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27 May 2009


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You say "Now, we have the media encouraged phenomenon of the masses' inability to deal with the idea of prisoners charged, tried and imprisoned on our soil."

Are they going to be charged and tried? What about the ones who have been tortured? Will they see the light of day and finally appear before judges?

I'm not hearing any specifics coming out of the Obama administration, and the only person I've heard of who gives a damn about the Bill of Rights is Russ Feingold.

Will Sen. Feingold save America? That might be a lot to ask.


“And then there is the issue of the actual guilt or innocence of some of those now held without charge by the United States. “ I believe this is certainly a key value. It looks like 6 to 7 in favor of closure. Of course Mr. Collins is opposed. I find his bio on the Defense Link news Archive interesting, especially the part about addressing congressional inquiries on war crimes: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=28841

Perhaps Mr. Collins could tell us what the meaning of ‘is’ is, but apparently he doesn’t understand what he writes:
“… Gitmo shouldn't be a theme park, but it should be a showcase for the American creativity, AMERICAN VALUES (Emphasis mine), and commonsense security measures, fully compatible with the documents in our National Archives.” American values, as in accusation is NOT guilt. Right of Habeas Corpus and lets not forget that pledge we teach all those who need night lights: “and justice for all.”
Hopefully the new congress will be better than the old one, but since Mr. Collins references the Military Commissions Act, which my fine senator Stabenow has yet to fulfill her promise to amend, I don’t hold much hope.

On another legal note, could one of the lawyers reading your blog answer this:
Since Guantanamo Bay is only under lease, what would be the impact of the Cuban Government outlawing the holding of prisoners of any kind in facilities under lease from the Cuban Govt.? Would this give their government legal standing to order the prisoners removed from their soil? Could they order the removal regardless?


Col. Lang:

Re What to do about Guantanamo?

You’re spot on. Gitmo is indeed a national Rorschach test. Kitfield (the Nat’l Journal correspondent) asks, “What is the right path here?” as if somehow there is a compass rose of possibilities. I can only respond by saying that if you have to ask the question then you won’t understand the answer.

We get so caught up with fixing it and getting it right that we mull it over it again and again all the while dragging in others with the hope that the next newcomer might give us the answer that will relieve us of the burden of the problem.

As you so aptly point out, we should indeed just get on with it.



You said it all so well here:

This is behavior for children who need a night light.

Precious too few grown-ups to be found in our national discourse of late. Thanks for setting such a good example of "adult supervision". The country needs it.


Boumedienne, the Algerian former prisoner now living in France is a good person to remember. He, clearly, had done nothing wrong, but was imprisoned by us without charge for SEVEN YEARS. Neverheless, most Americans do not care...

Most Americans are frightened. But I posit that what they fear is their own government. Either the grotesque fear-mongering of their own government ("Axis of Evil") or just plain fear of the government (don't call me un-patriotic).

This is a horror show.

And beneath it all...what exactly was on bin Laden's mind when he bombed the World Trade Center?

I'll tell you what. Atrocities committed against the Palestinians that are continuing to this day. Bin Laden may be dead, but his motivation is as strong as ever.

Nancy K

I agree that America is a fearful nation, but I think this fear has been reinforced by the last administration as a way to control us. After 911 it amazed me that the most fearful people seemed to be those living in the middle of the country, surrounded by nothing but wheat fields.
I was in Westlake Ca,last week-end, an upscale suburb in S.Ca, having coffee an an outdoor cafe. At the next table were 3 women and 1 man, in their 60's, discussing all the guns they own and how dangerous it is. Westlake is one of the safest towns in the US. I think people love being afraid and feeling that someone is out to get them. That someone being anyone who is not like them. In this case, rich and white.

Charles I

Nancy's got it. Your politicians, and their electorate can only stridently and tremulously as the respective cases may be, cry NIMBY.

I mean, these . . . mortals, er caged whelp, are a threat to your way of life. Their piss is probably radioactive, poison everybody, God knows they know things(what's been done to them), safer out there outta sight etc in Cuba.

Lock em up at Leavenworth and shut tfu until the mills grind out convictions, acquittals and deportations, or their forcible rescue by rocket toting jihadis a la the Kandahar jail. In the Middle of Kansas, Toto!

Better for my harebrained novel/screenplay/History of the Apocalypse, (The Last Banana Peel, 3 vols; 4 if there is a God or other post-corporeal sentience) if they're on the mainland anyway.

There's just too many of them to simply deport to execution or disappearance. Too much at risk to your nation's psyche and standing to let it fester. Best of a bad choice, apparently politically untenable. Not as good sign.

William P. Fitzgerald III

Pat Lang,

Your N.J. analysis and those of the majority of the other contributors are rational and realistic. I don't have anything to add except that I've been musing about the prisoner. or detainee, (euphemisms from the GWOT and the Iraq and Afghan Wars have been extrordinarily plentiful) who was to have been the first to be tried by a military tribunal. He's an Afghan and the charge was that he threw a hand grenade which killed an American soldier. I've always been under the impression that throwing grenades at the enemy is proper, even required, behavior. Its just one case but it seems to demonstrate awkward and, sometimes weird, goings on in the "terrorism" proceedings.

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