Obama continues military tribunals

President Barack Obama has decided as of March 8 to continue military trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees two years after he promised to close the military prison.
Whether or not the Guantanamo Bay detainees should be tried under civilian or military tribunals is an issue that has captured the attention of some CSUSB faculty, which gave their opinion on the matter.

“The best way to handle these prisoners is to bring them to a fair justice system whether or not they are released or prosecuted, but not by military tribunals, where some have been tortured and broken now to where they act like children. It is a disgrace to this nation,” said Dany Doueiri, assistant professor of World Languages and Literature.
Faculty executive board member for the center of Islamic Studies at CSUSB, Kevin E. Grisham said, “The problem with trying the prisoners in civilian courts is that they may have to use secret information that if made public can endanger the lives of many people. There may also be more serious problems if some of these prisoners are released.”

Coinciding with Grisham, Scot Zentner, political science professor said, “I favor military tribunals naturally because of the necessities of national security,” he added, “The country expects President Obama to do some justice and needs to recognize that he has to give up on civilian trials in order to do that.”
Grisham further added to the discussion by explaining that military tribunals work to an extent, but they do need work. The main problem of these trials is that they go “against many American principles of justice” according to Grisham.

Zentner explained that prisoners of war used to go back to their own countries after the war was over, but due to the complicated continuing war releasing the prisoners would not be considered.

“If Obama had kept his promise and closed the prison in Guantanamo the Arab community would have had more faith in the American system, but the U.S. continues to play a double standard role,” said Doueiri.

Many wonder whether Obama still might have future efforts to close the prison even though there is no hope for this action in the near future.

“There might be future efforts if they can figure out the logistical concerns of the Congress, the right place to keep the prisoners, and how to maintain the safety of the American people,” said Grisham

Zentner went on to say that if Obama is re-elected he may try to close down the prison again, but his main political mistake was not that he continued military tribunals, it was the promise he made to close it in a year.
“Never make promises unless you are absolutely sure that what you are saying will happen, especially if you are placing time tables, like in Obama’s case,” said Zentner.

Handling the whereabouts of the prisoners continues to be a major issue, and many also wonder if why rendition is not being seriously considered.
“If we want to continue national and global security there is a problem with sending the prisoners to other countries because we would not know what will happen to them, so rendition would be the least likely solution,” said Grisham.

While Obama still waits on shutting the door to Guantanamo Bay, many are still being tried, and many more believe those trials are unfair.



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