President Obama wasted no time in taking the first step toward making good on one of his campaign promises: to close the naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After his inauguration yesterday, Obama signed an order that suspends all prosecutions at Guantanamo prison for 120 days.
Emily's Take: All Americans should be proud of this action. People like to talk about the symbolism of 9-11, how the Pentagon is a symbol of America's military might, and the World Trade Center towers were symbols of our financial dominance. Guantanamo Bay, "Gitmo," has become a symbol of a different sort: of arrogance, of empire, of hypocrisy. I say this not just as an idealist sorely disappointed by how America has stooped to using torture on prisoners and holding prisoners without due process (and without being charged, at that). I say this as a realist, who knows that a large part of America's power comes from a moral superiority over those who do us harm. Our prestige and our "soft" power are harmed when stories of torture from Guantanamo and Abu Graihb sour world public opinion against us. The tribunal system for "enemy combatants" set up hastily in the emotional aftermath of 9-11 should be rethought and reimplemented, in a way that upholds the letter as well as the spirit of our Constitution.
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