The Instigator
Muddy-Rivers
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Guantanamo Bay Detention Center should remain open.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
larztheloser
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,844 times Debate No: 27600
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

Muddy-Rivers

Pro

I have started this as a 5 round debate for the reason to allow an acceptance of the debate round as well.

The topic is the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and whether or not it should remain open and operating as a detainment center. All arguments for or against are allowed as long as they are relevant to the topic.

Round 1 - Accepting the debate and introducing yourself
Round 2 - Stating your opening argument
Round 3 - Rebutting your opponents opening argument and issuing responsive arguments
Round 4 - Final response to opponent
Round 5 - Closing statements

All arguments should remain respectful and refrain from personal attacks and irrelevant statements.

I am a political science/international relations student with focusing in international security as well as studying military history, strategy and policies.
larztheloser

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this important issue. While I've never formally studied politics or IR I've been reasonably politically active for some time and IR debates have always been my strongest in formal debating competitions. I also share a particular interest in US foreign policy as well as military strategy with my opponent, and by coincidence, we both also work for software companies.

I'm really looking forward to this debate, where unsurprisingly I will argue that Guantanamo Bay Detention Center should be closed, which as it so happens is actually a personal belief of mine. I hope my opponent doesn't mind if I start responding to their case immediately in round two, because I'm anticipating rejecting a number of the premises on which it will be built (assuming I am correctly predicting what line my opponent is going to take). It should help the debate move along quicker and get some more meaningful clash in round three. Don't worry, I should be able to do my opening argument as well. As this is the acceptance round, I'll obviously wait for the next one before I begin presenting any arguments.

I say this in every serious debate I do, but I really mean it: bad voters, go away.

I wish my opponent the best of luck and look forward to a fun debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Muddy-Rivers

Pro

Well, I am glad to see I have a formidible opponent, or at least I hope so based upon your introduction. And I hope that following this debate we may find rise for other debates in the future.
Now on to it.

I have a feeling you may be surprised as to the angles I approach this from. Not only do I possess my researched and media and academic evidence but my father and a friend of mine were both stationed on the Guantanamo Naval Base. This of course is not a debate over the closer of the base as a whole but of the detention center only. But this unique insight does shed some light. I also look forward to hearing the views from someone not from the US as I spend a lot of time debating this issue with Americans.

The detention center of Guantanamo Bay (henceforth referred to as GTMO) houses some of the most high value detainees and war criminals that the United States has captured. Detainees that have been found with ties to terrorist organizations, enemy combatants, and other prisoners that are threats to national security. These prisoners are kept in prisons modeled after maximum security US prisons and Federal Penitentiaries. Many of the detainees are uncooperative and threaten and attack guards, many have stated that they plan to return to war against the US, and others are the opposite and are very cooperative and as such receive treatment that is warranted of that, just like prisoners within the continental US receive privileges for good behavior.

This prison is utilized for prisoners of war and threats to peace. This is a common practice that has been used for centuries. The Geneva conventions were enacted to ensure fair treatment of these prisoners but that doesn't eliminate the need for it. The major question to be asked is, if the prison was to be closed down, where would these prisoners go? GTMO is a safe location for potentially dangerous detainees that pose threats to civilians and have actively participated in violent acts against multiple sovereign nations and actively conspire and threaten further acts of violence. To house these people in a location that would allow them access to gang involvement, interaction with Gen. Pop in a standard prison, it would be dangerous. The only other option would be the ADX Supermax but that is limited in space, and as such GTMO is the best alternative to that.

That is my opening argument. I will incorporate much more in the ways of evidence and other statistical figures, facts, and data in rebuttals.
larztheloser

Con

I thank my opponent for beginning the debate. As I suspected, I'm going to contest a number of my opponent's assumptions, so be ready for that.

1: GTMO does not house war criminals, but rather mostly innocent civilians

Of the 779 people who have been brought to GTMO since the beginning of 2002, none have been convicted in a US federal court. Only three have been convicted in a military court, and one of those three (Salim Hamdan) had their conviction vacated in the US court of appeals. Another one of them (David Hicks) was only convicted because of a plea bargain. None of the three was convicted of a recognised war crime: Hicks was convicted of "providing material support for terrorism", Hamdan of being Bin Laden's chauffeur, and the third man, Ali al-Bahlul, of opening up Windows Movie Maker and making a video that "celebrated" the terrorist attack on the USS Cole. To be fair, a fourth person who was briefly held was later convicted in a Russian court, although again not of a war crime.

So there's the worst of the 779. A director whose speech was a little too free, a driver, and a person who helped wire some money. I do not believe these are "the most high value detainees and war criminals the US has captured." Regardless, this is a detention facility, not a prison. The difference is that to be a prison there needs to be criminals, and at best, only 3/779 people have ever been convicted of a crime. A detention facility is where you go before you have been convicted, usually while you're going to court (but hardly anyone at GTMO ever gets that chance).

So who are the others? Mostly ordinary people. Right now many of you will be familiar with the case of Shaker Aamer, the British guy of Saudi origin who happened to be doing aid work in Afghanistan when he was captured and tortured. He was taken the GTMO without trial, and has been there ever since, more often than not in solitary confinement. The Bush administration admitted it had no evidence against him. Both the governments of Bush and Obama have cleared him for release, and yet the military is refusing to let him out. Many have speculated this is because he has often stood up for the rights of other prisoners. (http://goo.gl...)

Shaker is not alone. In a recent article, former US president Jimmy Carter argued that more than half of those in GTMO have actually already been cleared for release, and that there's virtually no evidence against the rest of them, but that most of those have next to no chance of ever getting out (http://goo.gl...).

There is no shortage of stories from the inmates. Imad Abdullah Hassan, the Yemeni university student pulled out of his dorm, and who still doesn't know why. Mustafa Ait Idir, who was apprehended by the USA in Bosnia almost immediately after having been proved innocent by the Bosnian Supreme Court. Mosa Zi Zemmori, who wore a brand of wristwatch the US did not endorse. Fawaz Mahdi, a seriously mentally ill person (and there are almost 100 others like him who've been through GTMO). Jamal al-Harith, who was held by the Taliban in a prison, so the US thought they could torture information out of him about, ironically, Taliban torture techniques. The list goes on and on (http://goo.gl... and http://goo.gl...).

2: It is not detainees who attack guards, but guards who attack detainees

My opponent has made inmates at GTMO sound violent, but in fact a quick glance through their administrative review board hearing cases reveals almost no such instances. Instead we see numerous references to attempted suicides (a number of which have been successful) and hunger strikes - hardly violent forms of protest.

There is no shortage of stories, however, of inmates who have been attacked in various ways by guards. A Red Cross inspection concluded that GTMO "cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture" (http://goo.gl...). These attacks are so extreme that one time, during a training exercise, a US soldier named Sean Baker, posing as a prisoner, was beaten so extremely that he received a severe brain injury. As one US senate report argued, these extreme attacks on prisoners were authorised and apparently legalised (http://goo.gl...). If it were true that the facility is there for military intelligence (though what intelligence a mental retard may offer does baffle me) then these kinds of attacks on prisoners cannot possibly give more accurate information - and if it isn't, then why torture at all? This is not simply reserved for uncooperative inmates - in fact, there has scarcely been anybody released from GTMO who has NOT complained of the torture that occurs there.

3. The Geneva conventions do not apply at GTMO

The reason why GTMO isn't on US soil is because some lawyers working for Bush thought they found a loophole to get around the Geneva convention (see also the next point). In the 2006 lawsuit of Hamdan v Rusfeld, the US Supreme Court found that this loophole doesn't work for Article 3 of each Geneva convention, which requires humane treatment (precisely the one the lawyers wanted to avoid) or the entirity of the third one (dealing with prisoners of war). A 2007 United Nations report argued that the Bush administration had violated international law through GTMO (http://goo.gl...). To date the Geneva conventions have not been implemented, for instance, prisoners are denied the right to Article 5 tribunals. Most of congress and the supreme court are still scrapping over whether prisoners can even have habeus corpus.

4. Assuming the remaining prisoners are all guilty, they can go places

Literally on the same day as this debate was begun, a government report was published showing that all 166 remaining inmates could be safely relocated to any of the 6 Defense Department prisons or 98 Justice Department prisons (http://goo.gl...). Which makes a lot of sense, given that 373 convicted terrorists are already held in such locations, and these guys don't even have a conviction. There have been absolutely no security problems with any of the terrorists. Even so, remember that these people are likely mostly innocent. The vast majority of GTMO's inmates since 2002 have been.

5. Justice works on faith

The whole point of justice is to give people the impression they are secure. Right now, people all around the world (including within America, because Americans have been detained there too) are genuinely concerned they will be arbritrarily and indefinitely detained. This is not an unwarranted fear. There are literally hundreds of such cases that have happened before, and GTMO just so happens to be one of the places they are sent. Therefore, the existance of GTMO undermines the principle of justice.

This impacts on the whole of the United States. Any claim that the US is a champion of rights or freedoms is instantly reversed with this very obvious way in which it isn't. I imagine most of the US is a pretty cool place, but when even one foreign national is detained indefinitely without trial, that nation is not going to like you very much. For US allies, this means that GTMO is a roadblock. For US enemies, GTMO is both a source of propaganda and a sort of vindication for their cause. Several times, al Qaeda has referred to it by name for the fear it strikes in people. This is why nations such as Russia and Australia have gone to great diplomatic lengths to get their citizens out of GTMO. Unfortunately most of the nations represented at GTMO do not have nearly so much diplomatic influence.

---

The harm of the status quo is that there's a detention facility out there holding people without trial, in conditions no semblance of international law would permit, including the worst forms of torture, for indefinite periods and without having committed a crime. GTMO is, more than anything else, a symbol of the failure of the US justice system to actually deliver justice.

The USA should not settle for failure. Close GTMO.
Debate Round No. 2
Muddy-Rivers

Pro

Muddy-Rivers forfeited this round.
larztheloser

Con

It seems my opponent has been taken to GTMO. Vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
Muddy-Rivers

Pro

Muddy-Rivers forfeited this round.
larztheloser

Con

Yeah ... so, anyone keen to make wagers on whether my opponent is going to post soon?
Debate Round No. 4
Muddy-Rivers

Pro

Muddy-Rivers forfeited this round.
larztheloser

Con

Apparently not. Never mind. Anyone else want to debate this?
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
Too bad, I was looking forward to this. Also, I didn't know that fact about the number of inmates convicted of a crime. Dat's weird bro.
Posted by Muddy-Rivers 4 years ago
Muddy-Rivers
My apologies. I am involved in a trade show for work and due to complications in the setup I got overwhelmed with that. I will respond this evening.
Posted by Muddy-Rivers 4 years ago
Muddy-Rivers
Also to my opponent (didn't want to add this to my actual argument), pardon my spelling and grammar if it sometimes is off. I try and check it but my keyboard is messed up and occasionally skips key strokes. I try and catch it but when I'm on a roll I miss some.
Posted by bergeneric63 4 years ago
bergeneric63
I will indeed haha
Posted by Muddy-Rivers 4 years ago
Muddy-Rivers
Yeah, I'm looking forward to an opponent. Stay tuned, it should be interesting.
Posted by bergeneric63 4 years ago
bergeneric63
Oh I wish you were Con so I could beat the crud out of you with a debate but your not and I have no argument for why it should close. Great debate this will be though
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
Muddy-RiverslarztheloserTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
Muddy-RiverslarztheloserTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Thou shalt not forfeit.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 4 years ago
iamnotwhoiam
Muddy-RiverslarztheloserTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by THEBOMB 4 years ago
THEBOMB
Muddy-RiverslarztheloserTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF