Jan 252009
 
Authors: Virginia Singarayar

In one of his first moves as commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama issued an executive order Thursday to close the Guantanamo Bay prison within the next year, and also forbade harsh treatment of suspected terrorists, a move that has been lauded and criticized on both sides of the aisle.

As this move has caused considerable controversy, the Collegian decided to catch up with students on campus to see how they felt about the prison camp’s closure.

Ben schrader, President of Fort Collins iraq war veterans against the war:

Q: Do you agree or disagree with the closure of Guantanamo Bay?

A: I definitely agree with the closure. It’s a step forward toward showing that we do care about human rights. We’re probably going to find a way around it.

Q: Does it make you feel safer or less safe now that it will be closing?

A: Neither really. Guantanamo Bay doesn’t really affect my safety. Even though it’s closed there are other places across the globe they can ship these terrorists to. Some of the people that have been held there — it’s been total B.S. — but it doesn’t frighten me or scare me or make me feel unsafe at all.

Q: Should confirmed and suspected terrorists have the same rights as everyone else?

A: I think everybody — if they are tried by our system — should be given a fair trial, no matter what. I believe that that’s the right thing to do.

Q: Do you approve of the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects?

A: No. It’s been proven that it doesn’t work because they’ll either tell you what they want you to hear, or whatever they think you want them to say.

Q: Are there any circumstances in which you think they are justifiable?

A: I don’t believe this is a show of “24.” Hopefully our intelligence system is good enough that we can see these things well before they are even coming, and I just don’t think it’s practical that that situation would ever arise.

Kelly carnal, Chairman of the CSU college Republicans:

Q: Do you agree or disagree with the closure of Guantanamo Bay?

A: I disagree with it, at least right now. I think there are things that need to be focused on more. I think it’s really soon doing it within the first couple days of (Obama’s) administration. I don’t know how well thought out it really was.

Q: Does it make you feel safer or less safe now that it will be closing?

A: If they do bring the prisoners here, that fact makes me a little nervous. . It makes me feel a little less safe knowing that we are going to be a little more lenient on terrorists. Some of them might be innocent and some of them could be dangerous. Finding a place for them to go and having a plan would be better than saying “we’re closing it.”

Q: Should confirmed and suspected terrorists have the same rights as everyone else?

A: Absolutely. I think the reason (Obama) is closing Guantanamo Bay is because the treatment of them, and we want everyone to know that we’re not torturing these people. I understand why our forms of interrogation are kind of harsh. We have to get information from these people and if we could prevent things like 9/11, I understand why (harsh techniques) are used. It’s really a fine line for me; I can’t really answer yes or no.

Q: Do you approve of the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects?

A: I don’t think it should be encouraged. It’s hard, because if you can get the information you need when you need it, you could prevent something from happening. But at the same time, we don’t want really want to torture anyone.

Q: Are there any circumstances in which you think they are justifiable?

A: If there was a specific suspect and hard proof and we could prevent something like 9/11 again, I think that we should do whatever we have to do to get that information. At the same time, I don’t think it’s ever really OK or should be encouraged. If they had information that could possibly save millions of lives, then I guess that would be different.

Chief Designer Virginia Singarayar can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

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