With the beginning of 2015 came news of more prisoners being dismissed from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
Is this a good thing for the United States?
To answer that question honestly, perhaps we should take a close look at what America is supposed to stand for and what it is that makes us different.
America, who's mission statement is Liberty and Justice for ALL, now has a tarnished image due in part to recently revealed activities° at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.
I thought prisons were for people who have been convicted for having committed a crime.
Lets be clear about something. There are people being detained at Guantanamo who have NOT been sentenced or charged for a crime. Many of them have been held captive for a decade; locked away indefinitely. Again, let me reiterate, these people have NOT been charged or convicted, yet they are being detained with little humanitarian oversight and legal recourse.
Who are we again?
This isn't us. This isn't how Americans are supposed to behave toward our fellow beings. We're supposed to be an example, remember? We're "the city on the hill" - something other nations aspire to and are inspired by. What happens at Guantanamo Bay is the kind of thing that we criticize other nations for doing. We have a name brand*° in the world, and it is important to uphold our credibility among other nations and their peoples.
The detention of non-charged persons is not good for America because it creates more enemies for us. The person being detained will no doubt have animosity toward his captors. Torture and unjust imprisonment is no way to make a friend. If he wasn't an enemy before detention, he is certainly more likely to be our enemy after imprisonment. The children of the detained will hate America, and continue the resistance of what they perceive as US aggression and occupation in their homeland.
There probably are some dangerous people being detained at Guantanamo Bay. If crimes have been committed, then gather the evidence and present it at a trial. If there is no evidence, then those being detained should be released. It's the right thing to do. It's the American way.
° Torture is outlawed by international and domestic law, morally repugnant and downright un-American.
*° A point made by Jon Huntsman Jr. during one of the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary debates.