Gitmo going-out-of-business sale; everything must go

By Paul Cruse III

Besides the financial crisis and the stalemate in Congress, the other major topic everyone is talking about is Guantanamo Bay. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the campaign promises are being kept, Gitmo is going out of business … and everything must GO! They got electrified-fences, barbed wire and water hoses, all 50 percent off. And if you call in right now, you can buy one German shepherd and get the next one free. Everything must GO, GO, GO!

In reality, there is no giant “going-out-of-business sale” at Guantanamo Bay, but there is a heated discussion on this side of the Gulf of Mexico. The big questions are: Why do we need to shut it down and what should we do with the prisoners after we do so?

The root of this discussion goes back to whether you believe we should torture captives. Some people make very good arguments for torture, such as what if we need to get the information out of a captive quickly because that captive knows of an imminent attack. As unlikely as this hypothetical situation is, it’s a good argument. But others make good counter-arguments, such as that captive would likely say anything just to stop the torture, rather than giving reliable information.

Whether you agree with it, the Geneva Convention clearly states that rules of war do not allow captives to be tortured. Some people think the war on terrorism isn’t really a war, and thus, the rules don’t apply, and others think that having “rules” to war are just silly. Regardless of your opinion, the United States has decided that it will attempt to follow the Geneva Convention and its rules.

Because the U.S. has decided to attempt to follow the rules of war, it cannot conduct effective foreign relations policy with a facility that is publicly known to break those rules.

President Obama has to close Guantanamo Bay, if for no other reason than to make a positive message to the world. As if to make a gesture to start new.

So the next question is what do we do with the prisoners? What seems to be everyone’s biggest concern (and by everyone I mean the people at FOX “News”) is that these hardened terrorists will be freed into the United States. This is extremely unlikely and inadvisable. I doubt that President Obama and his team plan to release these people into the United States, but if they are, I will be first to say that I do not agree with that decision.

What is most likely going to happen is that these criminals will be sent to “normal” jail, to spend time with all the other murders, gang-bangers and rapists. Other than going to regular jail in the United States, there has been the mention of releasing them into other countries as well.

The main argument against this is that once released, they will fight America (again). Whether they are fighting America because they have always been terrorists or if being illegally detained has made them that way is another question. Regardless, there is a chance that these released captives will join ranks of other terrorist and fight us.

I will admit there is a chance that this could happen. I know that if I was arrested and held for a number of years without a proper a trial, I would be pretty upset.

So the question is what do we do? Do we put them in regular jails to live out the rest of their lives? Or do we release them back where we got them from, give them a gift basket on the way out and hope they don’t join the nearest al-Qaida movement? To be honest, I don’t know. I leave that decision to people who were elected to make those types of decisions.

According the USA Today, President Obama has similar concerns, but I trust that he will use the right judgement to make the correct decision.

Paul is a senior in computer and political science and can’t beat Gitmos crazy prices.