Goodbye Gitmo! Hello American Values!


P
resident-elect Obama plans to follow through on his campaign promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, announcing this week that he will sign an executive order to do so on his first full day in office. It will take many months to actually close the camp, but the process will be underway.
    The camp is part of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, also called by the diminutive: “Gitmo.” Gitmo has housed detainees since the war in Afghanistan. It has come under relentless attacks by nations and humanitarian groups for its use of extreme interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, and the suspension of rights, such as habeas corpus (the right to petition for release from unlawful detention).
    Here’s what Obama said in an ABC interview: “We are going to close Guantanamo and we are going to make sure that the procedures we set up are ones that abide by our constitution. That is not only the right thing to do but it actually has to be part of our broader national security strategy because we will send a message to the world that we are serious about our values.”
    Many people, including Obama, believe Gitmo damaged America’s moral standing around the world. But President Bush denies it, declaring in his final press conference, held earlier this week, “I strongly disagree with the assessment that our moral standing has been damaged. It may be damaged among some of the elite, but people still understand America stands for freedom, that America is a country that provides such great hope.”
    Meanwhile, a coalition of activists are working right now on a 100-days protest insisting that Obama follow through on this promise to close Gitmo. It’s unclear whether Obama’s promise meets the expectations of many Americans who want the prison closed swiftly. To read more on this viewpoint, visit the “100 Days” Web site for activists hoping for a swift closing.

    How do you feel about Gitmo and what Obama now is saying about the closing? Was Gitmo a necessary evil to protect our national security? Or a corruption of human rights? Will you be glad to see it closed?   

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