Greenberg weighs in on the closing of Guantánamo
January 28, 2009
Karen Greenberg, executive director of the Law School's Center on Law and Security, published a piece in the January 25 Washington Post suggesting that the new Obama administration could learn from the history of the Guantánamo Bay detention center. In "When Gitmo Was (Relatively) Good," Greenberg describes the earliest days of the detention facility, when its U.S. Marine commander insisted on following the Geneva Conventions in the treatment of prisoners, including calling in representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross. "Those crafting U.S. detention policy in the years ahead could still benefit from learning about these small initial efforts at decency," Greenberg said. According to Greenberg, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld soon set up a parallel command that undermined the existing one, in the interest of extracting actionable intelligence—to the detriment of prisoners' rights. Greenberg explores this period in greater depth in her forthcoming book The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo's First 100 Days.
Greenberg also appeared on the January 26 edition of CNN's American Morning to discuss President Obama's executive order that Guantánamo be shut down within a year. She advised the new administration to gather as much evidence as possible in reviewing the cases of the detainees, adding that a year should be sufficient to do so: "The faster this happens, the better. Whatever amount of man-hours they need to put in to review these cases, they need to do as quickly and with as much energy and intensity as they can."