Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bush & Rice “Love to Close” Gitmo

Dear President Bush,

I find it interesting that just months after saying government cannot love, the U.S. federal government can love after all! Both you and Sec. Rice said recently you would love to close Guantanamo Bay. OK, maybe you didn’t use the exact word love. You said "I would very much like" and Condi said "delighted", but the meaning is there. As compassionate people it breaks your heart to detain people indefinitely and it pains you that people wish each other such harm.

That compassion does not appear to run deep. Your administration is directly responsible for “enemy combatant” policies, legal limbo, harsh treatment, and brutal detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The other day you attempted to put responsibility on the Supreme Court for “the delay” in prisoners getting justice. It is convenient that those “activist judges” are nearby to serve as the scapegoat.

Sec. Rice asked what are we to do with prisoners at Guantanamo as this is “a dilemma”? We charge them with crimes, give them a trial, offer proof of their al-Qaeda associations, and trust the appropriate measure of justice will be applied.

The recent prisoner revolt at Gitmo proves the prisoners are dangerous in the same way randomized college students in the Stanford Prison experiment revolting proves American college kids are dangerous. A dehumanizing system produces predictable results.

What I find interesting is the timing and the larger scope of the attack. The U.S. knew the U.N. Committee Against Torture would be releasing its report the end of last week. Did they plan to manage the information such that the U.S. perspective would overshadow the expected U.N. criticism? Did guards let up a bit, allowing prisoners to hoard medications, to accumulate contraband, to store up feces and urine?

I find it interesting that “the most violent outbreak” in 4 years at Guantanamo Bay occurred the day before the U.N. report called for closing the facility. What is the statistical probability of that occurring? Wouldn’t the risk of a revolt be greater when the facility housed nearly 300 more prisoners, when those enemy combatants were fresher both physically and mentally?

Secretary Rice said the U.S. works nearly every day to return prisoners to their native lands. What she failed to mention is we don’t work every day to get that valuable 4 year old intelligence from the remaining 460 dangerous prisoners. Due to a shortage of translators only 25% of the prisoners are currently under interrogation.

Sec. Rice also failed to mention the U.S. record of correctly identifying dangerous persons. Chinese Muslims were found years ago of not having any association with al Qaeda, yet linger at the facility. She omitted America’s other well know error. A German citizen absconded by the CIA was taken to Afghanistan interrogated, tortured and abused.

The federal government has the responsibility to show its case, deliver the proof in a courtroom for anyone it detains. It has a duty to give those it mistreats their day in court, otherwise, it acts like the very dictators it eschews.

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