February 12, 2007. By Karen J. Greenberg
The first detainees arrived in Guantánamo four months to the day after the 9/11 attacks. From the opening of Camp X-Ray—the first site of imprisonment, notorious for its tin-roofed open-air cages—to the recently completed permanent prison known as Camp 6, critics have called for its closure. Even President Bush has said, “I’d like to end Guantánamo. I’d like it to be over with.” Yet he refuses to close it because, he says, it holds detainees who “will murder somebody if they are let out on the street.”
It’s time to look at the powerful reasons to close Guantánamo, both the standard ones enumerated below—and also what may be the most compelling, if unspoken, one of all: Guantánamo must be closed because the United States needs to indicate that it has decided to change course. Closing Guantánamo will help to restore America’s standing in the world and in the eyes of its own citizens.
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