afford detainees rights to silence. It's generally illegal to forcibly coerce a person to divulge information they possess and do not wish to disclose, so the only way to accomplish the goals of the intelligence agencies was to hold people in legal limbo until they cooperated in the hopes that cooperation would afford them a change in their situation. This is the sole reason for the cuba camps.

In some ways, it'd probably be more efficient to turn them over to the Iraqis. The law IN Iraq is much more ambiguous by virtue of having just been written, so, innocent or not, it'd would likely be easier for an Iraqi intelligence agency to manage such a detaiment of their own accord then to leave it to America, even if the Iraqi solution would undermine a key reason for the war in Iraq (namely, a repressive government that does whatever it wants to the people).


There are no easy answers. 20 years ago this wouldn't have happened. They all would have been ground down by a much more focused intelligence community, and then a number of bodies would have turned up.

As bad a solution as it is, well, nobody ever said life was fair, or that bad things couldn't happen to good people. Actually, I think a lot of religious figures on all sides of the middle east fight said exactly the opposite.

#3 User is offline   Kasemei 

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 11:19 PM

what really bothers me is the treatment that the detainees recieve at guantanamo bay. exposure to extreme temperatures, deprivation of sleep, and blindfolded near barking dogs are just some of what happens. is that how we are supposed to treat other humans?
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#4 User is offline   GiveUpTheGhost 

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 06:47 AM

So If an american is detained do you think they get the best treatment in the world? WHile the treatment at guantanamo is poor. I can imagine a few other places where it would seem like heaven to be there.
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#5 User is offline   sentinel28a 

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 08:10 AM

Isildur nailed it pretty much on the head, I think, though I would add one thing: under the strict rules of Geneva, we have the legal right to take every one of the Gitmo Bay prisoners out and shoot them.

Under the rules of Geneva, anyone taken prisoner under arms in civilian clothes, or the uniform of their enemy, without any sort of identification clearly visible, is a spy and therefore has no rights at all. If you look at old WWII pictures, you'll notice that in many cases the French Resistance adopted tricolor armbands identifying them as part of the FFI (French Forces of the Interior). This was an attempt to garner them POW status if they were taken prisoner by the Germans. (Not that it did them much good, since the Germans didn't usually play by the rules anyway.) This is also the reason why, in The Great Escape, Steve McQueen takes off the German uniform he is wearing and shows the Germans his dogtags when he surrenders. That denotes him as being a member of the US armed forces and not disguised as a German soldier, which would make him a spy. The Taliban and, naturally, al-Qaeda do not wear identifying badges or markings. Technically speaking, that gives them no rights whatsoever when it comes to Geneva.

Having said that, I support some due process when it comes to Gitmo. If these men are POWs, then they should be held until the war in Afghanistan is over. If that's next year, great. If that's five years from now, well, sorry. Some of our POWs in Vietnam languished in Hanoi for almost 10 years. Compare their treatment to the treatment of the Taliban/AQ prisoners at Gitmo, and Gitmo is Club Med. If these men are terrorists, they should be tried by a court of law or military tribunal with legal counsel. If they're found innocent, they should be released. If guilty, imprisoned or executed.

I find it interesting that people decry the "poor" living conditions in Gitmo, yet the International Red Cross inspected it and found nothing wrong. Did Amnesty International even go there and look for themselves, or did they simply just assume that, since the Americans are running it, it must be bad?

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