Columnist misses on GITMO
To the Editor:
In her article "Closing Guantanamo," Mrs. Murray made the following points, among others: 1. Closing Guantanamo is long past due. 2. We are not abiding by the Geneva conventions by placing the detainees in GITMO. 3. Our troops, if captured, would be better treated if we were to close GITMO and move these detainees to U.S. Soil. 4. The Republicans, all by their lonesome, have enough power and are exerting that power to keep the president from closing GITMO. Let's take these one at a time.
If this is a move that is long past due, when should we have closed it and where would we have put the detainees? If Mrs. Murray is correct and the "administration’s paramount concern is the safety of the American People" and not how the administration is viewed politically at home or by those abroad that are willing to clamor for the closing of GITMO without offering to take any of the prisoners off of our hands, then why not leave GITMO open? Name a place inside of the U.S. that is more safe than the 200 Million dollar facility in which they are currently being contained, successfully I might add. Kansas? Why is Kansas more safe? Are the terrorists that may attempt to make a statement by raiding the facility or committing terrorist acts in the town of Leavenworth afraid of corn? Will the new detainee facility, which will probably cost another 200 Million to build, be surrounded by pig farms? That should do it. I would prefer the detainees be surrounded by Marines on an Island on which they can see a threat coming from a mile away. If the English, Germans, Kuwaitis or Saudis have problem with it, then let them be the first one's in the world to offer to take some of the detainees that will not be released.
Her assertion that the US is not abiding by the Geneva Conventions would
not seem to be accurate. The Geneva Conventions do not pertain to the detainees for the following reasons: They do not abide by the necessary requirements of Article 4, Section 2, subsections b,c&d. No (b) fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance (read uniforms and insignia), (c) carrying of arms openly, (read no suicide bombs) or (d) conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. Unless of course torturing and hanging the burnt bodies of contractors from a bridge overpass are new techniques in the Army Field Manual, I think not. As far as how our troops are treated in enemy hands, GITMO has nothing to do with it.
We could give every detainee section 8 housing, a monthly stipend and a bus pass and somehow I don't think Achmed the terrorist is going to decide not to cut off the head of Danny Pearl. Maybe it's me.
Finally, Republicans are keeping the president from closing GITMO. Actually according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev), "Democrats under no circumstances will move forward without a comprehensive, responsible plan from the president." He added, "We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States." (Washington Post 5/20/2009)
So Democrats, how about concentrating on doing something productive and find a place to put these detainees.
Then again, for now, since they are at GITMO, and we are safe, as we have been since 9/11/2001, I guess Mrs. Murray is correct; I really don't give a damn.
Printed in the May 28, 2009 Edition.