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A Stain on America: Op-Ed

On a remote island off the coast of Cuba, terrorists and war criminals are sent to die in the hands of the American government. The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is a military prison established in 1898 after the United States conquered Cuba. Gaining prisoners after the September 11 attacks, the island is a destination for infinite torture and abuse, a secrecy blinded from the public eye and masked to deject the horrific acts committed by the American government.

Image Credit: Business Insider

In 2018, former president Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep the island open indefinitely. Guantanamo Bay is a consistent source of controversy after a new president takes office. After broken promises to close the base by former presidents, 41 detainees still remain on the secretive island.

From beatings to forced drownings, prisoners are subjected to egregious torturings the American government euphemistically calls “enhanced interrogation.” Majid Khan, a former resident of Baltimore involved in the Al-Queda terrorist organization, describes his close encounter with death at Guatanamo Bay. His torture methods included beatings, being doused with ice water, and gripping from the ceiling for long periods of time. Whether Khan proved to be dangerous is a debate itself -- although he took part in several plots, none of them were carried out.

The extreme abuse of these individuals represents the double standard in the United States. While we praise ourselves for the freedoms we espouse, including the right to a trial by a jury, Guantanamo bay contradicts our law by stripping away basic human rights through indefinite detention, inexplicable torture, lack of court hearings, etc.

Critics argue that Guantanamo Bay is necessary to protect United States security. After traumatic events such as 9/11, it is understandable why Americans view Guantanamo Bay as imperative to keep terrorism off of US lands. But rather than combating these prisoners mental illnesses, the United States turns a blind eye on their mental deterioration and only uses them as a pawns for their torture methods. Rehabilitation, rather than harassment, is key to healing these criminals.

Closing Guantanamo Bay would end the ruthless cycle of torture and restore justice in America. If the base remains open, it will contradict the principles we stand for and serve as propaganda against us by our enemies including North Korea, China, and Russia.


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