Closing Gitmo: A Return to Ethics in the U.S.

As many of you are probably aware, one of Barack Obama’s campaign promises was to close the detainment camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Apparently, that promise is about to come to fruition. According to one of the president-elect’s advisors, he may issue the order as soon as he takes office. The biggest stumbling block remains what to do with the detainees.

This is one of the most hopeful statements I’ve seen in quite some time.  Of the many things I grew up believing about our country, one in which I always took pride was “The United States does not torture. The United States  abides by the Geneva Convention.” I took that belief with me into the military, and what happened at Guantanamo made me feel that the uniform I wore was disgraced because of it. Hopefully that disgrace is coming to an end.

The last eight years have been, if not enjoyable, very instructive. I’ve seen a side to my countrymen that I would have previously denied. While I believed that we were a little tarnished, I never thought we would stand by and not only watch, but cheer, while our government perpetrated horrible offenses against our Constitution.  As with most problems, it’s going to take far longer to correct it than it took to let it go wrong. We have so many problems we don’t even know where to start. Our economy is in ruins, civil rights have been slashed, our health care is a joke, and we are seen as arrogant bullies with big mouths on the world stage. I can only take comfort in the fact that with President-elect Obama’s inauguration, the world finally sees that we DO want to change for the better.

Guantanamo Bay detainment camp is a dark spot on our country’s history. Let us not forget how far we can go down the road of fascism. At the same time, let us celebrate the beginning of our walk back toward reason and ethics. Let us once again become the beacon of democracy and protectors of the weak that we believe ourselves to be.


5 responses to “Closing Gitmo: A Return to Ethics in the U.S.

  1. Hello America!

    Hell o bush/bull shit man!

  2. leftcoastlibrul

    Hi, wawu. Thanks for the comment. Although I honestly can’t tell if you’re agreeing with me or calling bullshit… at any rate, welcome to my blog.

  3. So where would you like to see these guys go? Many are stone cold terrorists, plain and simple. Gitmo will be there for a long, long time. Even Obama is smart enough to know if he wants to get relected in four years he better not let these guys go.

  4. leftcoastlibrul

    Hi, Mike, thanks for the comment.

    Actually, no, “many” aren’t. Many are simply men who were rounded up by bounty hunters and turned over to the US for the cash. You can read Professor Mark Denbeaux’s report on the incident here. Of the 517 detainees housed (at that time) in Gitmo, 55% had committed no hostile actions and no history of violence against the U.S. at all. Only 8% were characterized as “Al Qaida fighters.” Of the remaining prisoners, 40% had no definitive connection with Al Qaida and a further 18% had no affiliation with either Al Qaida or the Taliban. 8% doesn’t really seem like “many” to me, Mike.

    As for the voters, perhaps you missed the news. The vast majority want the war in Iraq ended and the prison at Guantanamo closed. It’s what he campaigned on. If you read the story I linked in my original post, you’d see that he’s been promising to do so since 2007. Even the current president’s closest advisers have been urging him to close the prison since the beginning of 2008.

    It isn’t about what people like anymore. We’ve been doing what we like. Look where it’s landed us. It’s about doing the right thing.

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