For those of you who don’t know, Guantanamo Bay is an indefinite detention facility the federal government created after 9/11 in Cuba in order to interrogate suspected terrorists. This article, starting from about half-way down the page, cites the numerous examples of psychological and physical trauma that these prisoners are forced to go through on a daily basis. I definitively agree with the cited expert, Andy Worthington, that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay should be shut down.
For starters, torture is morally repugnant. The severe psychological trauma induced from things like repetitive water-boarding, sexual assault, and other disgusting acts are human rights abuses and mentally destroy the person being tortured. The people living in Guantanamo Bay aren’t really living– they may continue to breathe, but they only exist to be tortured and have their psyches decimated. It’s atrocious.
Second, It’s illegal. Like, really really illegal. The Geneva Convention clearly indicates that torture is never okay, even upon enemy combatants. Thus, the United States, the arbitrator of international human rights and law, has been violating ILaw for the last 10 years. Being contradictory isn’t just annoying. It directly contributes to preventing the US from stopping other regimes from doing really bad things (page 13 to be exact; this article only talks about Russia, but other actors, such as China and Iran, have justified some bad policies because we violate ILaw). We are directly contributing to the destruction of the Rule of Law.
Third, we don’t even know that the detainees in the facility are terrorists– in fact, of the 166 detainees still at Gitmo, 50-60 of them have already been cleared for release. That means that even if torture is justified to get information out of the prisoners (which it’s not), the torture policies that we implement are largely ineffective. And even if everyone in the facility were terrorists, torture doesn’t work— besides the reasons cited in that link, there have been numerous instances of people admitting to doing something they didn’t do in an effort to stop being tortured. This false information prevents us responding accurately to a new terrorist threat that we tried to stop before.
It’s time that we closed down Gitmo.