Designed after 9/11 to house and put on trial those captured in the global war on terrorism, the detainee camp at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay has taken on a life and significance of its own. With many of the inmates having been incarcerated more than six years and an upcoming presidential election, questions abound as to both the future of the camp as well as that of the approximately 270 (as of 1 June 2008) detainees.
The camp was opened in January 2002 to imprison what former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called "the most dangerous, best-trained vicious killers on the face of the earth."1 Since the first detainees arrived that January, some 900 men (and some teens) have been shipped from Afghanistan and other countries to the camp. While most of the detainees have been Afghans caught up in the 2001 fighting against the Taliban, other nationalities captured and imprisoned included Yemeni, Algerian, Saudi Arabian, Chinese (Uighars), as well as Canadian, British, and Australian.