Comparison: Bush V. Obama And Guantanamo Detention Center

1399 words - 6 pages

The “War on Terror” that began days after the September 11th attacks was declared by President George W. Bush and has continued under President Barack Obama. President Bush wanted to restore the security of the United States. Many of the policies he enacted, while controversial, are still used by the current administration. One of these policies was the operation of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. While it has had far reaching domestic effects it is still a foreign policy issue by nature. The prisoners that have been held in Guantanamo come from all over the world, including Algeria, China, and Pakistan. The governments of these countries and many others are interested in seeing Guantanamo Bay emptied and shut down, either because they have citizens who are being held there or because of the human rights’ abuses that have been perpetrated there (these abuses were standard policy at this facility in particular, separating it from any other with a similar purpose). This essay will look at the history and respective policies of the Bush and Obama administrations concerning Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the effects those policies have had on U.S. foreign policy.
The Guantanamo facility came into being as a result of the United States’ military operation in Afghanistan and the capture of suspected terrorists that occurred during that time. On January 11, 2002 the first prisoners from Afghanistan arrived at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba, under the orders of President George W. Bush. Throughout the next several weeks the number of detainees at Guantanamo reached 600 (Dahlstrom, 2003, 674). According to the Bush Administration only the “worst of the worst” were to be housed in this new offshore prison. However, it was soon established that, “despite the Bush administration’s contentions, many of the detainees were no more than low-level fighters” or had not participated in violence against the United States but had only some affiliation with a terrorist group (Daskal, 2007, 30). Once it was discovered that not all the prisoners were guilty of a crime, a controversy about the validity of the detention center erupted.
The President’s Administration was publicly criticized by human right’s activists who claimed that Guantanamo violated the Geneva Conventions (specifically the provisions about POW status and torture) and U.S. law in regards to habeas corpus and indefinite detention. In the early years of Guantanamo, former President Bush failed to “to establish a formal process for determining the combatant status of Guantanamo detainees” or in other words any process for determine innocence or guilt (Tung, 2011, 461). Therefore no process existed for the accused criminals to be charged tried, and possibly released. President Bush claimed he had grounds for indefinite detention because the right of habeas corpus did not exist for the detainees. It did not exist because the Supreme Court “lacked jurisdiction to entertain federal habeas corpus...

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