Wednesday, June 3, 2009

JMO - Close Gitmo

I'm one of those 33% who favor and want the base at Guatanamo, Cuba, closed and the whole place returned to Cuba. We simply don't need it. We don't seem to understand terrorists are criminals, nothing more. They're not what the politicians try to convince us with their rhetoric about patriotism and nationalism. Terrorists are simply some of the worst types of criminals and should be treated as that.

No one in the Justice Department and Department of Defense wants to follow the normal procedures to prosecute suspected terrorists, yet it's exactly what the courts, including the Supreme Court has said should and must be done to ensure the law is followed and the defendants have their day in court with their rights. And that means transferring them to federal prisons, which already house some pretty violent criminals.

And that leads to closing Gitmo. It has no place or purpose in our society and country. It's not what we're about and it's not what we want the world to think we are, which is exactly what using it does, shows the world we don't care about the Geneva Convention Treaty, which we're a signatory, or International law, both of which we have claimed covers all Americans.

Just not those we want to call terrorists because we can. The reality is the vast majority of those at Gitmo aren't terrorists. Almost all weren't captured on the battle fields in Afghanistan or Iraq, and many aren't or weren't arrested or captured from either country. Many were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and were swept up and arrested. And then called terrorists.

We need to prove to the world we believe what our laws says, or else we're a sham to the world and a shame to ourselves. Even the experts have said the detainees can be housed in the US with the same level of security as Gitmo. But we like Gitmo because we can separate it from the rest of the criminals.

Yet, we've forgotten all the criminals who fit the same definition of terrorists are currently in federal prisons. But we've decided only Islamic individuals are terrorists. It's a political decision than a legal one, and one without merit or credibility. We all know what a terorists is and who's a terrorists. It's not a 14-year old kid who's spent a third of his life now (14-21) at Gitmo.

Before we keep Gitmo, the DOD and DOJ needs to prove to the American people the detainees at Gitmo are terrorists, in court, and in full public view with full public disclosure of the evidence. That's the law. For you and me, and for anyone arrested commiting acts against us. So what's the difference with them? Only being Muslim?

The US could do everyone a favor and improve our international relations by closing Gitmo. It's the right thing to do. After transferring the detainees to federal prison and putting them on trial in federal courts. Then we can not just tell the world we believe in justice, we can show we do and can practice justice.

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