It is one thing to debate a “controversial subject” in order to better understand the topic. But when this controversy is leading to the torture and murder of innocent people, the charade needs to stop. Guantanamo Bay needs to be closed now. Guantanamo Bay is an interrogation prison that detains captives believed to be national threats in the Global War on Terror. However, what little efficacy the prison has achieved in its protection of the United States, it has gained at an unjustifiable cost due to the inhumane and unjust tactics used on its prisoners.
Many people fear that if Guantanamo Bay is eliminated, more terrorists will feel comfortable enough to attack the United States. However, it is interesting that some in Washington feel that this one prison is what keeps thousands of terrorists away from the United States.
But while the United States dwells in its paranoia, the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have very different issues at hand. Behind the closed doors of the prison, the constant regime of ruthless torture and brutal dehumanization has led to mass hunger strikes and suicide attempts.
The Center for Constitutional Rights chronicles an appalling statement by a U.S. intelligence military officer, as said to a prisoner, “You are in a place where there is no law—we are the law.” This probably explains the reasoning as to why individuals were placed in extreme isolation causing psychological trauma, exposed to extreme temperatures in cells, deprived of sleep, their genitals grabbed and thumbs pulled back, and threatened to be transferred for endless torture.
Even though this is horrible torture, far too few people flinch at its existence because it has been driven into our heads that these individuals will kill our families and loved ones if given the chance. It would certainly be an easier pill to swallow if this were the case and Guantanamo was indeed harboring only the most dangerous terrorists the US has captured.
However, that notion is simply a lie. An active Guantanamo interrogator stated, “There are a large number of people at Guantanamo who shouldn’t be there.” So this mission to combat the War on Terror obstructs itself by detaining innocent bystanders along with supposed terrorists. According to Brigadier General Martin Lucenti, most of the men that were imprisoned were not fighting, but fleeing.
Americans might read this article and justify the torture with the idea that locking away these detainees keeps the United States safe and that the atrocious treatment of prisoners is what allows our freedom to endure. To argue that interrogating even the innocent can help the United States is incorrect and blatantly inhumane. One reason why it doesn’t work is that people will say absolutely anything to get out of torture. If someone is innocent, there is absolutely nothing to tell, so they start to lie and say anything to make the torture stop. Furthermore, the agents that interrogate the “terrorists” have only subjective ways of interpreting whether or not the prisoner is stating the truth while under duress.
One difference between civilian interrogations and the torture carried out in Guantanamo Bay is the duration of the coercion. On civilian territory, the interrogations can last up to two hours, but that is absolutely nothing compared to those at Guantanamo Bay. A joint research report by Duke University and Claremont McKenna College reports that “suspects may be interrogated repeatedly over the course of days, weeks, or even months.” However, longer interrogations actually increase the chances of the prisoner falsely confessing because they are tortured to the extent that they lack the energy to withstand the pressure.
What’s even more sickening is the fact that the CIA has perfected its techniques of torture in order to maximize the pain inflicted without killing them. It seems the United States has used its extensive war experience to hone the effectiveness of their “interrogation” tactics to the point that they can elicit the “truth” out of anyone.
Guantanamo Bay is a torture chamber without a purpose. It is unlawful that individuals are placed there without the right to a speedy trial. This prison has managed to do little more than torture innocent people, reveal the most disgusting aspects of the military and the government, and keep the rest of the United States ignorant on this for too long of a time. Now that more knowledge is being spread about Guantanamo Bay it is as inhumane to keep it open as the torture originally inflicted on the prisoners.