Friday, January 11, 2008

The prison at Guantanamo Bay: Our national disgrace

Maybe I haven't yet had enough coffee this morning. Maybe I'm just tired. But as I'm reading the newspapers today, I'm feeling ... a bit emotional. I feel as if I might...get a little misty. Not in a blubbery sort of way. No woman should ever do that! But I feel as if I might shed a few tears.

Six years ago today, the first shackled prisoners captured on the fields of Afghanistan were shuffled to Guantanamo. ACLU executive director Anthony Romero has some powerful words on the subject in today's
Make no mistake: There were, and are, innocent people imprisoned at Guantánamo. Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, who was Guantánamo's commander for several years, candidly acknowledged in the Wall Street Journal: "Sometimes, we just didn't get the right folks." And we now know that only a small percentage of the many hundreds of men and boys who have been held at Guantánamo were captured on a battlefield fighting against Americans; far more were sold into captivity by tribal warlords for substantial bounties.

But the appalling fact that innocent men have been imprisoned and abused at Guantánamo is not the only reason why its closure is of such urgent importance. The most profound and enduring stain of Guantánamo is its corrosive effect on America's reputation and standing, and on respect for the rule of law worldwide.

Now, I know I can't cry without coming across as either a weak and ineffective writer or a cold calculated ice queen merely using the topic of tears as a writing device to segue into different topics.

But if Gitmo's ongoing human rights' atrocity isn't moving enough, perhaps you men can weep in frustration at this article in today's Washington Post. (Us women will just stuff down our emotions by eating cookies.)

As you know, our government believes it is of vital importance to this nation's safety to turn our telecommunications industry into a vast, and outside the law, spy agency. But what apparently the government finds less vital to the war on terror is paying its phone bills on time. So the companies sometimes have to cut off these vital wire taps.

A report by the Justice Department Inspector General found that "late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence."

Lauri in York

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