War on Terrorism

Friday, December 19, 2008

Closing Guantanamo Bay

The Boston Review website now features a forum on the prospects and problems of closing Guantánamo Bay. In the lead article, David Cole, Nation legal affairs correspondent and Georgetown law professor, argues for a surprisingly middle of the road position, acknowledging both the need to stop ongoing abuses and maintain flexibility in the fight against al Qaeda and other threats. Cole's approach permits preventive detention, but restricts it to a limited class of enemy fighters—not extending it to "suspected terrorists." This policy is, he says, "sensitive to both security and liberty."

The forum also features three responses to Cole's proposal. Joanne Mariner, director of Human Rights Watch's Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program, rejects preventive detention and suggests some alternatives. Eric Posner, professor of law at the University of Chicago, criticizes the limited scope of Cole's approach to detention and attempts to justify the restriction on civil liberties by the Bush administration. Finally, Robert Chesney, professor of law at Wake Forest University, agrees philosophically with that Cole proposes but criticizes Cole's legal method for tackling the issue.


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