Debate at the New America Foundation on Guantanamo for its Ninth Birthday

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the opening of the infamous detention center for “unlawful combatants” in the War on Terror at a U.S. Navy Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In order to reflect on the question of treatment of detainees in the struggle against terrorism, as well as Obama’s failure to keep his promise to close the Guantanamo detention facilities by now, the Washington D.C.-based think tank the New America Foundation organized a panel of experts to discuss these difficult and thorny issues.

Here is the NAF’s presentation of the panel:

Nine years after opening the prison at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, the United States still faces major questions and partisan rancor over the future of the prison, the fate of its 174 remaining detainees, and the proper means of trying and holding terrorism suspects detained at home and abroad. Please join the New America Foundation National Security Studies Program for an important discussion on the prison’s future, and the broader context of the state of terrorism, detention and the law today.

The panel largely opposes Guantanamo and the Bush Administration policies that ensued and offers interesting perspectives and arguments.

Benjamin Wittes, who blogs regularly at Lawfare, is the only one who tends to be more reserved in his judgment of Guantanamo. Although he may appear to be on the “wrong side” of the debate, his contributions are perhaps the most interesting as he clearly points out the difficult issues at hand with Guantanamo in particular, but also with the detention of individuals in combatting terrorism in general. You may or may not agree with his conclusions, but he does remind us of something I believe we tend to forget too often: it’s a far more complex issue than we would like it to be, and there’s no magic solution.




Featured Speakers
Andy Worthington
Journalist, Author, Filmmaker, Senior Researcher, Cageprisoners
Author, The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison
Co-director, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”

Col. (ret) Morris Davis
Executive Director, Crimes of War Education Project
Former Chief Prosecutor, U.S. Military Commissions at Guantanamo

Thomas Wilner
Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP
Represented Guamtanamo detainees in the Rasul v Bush and Boumediene v Bush cases

Benjamin Wittes
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Author, Detention and Denial: The Case for Candor After Guantanamo

Patrick Doherty
Senior Advisor, Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative
Director, Smart Strategy Initiative
New America Foundation




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