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Restoring Moral Authority

Ending Torture, Secret Detention, and the Prison at Guantanamo Bay

From Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib, the history of the United States's handling of combatants in the Global War on Terrorism is filled with episodes that have diminished its reputation and influence in the world. Most military and intelligence professionals now agree that presenting a more positive vision of American values is critical to success over terrorist organizations like al Qaeda. Developing a coherent and effective human rights policy raises important questions: about the efficacy and legality of torture and extraordinary rendition, the use of military instead of civilian courts to prosecute suspected terrorists, and whether some prisoners can be held indefinitely without charge or trial. Considering both morality and strategy, the next president should issue an executive order that categorically forbids torture, end the use of secret detention, close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, and seek to release or transfer to home countries detainees who cannot be prosecuted by the United States.

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