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Argument: Conditions at Guantanamo are very good for detainees

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Supporting evidence

Washington Post. "Close Guantanamo?". June 22, 2006 - "The illogic begins with the fact that Guantanamo now is, by far, the most comfortable and legally accountable detention facility maintained by the United States for foreign prisoners. Conditions there were crude in 2002, but since then one state-of-the art detention facility, modeled on a prison in Indiana, has been built, and a second is under construction. Guantanamo's detainees have recreation facilities and good medical care."


Morris Davis. "The Guantánamo I Know". New York Times. June 26, 2007 - Standards at Guantánamo rival or exceed those at similar institutions in the United States and abroad. After an inspection by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in March 2006, a Belgian police official said, 'At the level of detention facilities, it is a model prison, where people are better treated than in Belgian prisons.'

[...]Guantánamo Bay is a clean, safe and humane place for enemy combatants, and the Military Commissions Act provides a fair process to adjudicate the guilt or innocence of those alleged to have committed crimes. Even the most vocal critics say they do not want to set terrorists free, but they scorn Guantánamo Bay and military commissions and demand alternatives. The facts show the current alternative is worth keeping.


Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican - "Those guys get taxpayer-paid-for prayer rugs, have prayer five times a day (and) they've all gained weight."


Colonel Morris D. Davis, USAF, chief prosecutor in the Office of Military Commissions observed in a 2007 essay that Guantanamo Bay is "a clean, modern facility that employs humane detention practices to prevent enemy combatants from causing harm in the future and that utilizes fair trial procedures that exceed standards accepted in comparable international tribunals to adjudicate the guilt or innocence of enemy combatants alleged to have committed punishable offenses in the past" and argues that "there is no compelling reason to cut and run from the detention facility or the military commissions.

Am I ashamed of the picture I see of Guantanamo Bay and the military commissions? Absolutely not. There are those who want to sell a false and ugly picture of the facilities and the process, and they have been very successful in manipulating public opinion while we on the other side have been largely ineffective. If they continue to succeed in generating a false sense of collective shame, then perhaps public pressure will become so great that the political process will bend and cause a change of course. In my opinion, that would be unfortunate and unnecessary. Even some of the most vocal critics claim they are not soft on terrorism and do not want to set terrorists free, but they believe Guantanamo Bay and military commissions have become such liabilities that we need to look for other alternatives. Perhaps if we do a better job of educating the public about the truth, we will demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with the alternatives currently in use. We have a good story to tell, and we should not be ashamed to tell it. I see in Guantanamo a clean, safe, and humane facility to detain enemy combatants and a fair process to adjudicate the guilt or innocence of those alleged to have committed crimes defined by Congress and the laws of war. To paraphrase a quote from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, there is nothing more deceitful than the contrived indignation of those intent on closing Guantanamo Bay by any means necessary. Blow away the smoke of their hyperbole, and look again through clear eyes. The picture looks much better than you were led to believe.[1]

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