Thursday, January 31, 2008

Guantanamo Bay and Justice

The theme of this unit encompasses the law, human rights and the concept of justice. The reason why we begin with Guantanamo Bay is because, as of right now, there isn't necessarily a universal set of laws that govern the area, and thus the concept of "justice" for the area is open to debate. And has it been debated...

Guantanamo, as we discussed in class today, is an incredibly unique place. U.S. laws don't really apply to the prisoners there, but the area is nonetheless under the control of the U.S. government. As such, questions abound about what, exactly, are the rights of the people imprisoned there.

What I really would like you to think about this unit is what the term "justice" really means: Is it a universal set of rights every has? What happens if justice for me equals an injustice for you? What is the best way to determine justice in a large society, when contrasting ideas of what is (and is not) justice contradict one another? Every event discussed in this unit should raise these questions for you.

But back to Guantanamo. You should, at this point, be researching the debate that we will be having next week. In doing so, you are really researching differing ideas about justice. That is, do the rights of the imprisoned to a fair trial and evaluation of the evidence against them outweigh the possible safety benefits for thousands of Americans if they remain imprisoned? Is justice the same for everyone?

The questions raised here are questions you should ask about every event we study throughout this unit. In doing so, it should lead you to understand better the evolution of what we know now to be justice, because (as I mentioned in D period today), the idea of human rights is a very new concept in the history of the world.


HPeters said...

This topic is a really important one in todays society, and i think that its smart for us to study this important issue. For one, i am kind of on both sides, and do not really know which side to choose. On one side, Guantanamo is a necessary place because it holds detainees that could potentially make the United States an unprotected and unsafe place. These detainees are being tortured in order to retrieve information about supossed terrorists. Along with this, most of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay havent been charged with crimes. It doesn't seem reasonable that they arent charged with crimes, yet they are still held for many years at a time. On the other side, it seems unreasonable to even hold a detention camp at all. To me, it seems that Guantanamo Bay serves no purpose, but at the same time, we want to protect our country's security and safety.

ahasna21 said...

I am with Hannah on this issue that I am on both sides of this issue. Yes i believe that the what America is doing to the detainees in Guantanamo Bay is cruel, but I also believe that if we do not have them imprisoned, then there is a greater risk of us being attacked again, and maybe even worse than 9/11.
The torture technique is in a way useful because we are able to retrieve information about people like Osama bin Ladin ans they would never give us the information if we just politely asked them for it. ANd also like what Hannah said, many of the prisoners have not been formally charged with any acts of terrorism and this in my opinion is an unlawful act.

This is Aon Hasnain

miamiplaya72 said...

Ok people, I know everyone will hate me for what I'm about to say, but I honestly believe that Guantanamo Bay is completley neccessary and wihtout it I don't know how the U.S. would be safe. We need a place where we can hold terrorists without trial because our goal is to stop terrorist attacks, not wait for them to happen and then prosecute whoever did it as is customary with law enforcement in our country today. The goal of counter-terrosism is to stop terrosist attacks by any means necessary, ANY MEANS NECESSARY PEOPLE! The U.S. government is simply operating this camp just to keep us safe so we dont have to worry about another september 11th. As for some people saying that they should be given the same rights as Americans, that should never happen (sorry jeffrey). These terrorists lost that right the day they went through with 9/11. And as for how we treat them in the camo, well its a whole lot better than how they treat U.S. captured forces in Iraq. Let us not forget the innocent Ameircan reporters that were driving their SUV in Fallujah Iraq, when all of the sudden insurgents stopped their car, forced them out and hung them from a bridge. Why should we be som generous to them when they go and do something like that to our citiznes, and they weren't even soldiers they were reporters. So we should be able to torutre them if we are able to gain information that can save American lives, plain and simple. If you guys want to be safe in your homes at night with no fear of terroist attacks, than we need to keep GITMO open.

Coleslaw said...

I am sorry If this is not the right Blog page, It has taken Me about 1 week to find this, However Josh, I also agree. I was arguing with Mrs. Chavez in which she initiated it. Anyway, she was yelling at me saying how could you think that, that is horrible. However look at this topic closer, it is hunt or be hunted. If you don't act, they might. You need a place to at least increase your security a bit. I think it increases the security of the American people, American society, and the American land to an extreme amount. I feel horrible about the techniques and "Professional Interrogation Techniques" but again, If you don't contain some of these people, many Americans will die. You have to just look at it as if you want to live a non-terror life and grow old and live happy, but at the cost of a few hundred being tortured, but your people safe. Or Live your life in horror, because you did not detain these people? That's why this topic is so tricky. What makes It even More Tricky is that the government are finding loopholes. Also These loop wholes cause more controversy. However without these loopholes there would not be a such place to hold these people. So as much as they are critizited, i think this time they are still doing something horrible and I hate my self for thinking this is necessary, but truly is necessary, I am with you Josh. Too bad I am arguing the other side, which is immensely hard, b/c 1 i am sick and 2 I am not pro closing it down, So i have to drop it all and just handle it as business. This was fun though ha.

ztdog818 said...

guantanomo bay, i think, is somewhat necessary. like a few of the others said, if we DONT have g-bay, more events like 9/11 mite happen. however, i do agree that it is cruel to the inmates who may not even know wat they did to deserve going there. so i am sort of inbetween on this topic; but i believe that there is no price for american safety.
-willie trieger

cookiemintz said...

i am not really sure what i think about this whole matter.... but.. I believe it is a good place to keep terrorists and people of that matter but if you don't have have any evidence in the first place why should you just arrest some random person in Iraq or Afghanistan.

and with the whole bring them to trial thing.
I think that would be hard to hold a trial because information in the trial can leak, like who was the person that sold the certain terrorist out and information like that

la.même.chose. said...

they arent torturing in guantanamo bay, but the gov't does in otehr places.
the only issue i have with "g-bay" (as willie so eloquently put it) is that the people held there have no basic human rights.
why should our rights outweigh theirs? i know there is no way to be certain if someone is a terrorist, but is it really fair to imprison someone on a hunch? i know that they use more than just a hunch, but if you are never really sure, what if you are ruining someones life?
really i think that until we figure out a way to communicate with different gov'ts and groups/factions and figure out what they want and nonviolent ways of getting it, places like g-bay will exist.
however, i think its kind of a drastic step to take.
if we imprisoned people because we thought they had done something or were going to do something, people would riot. our justice system is based on facts, and using evidence to incriminate someone.
guantanamo bay is, to me, unamerican. people are supposed to have equal rights. if george bush was held at g-bay (just go with me here) he would have a conniption.
i know im all over the place with this, but really its not fair what we are doing. i realize it might be necessary, but its pretty drastic and i think there are other ways to prevent terrorism without suspending basic rights.


Just to turn this into an argument, i am going to argue for closing gbay (not ebay, gbay). For one, it is true that the gbay MILITARY BASE is a convenient way to hold terrorists.
However, the point of the MILITARY BASE, is to be a MILITARY BASE and not a Terrorist holding facility.
Originally, gbay was given to the US through a treaty and we were given a strict guideline of what actions could be taken within the MILITARY BASE. Im not exactly sure, but i believe this treaty ended around 2002. At this point Cuba has asked us to leave and we have not. Soon after, Cuba finds out what were doing in gbay and are hardly impressed. It is at this time that the actions taking place in gbay are discovered by many nations and what not. Cuba and the UN have asked us repeditally to move and have gone to the point if ignoring us completely. It is 2008 and we still have gbay active as ever.

Torturing is currently against UN policy. It is viewed as inhumane and unessacery even in Cuba. Given that the US is in Cuba, according to the Geneva Convention, the US must abide by Cuba's legal construct. So torturing may be somewhat useful, but ultimately it makes us look like satanists and demotes the many views of the US.

In General, the fairness of this should have nothing to do with fairness if anyone knows anything, then they should know that there is no such thing as fairness. Many of these people should be tried not because of fairness, but because of their guiltiness(not a word but ill use it). The reason for US reluctance to try these people is because many of them are guilty, and trying them could cause an information leak. Ultimately, they should be tried and proven guilty, but use a different system of justice to determine their innocence that would prevent information leaks

These people are dangerous yes, but so are all people. You don't have to be a terrorist to blow up a building or kill hundreds of people. Anyone can do that, so we musnt base or logic on fear. Any human can potentially destroy the US or any other country, and because we are in a whole new red scare, we are subsituting all our logic into fear which is blinding the US from understanding what is going on and what can be done.