Gitmo needs inspected, not closed

The 500 detainees that currently hold residence at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be looking for a new home in the near future.

As world leaders and politicians all voice their stance on the conditions of the prison, debate circles on whether it is in the best interest of U.S. foreign policy to close the camp. Now, the United States needs to step back and properly evaluate this prison that has already caused so many problems.

According to on Feb. 17, even British Prime Minister Tony Blair is urging the United States to deal with the now infamous prison camp. The United States is slowly losing the support of our only real ally in the “coalition of the willing,” and it’s time to listen closely to what the British government has to say. And even U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the camps should be closed “as soon as possible.” That’s right, the United Nations is weighing in on this debate, although it has successfully avoided becoming involved with any international conflict with several months. Right away, that has to prove this situation is serious.

In a U.N. report, it noted that many of the prisoners had not been given the right to explain their actions. Most of the prisoners were captured during the early stages of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and now, almost five years later, they are still locked up.

Although some world organizations are calling for Guantanamo to be shut down, just think of the alternatives. If this truly is an issue of national security then some of the people kept at the prison should stay locked up. Although it would be time consuming, these people need to be brought to trial.

Allegations of abuse are also circulating. The Washington Post on Friday explains that the FBI has constantly been warning the military interrogators that the way they are conducting interviews is risky. The United States cannot forget our past problems with abuse scandals. The incidents that transpired at Abu Ghraib did not happen that long ago, and the U.S. government should have learned its lesson the first time around.

Congress, the United Nations, Amnesty International and the European Union should all be involved in a thorough investigation to the conditions at Gitmo. Separate parties need to conduct separate probes to ensure that the U.S. government, as well as its critics, understand what is really taking place at the highly controversial facility.

The international community’s current opinions of the United States are anything but flattering. With debates over secret CIA prisons abroad and the recent riots at an Afghanistan prison, right now the United States needs to improve its image when it comes to housing prisoners with suspected links to terrorist organizations.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the editorial board of the Daily Kent Stater.