Abu Ghraib And Guantanamo Bay: The Safety Of Nations Or The Rights Of Few?

1107 words - 5 pages

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The hood goes on and darkness closes in, the snide laughter of soldiers can be heard, the buzzing of the electricity running through the wires grows closer, the growling of dogs sounds as they stand nearby, ready to attack--these are the haunting sights and sounds remembered by detainees from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prison camps. Located 20 miles west of Baghdad, the 280-acre prison camp of Abu Ghraib housed as many as 3,800 detainees from 2003 to 2006 (“Iraq Prison Abuse...”). In January of 2004, Spc. Joseph M. Darby discovers and reports photos of Iraqi prisoners being abused. An investigation is begun. In April Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba releases his report about the misconduct in the 800th Military Police Brigade (“Iraq Prison Abuse...”). These actions taken ignite the scandal. Many miles away in Cuba sit the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station and detention facilities, often referred to as “Gitmo” (“Guantanamo Bay Naval...”). These facilities were repurposed to hold detainees in the “war on terror” in response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001. In 2004 the Supreme Court Case ruled that the detainees were not on U.S. Soil and are not covered by the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, the detainees’ “enemy combatant” status denied them some legal protections (Guantanamo Bay Naval...”). The question of whether these two prison camps are justified or should be closed lies with two factors: The violation of human rights and the importance in gathering information to aid America’s “war on terror.”
Abu Ghraib’s and Guantanamo Bay’s holding cells have been criticized for infringing on detainees’ basic rights. BR, an Abu Ghraib detainee, commented on his experience, “They accused us of planting bombs on the road and resisting American forces. I gave them the same answers and when they didn’t like my answers, they began torturing me.” He reports being
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repeatedly beaten (Keller). On April 30, 2004, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba’s investigation report is released. His report included statements that the following instances had occurred: Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees; and forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing (“Iraq Prison Abuse...”). Other instances included the uses of stress positions, the forced removal of clothing, solitary confinement, light deprivation, and prolonged exposure to extreme heat, cold, and loud noises (Paul). The question is often asked: Do detainees, regardless of their “enemy combatant” status, have the same basic rights as any other human being? Under Bush’s administration it was ruled that because they were not on American soil, they were therefore not protected by the Constitution and not given basic rights. This statement is invalid. A look back on American history shows this country’s struggle with civil rights. According to the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that...

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