Guantanamo Bay Debate

Ever wish you could whisper in the president's ear? Give him advice on issues plaguing the nation? Well, here's your chance to tell the world what you would do if you were president of the United States. Twice weekly, we'll ask our readers a question about an issue facing the nation and post your responses here.

Today's topic:

The number of Guantanamo Bay detainees staging a hunger strike spiked suddenly from 3 to about 75, the U.S. military said Monday, describing growing defiance among men who have been held for up to four and a half years with no end to their imprisonment in sight.

If you were president, would you close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay?

Click on the links in the box on the right to read recent stories on this topic, then e-mail us at Check back during the day to read more responses from FOX Fans and to see if yours was posted.

Here's what FOX Fans are saying:

”I can’t believe that closing Guantanamo Bay is even being considered. Prisoners going on a hunger strike is about as ridiculous as illegal aliens being able to hold a protest. When are our congressmen going to start listening to the people who elected them and start looking out for the American people’s interests? When are they going to stop worrying what every other country in the world thinks? Very few other countries care about the United States, and I’m sick and tired of us worrying about everybody else. Close Guantanamo? How insane!” — Roy (Clayton, GA)

”Why should we close Guantanamo Bay? Definitely not because the U.N. said to. They don't listen to us why should we listen to them. We have held that land since the Spanish American War. France or Germany would not give up their land because we said so. Therefore we should not give up our legally held lands in Cuba or any foreign country.” — Weston

”Closing the prison would not serve the interests of the nation. As far as the detainees' rights are concerned, they have none. During a time of war, a captured person wearing no uniform could be shot as a spy. The should not be accorded Geneva Convention Rights as they wore no uniform as a soldier.” — Rich

”I think if I were president, I would tell the critics of Gitmo to find an alternative. It is easy to sit in the background and complain, as the Democrats and these war critics do, but we have had no attacks on American soil. Plus, we are getting rid of the murderers who are on a rampage in the Middle East and they are being treated as well as possible.” — Stephen

”No, I would not close Gitmo, unless we opened prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq and moved them there. These are effectively prisoners of war. During a war you either shoot the enemy or put them in a prison camp — nothing else. Their guilt was determined by our soldiers using on the field judgment. Having a trial months or years later is ridiculous. Records and witnesses are almost certainly not available. Trials in the U.S. court system should never happen. They are not U.S. citizens. Since the war on terror will probably go on for years to come, we should expect to hold the prisoners in prison for years. We should also figure out ways to cut the cost of housing them.” — Ron (Pasadena, MD)

”If I were president, I would absolutely not close Guantanamo Bay. I would also close this discussion. We are at war with people who want to destroy this country and our way of life, so whatever it takes to defeat them is what we need to do. My greatest fear is that this country doesn't have the stomach to do what needs to be done to preserve our liberties and way of life for future generations.” — Kevin (New Jersey)

”Shutting it down will not change the misdeeds that are being done in the name of the United States. If I were president, I believe that we should stand firm in our beliefs and not sink to the level of these animals. We should treat them as we would hope our men and women are treated. America should lead by example. I would hate for them to torture and torment our soldiers overseas.” — Paul (Richboro, PA)

”Guantanamo Bay should not be closed. If the prisoners do not wish to cooperate by telling us what they know, they should be kept there until they decide it is in their best interest to do so. Appropriate punishment can then be applied. Only if they are completely innocent of charges should they be returned to their country of origin. Release the rest of the prisoners? You must be kidding. It is my understanding that some have been released, then later recaptured engaging in the same type activities that landed them at Gitmo in the first place. The food offered to them is appropriate to their religion. If they choose not to eat it, so be it. They should not be force-fed. If they wish to starve themselves, I believe they should be allowed to do so.” — Mike (South Carolina)

”I would close the base tomorrow and give the land back to the Cubans we stole it from. The prisoners, with possible exceptions for a handful of the most serious cases, should be returned to their home countries as most are no threat to the U.S.” — Stephan (Portland, OR)

”If I were president, I would lose Guantanomo and move all of the misunderstood detainees to a new facility to be built in San Francisco, which would to be run by the anti-U.S. military city government. At the same time, I would also build a high wall to keep everyone in that area.” — Will (Seattle, WA)

”We are at war. Those prisoners are enemy combatants. Since we are bound to use only mild forms of interrogation, we must hold them longer. Let's have no more prisoners released who rejoin terrorists and kill Americans. Keep the prison up and running.” — Bill (San Pedro CA)

”If I were president, I would allow the Guantanamo Bay prison to remain open. These are hardened criminals who would kill any one that got in their way, especially Americans. Their murdering of innocent women and children should be proof. As president, I would remind the public of the training the terrorist undergo. They are trained to use the media to their advantage. The hunger strike is only a stunt to get the media's attention. If they really wanted to die then why are still drinking water?” — Keith

"Not only would I not close it, I would vote for keeping all of those monsters detained for their entire lives. I have no interest in reading that even one of those detainees were involved in terrorism if they were ever released. In fact, that has already happened, has it not? Why were they fighting us in the first place? They were all apprehended post 9/11 weren't they? Are we so soft now in the U.S., that we can't use good solid common sense on such issues?" — Tom (Indianapolis, IN)

"I would not close this facility. The coalition forces need a secure place to detain suspected terrorists. I am frustrated by the efforts of misguided Americans that make winning the war on terror a much more dangerous and difficult task." — Deborah

"The people who want to close Gitmo are the same people who think we should withdraw from Iraq. Withdrawing is the same thing as surrendering. World freedom is dependent on the war on terror being won." — Andrew (Hummelstown, PA)

”I definitely would not close Guantanamo Bay, but I would hasten the investigation of the prisoners. Some swear that they are being held without having done anything wrong — that they were caught up in a sweep, and have had no chance to defend themselves. I would want to make sure that there are no innocents there.” — Anderson (Kansas City, KS)

”Closing Guantanamo misses the point. We’re talking about basic human rights. We assume that our military captured terrorists and have put only the guilty away. But as we know, we’re only human and are prone to make mistakes. We need to give these prisoners trials to determine if they do belong there or if they were just caught up in the mix. What about the reports that children as young as fourteen have been kept there, not to mention the conditions? Most Americans are ready to condemn and burn these people, but they don’t know them and neither do I. So maybe we should get to know them.” — Sean (Los Angeles, CA)

”No, I would not close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. These are war-type prisoners. If they were released or sent back to their respective countries, what would stop them from committing the same acts that got them in Guantanamo in the first place? Sometimes I wonder if there is no common sense in the world.” — Pat (Pensacola, FL)

”If I were president, or able to influence his decision on Guantanamo Bay, I'd keep it going full bore. Those confined there are neither misunderstood nor innocent nor simple criminals. By their own actions, they have engaged in war, and illegally so, according to the Geneva and Hague Conventions. Their current treatment is in all likelihood too good for them.” — Tim

”No, I wouldn’t close Gitmo. If we did, what would we do with the detainees? Give them amnesty for being on American soil for four and a half years? If you are going to be in the jihad business you got to be tough.” — Johnny (Seneca, SC)

”If I were president, I would close down Gitmo and move the terrorists to new camp, preferably in Antarctica.” — Rick (Sacramento, CA)

”As president, I would not ever consider closing any prison that holds people dangerous to the U.S. I would allow those prisoners that wish to stage a hunger strike to continue to strike. When they are either dead or willing to begin to eat again, I would provide meals as before. There would be no special treatment either during or after their strike. I do not believe that we need to run a nursery school for terrorists or criminals.” — Joel (Palm Beach , FL)

”No, as president, I would not close it. These guys wanted war with the U.S. and they got it. They wanted to kill my wife, my daughters, my sisters and me, because we're Americans. Sorry, but the most humane way to treat people like that is to keep them locked up until the war on terror has ended with a decisive victory by the U.S. and its allies. Having said that, the U.S. must not engage in any type of torture. What goes around comes around. When we torture the enemy, we have no moral grounds to stand on to object to the torture of our troops.” — L.G.

”Yes, if I were president, I'd evacuate all military personnel from the prison at Guantanamo Bay within a week, thus leaving the prisoners to continue their hunger strike uninterrupted by meddling Marines.” — Ed (Knoxville, TN)

”No, not now, not ever. The bleeding hearts of this world are trying to connect what happened at Abu Ghraib with Guantanamo without even having been to either place.” — George (Bradenton, FL)

”The thought of closing Guantanamo is ridiculous. It gives a perceived weakness in America to the world. Why does the U.S. consider the opinion's of these other countries with regard to our law and military? As for the prisoner’s hunger strike, would we consider closing any other prison if the prisoners went on strike? “ — Erik (Spring, TX)

”We should close Guantanamo only after a better solution has been put into place. The people who are there are there for a reason and need to stay, until such time as they won't be a threat anymore.” — Linda

”I definitely would not shut down Guantanamo. If anything, I would enlarge it so that we have a safe place to keep the detainees who would do harm to our country.” — Dawn (Chicago, IL)

”If I were president, I would not close Gitmo. If they want to go on food deprivation, let them do so, because there would be a few less terrorists to have to take care of. When are our elected officials going to put America first and quit worrying about world opinion? I believe it should be expanded to house more terrorists that are caught. Terrorists take the right to life away from innocent people, so let’s take their freedom of movement away from them and throw away the key.” — John (Wichita, KS)

”Closing the doors and releasing the prisoners to America's legal system would tie up our courts for years and guess who would pay for that scenario? Taxpayers, of course.” — Frank (Gallatin, TN)

”I would close Gitmo only on the condition that France and Germany assume responsibility for every single inmate.” — Lucille (Nebraska)

”I would only close Gitmo if it could be proven that it is more of a negative for the U.S., than a positive. Where else are we to confine such prisoners or similar persons who come along?” — Rod (Morgantown, PA)

”No, the people being held in the prison have only one goal in life and that is to kill American people no matter where we are. It's a shame that the prison at Gitmo had to be started, but someone had to take a stand. Can you imagine if these prisoners were stateside? They would live like kings and more security would be needed just for the protesters!” — Roy (Dayton, OH)

”No way should that facility be closed. We need it to prevent the terrorists from doing any more harm to America or anywhere else in the world.” — Robert

”Of course we should close it. It’s become an embarrassment that only makes our ability to fight the war on terror more difficult. When we lose the moral high ground, we lose the war. Guantanamo Bay has become the very symbol of the Bush administration's distortions and excess. “ — Leo

”I can’t believe not one of the prisoners have been tried for their crimes. What are we waiting for? All of them should be tried (by military tribunals) and sentenced. We will need Guantanamo until every last one of them has finished their sentences.” — David (Austin TX)

”If I were president, I would never have opened the detention center in the first place. Our attempts to subvert or twist the laws to justify needed measures in this war on terror has done more damage to the rights of American citizens than it has to our enemies. The war on terror is clearly a matter of us-or-them, and the barbarians are at the gate wanting to destroy us. Let's stop trying to justify necessary actions and do what has to be done; secretly if necessary to protect the sensibilities of the faint hearted.” — Ed (Redmond, WA)

”As president, I would not close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. I have visited the facility and the prisoners get good food, the ability to observe their religion, excellent medical care and air-conditioned comfort. They are treated better than any POW in history, and they are not true POWs, they are terrorists. They should have no claim to our constitutional protections and no access to our court system.” — Ed (Florida)

”No, the prison would remain open. As president, I would see that they got nourishing foods but if they decided to starve themselves, then so be it. It's their choice.” — James

”I believe that something needs to be done to permanently resolve the issue of Gitmo. The people there need to be dealt with and the prison closed. Anyone suspected of criminal activity (terrorism) should be put on trial. The non-criminal enemy combatants should be released to the country of their citizenship. Their value to us as informants should have long since past.” — Mike (Red Bank, NJ)

”We should close it as soon as possible. It makes America look bad, and doesn't help our case if our soldiers get tortured when the get captured. I can't believe American citizens would support this — that is, supporting torture and cruel punishments. How does this make us any better terrorist?” — Chrise

”I would not close Guantanamo. The fact that we are still discussing this issue is ridiculous. The actions of a few individuals do not justify closing the facility.” — Andrew (Annapolis, MD)

”No, I would not close down Gitmo. In times of war you hold prisoners until the conflict is over. As for those that don't want to eat, let them starve themselves. It’s their choice. These are not people that should be in a criminal court — they are terrorists.” — Bill (Millington, TN)

”Absolutely not. I would state that this nonsense is going to end here and now. I would bring up everything done during WWI, WWII, and the Korean conflict to justify my actions. Nowhere in history are POWs given the same rights as U.S. citizens.” — John

”No, I would not close Guantanamo. I would try to do a better job informing the public about it. The news media has been working overtime to poison the public about this prison. These were war criminals; if they are released they will only kill more people.” — Marcia (Sisseton, SD)

”Closing the base at Guantanamo would be like giving a piece of the U.S. away. Prisons were not made to be resorts. The prisoners at Guantanamo should feel lucky and thankful that they are kept in much better conditions as prisoners than what they are used to as civilians in their own countries. If they don’t like it, tough.” — Maria

”No, I would keep it open, but I would try to make sure only people who pose a threat are detained.” — Doug

”I would not close Gitmo. When are our elected representatives going to put America first and quit worrying about world opinion? We are a sovereign nation, and too many of our politicians are selling this country out with the same old worn out excuse.” — Kenneth (Atlanta, GA)

”As president, I would close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and build a new U.N. headquarters there. There is no better example of never-ending torture than the U.N., as it is now operated.” — Joe (Barnwell, SC)

”Do not close the base. I would expand and modernize the facility to accommodate all non-U.S. persons captured during this war on terrorism. Much efficiency would be gained if all such detainees were housed in a single facility.” — DJ (Virginia)

”No need to close Guantanamo! Let the inmates close Guantanamo by cooperating. We find their colleagues, the war ends, prisoners go home, and Guantanamo becomes another base without a mission closed by Congress as part of periodic base realignment. It’s simple, elegant, and cheap. Plus, it doesn't require people who want to kill us being released because the Belgians feel sorry for them.” — Grant (North Carolina)

”I would not close down Gitmo. I would make it tougher and harder on the prisoners in the war on terror.” — James (Del City, OK)

”As president, my answer would be simple. Let them go on a diet because we don’t deal with terrorists.” — Dan (Norristown, PA)

”No, I would not close Gitmo Bay. First of all, the prisoners of Gitmo Bay are known enemies and, if given the chance, would kill Americans with no remorse and no honor. Second, although these enemies were captured in a war zone, they are not a legitimate army and do not qualify as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. Imagine closing down a federal penitentiary filled with rapists and murderers and letting those inmates loose on society. What kind of havoc would that create? Well, it’ll be the same havoc if Gitmo is closed. Third, these enemies swore to attack my country over and over again. Do we not have the right to self-protection? Many of those prisoners, who were later released, have been re-caught in the act of war. Does anyone really think if we let them go they will not return to kill again? Only fools believe that. Lastly, I really don't care what other countries may think of Gitmo. Who are they to dictate to the U.S.?” — Lori (South Carolina)

”I would advise the president to keep the facility as is, or expand it to a more permanent facility. All too soon, much of this country has forgotten that this is a nation at war. The niceties afforded criminals during prosecution do not apply. What is needed is a formal declaration of war against Al Qaeda and any other terrorist organization whose aim is to destroy western civilization. Then, I would advise the president that the next person who leaks classified information regarding our prosecution on the war on terror be tried for treason and the death penalty be sought. To treat these combatants either as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention or as criminals under the penal code is unworkable.” — Bruce

”If I were president, I would not close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Terrorists and enemy combatants have a lot to answer for. If you act like one, then you need to be detained until it can be confirmed that you are of no threat and that you are not about to kill or aid others in planning the deaths of many innocent people. It may also be said that if you close this very important facility, you are in effect assisting these terrorists in furthering their agenda. “ — Bethany

“I would never close Guantanamo Bay; the detainees want to murder every American. They don't care if you are white, black or green, Republican or Democratic, male or female, Christian or Jew, young or old. They just want to kill us all. Since 75 are now on food strikes, I wish them all the very best of luck.” — Alan

”No, I would not close Guantanomo Bay. If those detainees want to go on a hunger strike, let them. They are prisoners, and as far as I am concerned they have no rights.’ — Doreen

”I would make use of the same media that has contributed so well to the negative perception of Gitmo by mounting a marketing campaign to educate the world of the value, purpose, and method of operation at Gitmo to fight misperception with reality. In this campaign, I would also feature stories of those humanely released, who then showed up trying to kill Americans and innocents again, as well as declassify a few positive counterterrorism results that have come from information acquired at Gitmo. I would summarize by showing that Gitmo helps fight the war on terror for all, while maintaining the values of all good moral people.” — Larry (Ocoee, FL)

”If I were president, I would keep Gitmo open. At least we know where these terrorists are. Why let them go and next possibly see them blowing up Americans or American buildings? It’s a tough position to be in with negative opinions coming from all sides, but I'd have to stand strong and protect the American people.” — Mary (Toms River, NJ)

"Close an entire detention center because a few people were out of line? It is a stupid and typical left-wing overreaction. We have a war to win and we're debating things like this?" — Sam (Bend, OR)

"If I could find one Democratic senator that would welcome the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay into prisons in his home state, then I would close it and send them to that state. Maybe Senator Reid would accept them." — Paul (Boston, MA)

"The Guantanamo facility should not be closed, but it should be scaled back by forcibly repatriating any detainees who are not Afghan Taliban or senior Al Qaeda personnel. Don't let other countries refuse to accept their citizens. Just fly them to a convenient airstrip, and kick them out of the plane." — Cullom (Albuquerque, NM)

"Let's see...did we ever get all our military guys from the prison camps during World War II? I don't think so. These people are not put in prison camps to have a good time. As long as there is fighting in Iraq, why should we turn them loose to have another go at us?" — Ellen (Jackson, MS)

"Yes, but I would tattoo them on the back of each hand before sending them back to their own country. That would make them easily identifiable to everyone they came in contact with and make them easier to track." — Tom

"I don't think Guantanamo Bay was created as a Holiday Inn South. If the detainees are not comfortable, too bad." — Tommy

"Definitely! Send them back to Afghanistan and let them be dealt with there." — Bud

"Close it. What good is it doing? It not doing us any good to hold them for years and years, and it's costing the taxpayers too much money for no return." — John (Mississippi)