Close Guantanamo Bay.... please.
And I think that really is the point. No matter the reason, keeping these prisoners indefinitely without charge, or without giving them Geneva Convention protections, just plain looks bad. It is a smear on the record of the United States that dwarfs such trivial matters such as holding journalists without charge or legal representation. The issue of Guantanamo Bay has become the ultimate public relations nightmare for the Administration. Indeed it has become difficult to find advocates for the continued operation of the prison. Roger Fraley, who writes XDA, does his best to explain why the prison is justified in this article. His rhetorical thrashing of Paul Campos notwithstanding, Roger misses the mark by resorting to saying "...we are at war". If indeed we are at war, then these prisoners should be given Geneva Convention protection. But very simply, the Administration cannot afford to do this for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, they will not be able to comply with the Geneva Convention with regards to the Treatment of Prisoners of War because of Article 17 which includes this paragraph:
"No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."
The reward system that the Administration follows clearly violates this provision. Prisoners are given rewards for giving information in the form of increased contact with other prisoners and time outside their cells. There are reports of torture from those who have been released. The Administration is using disadvantageous treatment to coerce information from the prisoners. Therefore, they cannot afford to extend provisions of the Geneva Convention to these prisoners.
As a result, they are not considered prisoners of war, but rather "enemy combatants" which by domestic law apparently allows for the detention of people with whom we are at war to be exempt from Geneva Convention protection. This linguistic ruse is not hard for anyone to see through, and I suspect that when the terms "prisoner of war" and "enemy combatant" are translated into certain other languages, the distinction between the two becomes even less clear.
Quite simply, legal arguments notwithstanding, the damage to the reputation of the United States caused by the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay Prison, far outweighs the security benefits of it's continued operation.
The prisoners there should be either 1. Released to their home countries provided the countries are either US allies or neutral. 2. Tried as "enemy combatants" and incarcerated appropriately. Or 3. Declared "prisoners of war" and be granted Geneva Convention protection.
Otherwise, the US calls for "legal protection for all", ring hollow, and the "War for the Hearts and Minds," will be lost.