The US should immediately close Guantanamo Bay.
Last updated: March 2, 2017
Before going into any details of this debate, one thing that should be clarified is that terrorism is clearly not new to this world, but the response of developed countries to these criminals and non-state actors has become much more complicated. One of the ways to deal with the detainees is the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. It’s operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo of the American Armed Force in Cuba. The sole purpose of having this facility is to “take care of” the terrorist suspects captured in the US War on Terror, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. Knowing this fact, this debate definitely comes down to whether the detainees are being treated fairly and the reasons why the US should and will be beneficial for them to close the Guantanamo Bay. Keeping that in mind, on January 22, 2009, President Obama ordered the controversial prison camp at Guantanamo Bay closed within a year.
Guantanamo Bay Violates Fundamental Human Rights.
Unfortunately, these are not the only two rights being violated at GB. It has become clear in the past few years, that US has been using ‘interrogation techniques’ on prisoners that resemble torture. In fact, a UN report recently stated that the prisoners were forced to endure cruel and degrading treatment, even to the point of death. Several autopsies performed on the bodies of GB prisoners have confirmed homicide. The Int Red Cross report on GB revealed that prisoners exhibited signs of sleep deprivation and that there were several signs of physical abuse, a witness even reported the slamming of prisoner’s heads against the wall. [[http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/politics/30gitmo.html?_r=2]] The detainees are not allowed outside visits and are held for extended periods of time in solitary confinement, which can be very difficult to bear mentally. Prop sees that undeniable human rights violations are occuring, which we find completely unacceptable.
As for the War on Terror, the argument that POWs are not treated correctly because no war is taking place, is also false. According to the US Constitution, any kind of hostilities against a foreign nation must be approved by Congress. Both Iraqi and Afghan War were approved, thus it may be legally considered as a war conflict. Hence, the US may be imprisoning GB inmates until the conflict is over and, unlike the prop suggests, their rights are ensured. Thanks to the presence of the Intl Red Cross, health of the prisoners is being constantly monitored [[http://goo.gl/jfKgH]] to make sure nobody dies due to inappropriate treatment or on-site conditions.
Neither party in this debate commends torture if it happened at GB. Still, it can be clearly seen that the situation is getting better and there is not a single reason to close down such a sophisticated facility only because of a few instances of bad treatment. Rather, all resources should be devoted to further improvement so that GB can serve as an ideal place for potentially dangerous suspects. We can see that things are already improving in these days. Thorough investigations of inmates’ crimes are taking place, many of the suspects have been released. In the end, we see no reason to shut down something that works and is reforming.
Guantanamo Bay’s Lack of Transparency Counters American Interests.
In addition to that, some argue that GB is, contrary to the popular belief, one of the most open detention camps in the world [[http://goo.gl/BpSUs]] allowing access to journalists who ultimately monitor the way how inmates are being treated. As of 2007, more than 1,000 reporters, the most significant guarantors of democracy, visited GB. The International Red Cross has, as stated above, access to the facility and it may even interview the inmates regarding their conditions [[http://goo.gl/5sc6J]].
When we consider the resumed military trials that acquitted a great number of detainees in past [[http://goo.gl/3SBgL]] and the fact that the facility is not on US soil, we have to acknowledge that violent interrogation techniques may have been used.
Still, the government did so in order to ensure maximum safety of its people, which is its Constitutional obligation. It cannot be revealing every detail of the procedure at GB even if they do not seem acceptable to the Western culture, but the end justifies the means. Provided the willingness of the current administration to change, we do not agree with shutting down GB.
Guantanamo Bay is a Symbol of Muslim Discrimination that Fuels Terrorist Sentiments
“The Guantanamo facility holds detainees from 30 countries. 94% of Yemenies comprise the plurality-more than one third- of the population. More than 70% of the detainees are citizens of Middle Eastern and North African nations.”[[http://goo.gl/knHBg]] As we prove in our 1st contention, great human rights violations go on in GB. The conditions of GB are said to resemble those of Abu Ghraib (AG), a precedent of GB that was forced to shut down after grotesque harassment was proven to have taken place. A detention centre that also held a population of mainly Middle Eastern citizens, AG specifically designed its tortures and punishments to target the inmates’ religious beliefs, such as forcing them to violate the strict rule against homosexuality.
With so many similarities to AG, GB is considered to be a symbol of Muslim discrimination in the Arab world. Thus, the mere existence of GB offends the great Middle Eastern population. No matter how effective or transparent GB were to be, it is still seen as a way to legitimize and justify the Muslim discrimination that is already so prevalent throughout the US.
Ultimately, keeping GB will increase anti Americanism and increase terrorism. This will be increasingly dangerous to the hegemony and security of the US, and endanger the lives of thousands more. It is very ironic that the US is spending so much money, time and effort, and killing innocent civilians in the War of Terror while it is fuelling the very cause of terror.
Proposition supposes that GB brings hatred towards the US and basically is its cause, but it was established only after the WOT started in 2001.
Terrorists go against US because they want to, GB is just a pretext. Fanaticism does not have roots in solidarity – attackers don’t blow up buildings in order to free innocent people held in GB. Terror has roots elsewhere: internal problems in the country [[http://goo.gl/JSAA8]], psychological problems of the youth such as narcissism and lust for media attention [[http://goo.gl/9Y0eS]]. Most importantly there are radical Imams who cement their position and power through hate.
GB and AG are not alike. GB is an institution for detainment of suspected terrorists and trying to get information from intelligence, whereas AG was a regular prison for Iraqi petty criminals where two sadistic guards, Charles Graner and Lynndie England, did horrible abuse.
GB issue is not an ethnic or religious one, it is not a concentration camp for Muslims. Who is to be put there is not decided according to his origin or faith [[http://goo.gl/XGsDQ]] , the determining factor is whether he represents a global danger. Saying that we are against Arabs since they make the majority of the inmates is a logical fallacy. If Arab detainees are the most common, then it means that terrorism is coming from this region – and US task is not to ignore it. We don’t agree with US discriminating against the Arab world, but we stand for US rights to protect itself.
The prop is saying that when somebody attacks us, we should stay calm in order not to provoke further anger, hoping to be l
Gauntanamo Bay is detrimental to foreign relations for United States.
The proposition has been trying to convince us that since the US is a model of freedom and righteousness for many, it should not engage in acts that violate fundamental HR. Nonetheless, before taking HR of others into account, we have to deal with those who infringe upon our own rights of freedom and security or potentially put our people’s lives at stake. Only then can morality be discussed.
Furthermore, the proposition has omitted the fact that WoT is not only a matter of the US itself. Basically, the whole world is concerned with security and no country wishes to watch its soil being attacked. That is why it is almost impossible for a major opposition to the GB concept to appear in the future. Rather than being against themselves by insisting on immediate closure of the camp, they should cooperate with the US to reform it as much as possible, exactly as we stress. If it is fulfilled, trials are resumed and prisoners are treated properly, international relations of the US will not worsen as they are based on pragmatism rather than on idealism. Of course everyone would love to live without terrorism but that is not the case, sadly.
Another sad thing is that HR violations can be expected in a war; it is only decisive how the offender faces his mistakes and prevents them next time. To put it straight once again, we say that shutting down GB is neither strategic nor effective especially when done immediately as the motion says.
1. Safety of US
2. Impact on US regarding international communities
3. Human rights – justification of torture.
Opp’s main argument about US’s national security was release of detainees will be dangerous. Prop isn’t planning on releasing detainees to normal streets of US right away; they will be trialed and held in other prisons or other countries that are willing to accept them. If proven guilty, the detainees may be transferred to other detention centers as it was done after Abu Ghraib shut down. On the other side, GB serves as a fuel for anti-american sentiments and encourages terrorism. Especially explained in our C3, discrimination against Muslims, whether “GB is a Muslim concentration camp” or not, thru disrespect of their religion provides more incentives for terrorists.
Secondly, existence of GB isn’t in the best interests of the US. It runs contrary to US’s constitutional beliefs and democracy that US is trying to pursue globally. Violations of human rights are common in GB –opp conceded that some measures were ‘unjustifiable’- and thus many countries are calling upon US to close down the facility. Britain, France and Germany for instance are offering to take in detainees if that were to encourage abolishment of GB. Opp failed to engage our argument about US losing support in WOT and in trade with other countries that do not support GB.
Opp believes that torture can be justified but prop sees that the issue is not just about retracting information, but shaking the fundamental framework that western liberal democratic countries wish to spread. Especially HC is one right granted to every individual on earth, yet not to the detainees. Prop wants to make it clear once again that torture is not only unjustified but ineffective. It was the oppositions’ burden to prove the full effectiveness of a facility as cruel as GB, but we haven’t seen a solid example except for two minor terrorist attacks being prevented. The fact is, terrorism doesn’t stop or halt if you prevent a couple of incidents and torture detainees. The situation simply gets worse. Opp stated that GB isn’t the cause of terrorism, but it doesn’t stop terrorism either unfortunately. Prop proved that terrorism further worsens through our third contention, but opp’s burden of GB’s advancement towards stopping terrorism was never met.
Prop’s burden throughout this debate was to prove that GB’s harms outweighed benefits. The harms we introduced were: Human rights violation, GB’s lack of Transparency is undemocratic, GB fuels terrorist sentiments and GB harms US’s global reputation/authority. Opp’s burden was to prove that their benefits of GB still supported its existence. Their main benefits were torture, and isolation of GB and we believe that they failed in explaining why these benefits are unique to GB and why these benefits outweigh the harm.
Need of Information
Leon Panetta, CIA Director, has said “Important information was gathered from there detainees. It provided information that was acted upon.” [[http://goo.gl/UO7Na]] The words are confirmed by John Brennan, Obama’s security advisor: “Enhanced interrogation techniques were necessary to keep America safe” [[http://goo.gl/5ryq1]]
The detainees will not voluntarily share the information. Therefore, methods of putting them to unpleasant situations are necessary to disclose the truth. With this information, we are able to impose security measures to protect innocent people. The planned attack on Heathrow Airport using hijacked planes in 2003 or on several targets in Karachi in Pakistan has been prevented [[http://goo.gl/FsTGJ]] . Other prevented attack on the tallest building in LA, California, can just confirm this [[http://goo.gl/O8iRD]] .
To conclude, we see GB as essential measure to protect us.
Possibility to Reform
In that case we can improve transparency of the facility and still be able to use it. GB is quite transparent even today, though: the Red Cross can access it and more than 1,000 journalists have visited it. “In the history of warfare, there has probably never been a detention center more transparent than Guantanamo Bay.” [[http://goo.gl/j2Ati]] Moreover, “there have been no serious allegations of abuse for a long time and prisoners have access to lawyers and and the federal courts oversee habeas corpus cases.” [[http://goo.gl/6QThz]] Journalists would be encouraged to examine the situation leaving no more doubts about what is actually happening behind the walls of GB. In this prison are the most dangerous world’s terrorists and security is required. We see no reason to shut down a facility providing great security. Policies can be changed easily without material things being affected.
To conlcude, if something is not efficient enough or is not working properly, it is not a reason to be closed but rather to be improved to get better effectivity and to works according to world standards.
Shift of the Problem
In conclusion, rather than being idealistic and closing Guantanamo in order to get rid of all methods which are not snow-white clean, we have to consider the possible consequences and prevent unthinkable things, which might arise on different place without any control over them causing greater harmes.
Release is not the Solution
Unfortunately, these people will not return to regular life, but there are 2 scenarios. They will return to their home country, where the government will behave even in the worst way, as we can see in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt or Syria [[http://goo.gl/W2KMr]], where the regime fights against terrorism with worse methods.
Other possibility is that they will return to the terrorist group willing to commit another crime.From 598 detainees transferred from GB are 150 confirmed or suspected of later taking part in terrorist activities. [[http://goo.gl/KhX4Q]] According to U.S. officials, several released Guantanamo prisoners are now part of the Yemen-based group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including key leaders. [[http://goo.gl/cX7lb]] If we realize that on 9/11 19 terrorists were enough to cause 2 891 deaths and 422 000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder in NYC alone, the consequences of releasing these terrorists can be tragic.
Whichever of the two happens both outcomes are undesirable.
Principle of security
What we need to realize is which kind of detainees are in GB - leaders of terrorist groups, operatives and material supporters of terrorism. These people are highly dangerous to society and consequences of their release would be terrible. The possibility of innocent being detained has been reduced by releasing most of the detainees (from 800 in 2009 to current 172). The high chance of obtaining information from the remaining ones must be exploited in order to keep public security even with the use of some harsher interrogation methods [[http://goo.gl/knpa7]] . The war on terror includes each of us and any information is essential to prevent deaths of thousands of people. These methods have results and they are effective and crucial for prevention [[http://goo.gl/pou4P]] . We have prevented another terrorist attack on Heathrow and Canary Wharf [[http://goo.gl/tQFi7]] . If any of them had been carried out, the amount of deaths would have been in thousands or even more. Still, the prisoners have habeas corpus and access to lawyers [[http://goo.gl/y9GWI]] [[http://goo.gl/7RXw6]] , who already keep a sufficient standard.
Even if this was not a sufficient reason, we believe that GB can get more transparent and to the international level of behavior. This base is isolated on an island, which means that it is hard to escape for prisoners and they are well secured, but it doesn’t mean that Red Cross and journalists cannot access and therefore ensure transparency. International standard of handling detainees can be achieved easily by limiting guards by supervisors as is in every other prison and it is not a sufficient reason to close this extraordinary and well-built prison, but rather to reform it, which would fulfill its purpose and keep in line with HR guideline
Using torture sometimes provides false info from guilty detainees. Victims are smart enough to avoid giving the real answer thus torture is ineffective. “The fact is there has never ever been reported that any information garnered from torture in fact produced accurate "actionable intelligence." However, there are many reported instances of false info extracted through torture that led to disastrously bad actions by the United States,”. Even the FBI agents repeatedly warned interrogators at GB that their aggressive methods were legally risky and ineffective. [[http://goo.gl/AKjjx]]
Also, it’s evident that the innocent doesn’t have any info for the govt. What the opp tried to prove is that torture is justified even to these detainees who are innocent. They said a govt should be allowed to torture the innocent to retrieve more info. “The Pentagon has acknowledged 10 cases of abuse or mistreatment at [GM], including a female interrogator climbing onto a detainee's lap and a detainee whose knees were bruised from being forced to kneel repeatedly.” [[http://goo.gl/ae6jY]] As the proposition side, we believe that unnecessary and unjustified torture should be prevented especially in cases from GB.
Consequences of Closure or Continuation
We are not undermining sovereignty since we are not interfering in the country. Even if we are, detaining people suspected of terrorism does not interfere into any country´s sovereignty, not even in that whose citizens such suspect happen to be.
GB has been running for almost ten years and yet it has not caused problems of legitimacy in the domain of HR and therefore enforcing these rights around the world. If the US really wanted to enforce HR and did not have “legitimacy,” which we claim it still has because no one on the international stage including the US’s sworn enemies have disputed the US’s legitimacy due to GB, it could apply its sizable military, economic and diplomatic power to further protect HR.
Moreover, if the country itself sets terrorists free, they very often return to terrorism [[http://goo.gl/N3vX4]] planning another attack, which we think is a rather important point because the impact on HR by another attack might be catastrophic.
The closure of GB would not stop the War on Terror in the same way closing Abu Ghraib didn’t solve the anti-American sentiment much. Closing GB is not going to make fanatical terrorists hate us less just as keeping it open won’t cause Egypt or any other Middle-Eastern country to take any steps away from cracking down on terrorists. For one, it is strictly in their interest to crack down on terrorists whether they like us or not because their govts are targets as well.
The extent of torture subjected on the detainees is unfair, for officials at GB don’t have any right to torture suspects as if they were actual criminals. Only one detainee has ever had his day in court.
Further, undermining a nation’s sovereignty does not necessarily mean that one invades a different country. What the US gov is doing; looking down upon a nation’s judicial system by taking matters into its own hands, is also considered undermining it. In both WLDs and the Arab world, this is taken as extremely condescending and has increased anti-Americanism. [[http://goo.gl/GKNxG]]Even if GB were to reform and become more transparent, anti-Americanism will increase as long as detainees are not returned to their countries of origin. [[http://goo.gl/gTkZD]]
This harms American credibility in the international community, and this will impact trade with other nations; if trade with the US subsides, the economy of the entire world suffers. Also, if GB were to be kept,the US will lose its authority as a leader in human rights and human rights violation will be more prevalent in the world.
Czech Republic 2011: Summary
Prop asserted that HR violations take place at GB. It doesn’t mean, however, that GB should be closed. Rather, it has to be improved and shown that the problem still exists. Instead, only not-detailed general reports (Amnesty) or 6 year-old solved cases (Red Cross) have been brought up. Currently, the prisoners have religious rights, access to lawyers as well as habeas corpus and contact with the Red Cross and journalists.
We condemn HR violation and we call for punishment. This can be easily achieved without the closure of GB. Some interrogation techniques are justifiable to prevent deaths of thousands of innocent people, which has been shown as effective by many pieces of evidence. The innocent detainees have already been released and the trials take place. Even if it wasn’t justifiable, we don’t see any reason why it should not be improved and reformed.
Prop pointed at the lack of transparency, which they consider undemocratic. Thanks to the social contract, transparency is often limited when it endangers public security, which applies to these cases because absolute transparency makes the war on terror ineffective. Even if this doesn’t apply, we see the primary role of the government to protect it citizens and GB is an essential tool for it.
Prop claimed that international relations would suffer. Even after the worst revelations about GB, trade, legitimacy and relations have not changed as GB does not undermine states sovereignty. Even if they did, we see greater harms in letting innocent people die by terrorist attacks. However, we showed great economic harms caused by the closure of the facility (which is isolating the prisoners, not the press) by wasting resources.
GB isn’t the cause of war of terror or a symbol of Muslim discrimination. Terrorists fight against US as such, or thanks to Iraq or Afghanistan invasion, thus the closure of GB would not solve the situation, as seen Abu Ghraib’s case. Prisoners have absolute freedom of religion. The ethic composition is such because most terrorist come from Muslim countries. Even though, the reform would be the symbol of our tolerance, which would be better gesture than camouflaging past.
Prop didn’t present better solution than preserving GB. Moving prisoners would lead to creating a less known and controlled place, which wasn’t reacted. Allowing them to a regular trial would cause release thanks to the lack of legal evidence. If terrorists are released, they can be mistreated more or that they will rejoin terrorist group, which wasn’t reacted again. Both are worse for HR or other innocent people.