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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Symbol of “misguided ‘war on terror’” must close to bring “closure,” “restore U.S. standing”

Closing Guantánamo will demonstrate decisive “change of course” says noted expert on national security, terrorism and civil liberties
Excerpts, editing by Carolyn Bennett

In a 2007 article delineating eight reasons for closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Professor Karen J. Greenberg includes the following in reason eight.

Closing Guantanamo Bay prison
“…will signal a fundamental change of strategy in the ‘war on terror’

Guantánamo is the single most potent symbol in the misguided war on terror.

In the wake of 9/11 (September 11, 2001), the pledge of the United States to do everything in its power to protect its people from further harm led to a policy of overreaction.
Closing Guantánamo will signal that the United States has emerged from its confusion, and regained a place among civilized nations.

We must no longer act like scared victims, willing to make any bargain with any devil to create the illusion of safety.

We must reassert our confidence in the rule and wisdom of law. Enemies must be combated with legal tools, military prowess and diplomacy ─ not with illegalities, bullying, and walls of silence.

Closing Guantánamo is not about bowing to human rights concerns or even to the law.

We must close it as a signal to the world that, even in the face of danger, the United States remains true to its values.

Closing Guantánamo is a pledge of allegiance to the American past and to the American future.

Character “not subject to compromise”

our years later, during the tenure of George W. Bush’s White House successor packing a passel of promises later broken and broken again, Greenberg wrote an opinion piece for the New York Daily News. In it she concluded:

“If the President himself is unwilling to embrace as sacred the right to due process for Americans, if he is not willing to risk everything to protect that fundamental constitutional guarantee, if he really believes you can compromise on this basic value ─

…then why should we be surprised that the nation itself is floundering?

How hard would it be for the President of the United States to face the nation and tell it clearly, once and for all, and without any qualms:

‘It was absolutely wrong to consider making Guantanamo a permanent reality; and 

it is a further — and unacceptable — violation of the very premises of our democracy to expand the Guantanamo concept of indefinite detention to include Americans.’

Only when a President leads the nation with the reminder that America’s identity as a nation is not subject to compromise will the long-term wounds of 9/11 (September 11, 2001) begin to recede.

r. Karen J. Greenberg is a graduate of Yale and Cornell universities, present and former member of the teaching faculties of Fordham Law School and New York University. 

In the Clinton-Gore administration, she was director of International Initiatives (Office of the Vice-President, 1997–2000) and earlier (1993–1996) Vice President for Programs at the Soros Foundations. Later she was founding executive director of the Center on Law and Security, School of Law (2003–2011). She is associated with the Whitehead School of Diplomacy (board member), the Madison Policy Forum (fellow), and the Council on Foreign Relations (member). 

Karen Greenberg is “a noted expert on national security, terrorism, and civil liberties” and is director of the Center on National Security at the Fordham University School of Law.

Greenberg’s book credits include:
The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days (2009); The Torture Papers: the Road to Abu Ghraib (2005)
The Terrorist Trial Report Card, 2001–2011 (ed.)
The Torture Debate in America (ed. 2006)
Al Qaeda Now (ed. 2005);
The Enemy Combatant Papers: American Justice, the Courts, and the War on Terror (co-edited with Joshua L. Dratel, 2008)

Sources and notes

“8 Reasons to Close Guantánamo Now” (Karen J. Greenberg, 2007)

The first detainees arrived in Guantánamo four months after the 9/11 attacks. From the opening of Camp X-Ray ─ the first site of imprisonment, notorious for its tin-roofed open-air cages ─ to the … completed permanent prison known as Camp 6, critics have called for its closure.

Even President Bush has said, ‘I’d like to end Guantánamo. I’d like it to be over with.’ Yet he refuse[d] to close it because, he [said], it holds detainees who ‘will murder somebody if they are let out on the street.’

It’s time to look at the powerful reasons to close Guantánamo, both the standard ones enumerated below ─ and also what may be the most compelling if unspoken one of all: Guantánamo must be closed because the United States needs to indicate that it has decided to change course.

Closing Guantánamo will help to restore America’s standing in the world and in the eyes of its own citizens.

February 12, 2007, http://inthesetimes.com/article/3024/8_reasons_to_close_guantamo_now
Research for this article was contributed by Center on Law and Security Research Fellow Francesca Laguardia.

Karen J. Greenberg, 2011

 “President wavered on Guantanamo: on indefinite detention of terror suspects, (U.S. President Barack) Obama is as much to blame as (George W.) Bush: He compromised and capitulated instead of sticking to principle” (Karen J. Greenberg, New York Daily News) December 1, 2011, http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/indefinite-detention-terror-suspects-obama-blame-bush-compromised-capitulated-sticking-principle-article-1.984765#ixzz2ak9pBNMU
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/indefinite-detention-terror-suspects-obama-blame-bush-compromised-capitulated-sticking-principle-article-1.984765#ixzz2ak9gQ6Pv

Greenberg is director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School and is the author of The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days.

Karen J. Greenberg in July 2013 interview

Karen Greenberg appeared in the “Gitmo hunger strike” edition of Press TV’s “Inside Out, ” a 25 minute magazine-style weekly program objectively exposing and exploring the U.S. public and government challenges, bringing heated issues and passionate topics in an enthusiastic inside-out manner, aired July 23, 2013 (and archived),  http://www.presstv.ir/section/3510553.html

Karen J. Greenberg profile data at


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