It takes a strong stomach and clothes pin on your nose to say out loud, “I am proud to be an American with a President like George W Bush”. With over 300 prisoners housed at Guantanamo and no prospect on what their fates will be, George and his boss, Dick Cheney, are getting ready to leave a gift for the next Administration that will keep on giving.
1. There is no precedent in American history for detaining prisoners this long without charges and without some type of review process. American history has a foundation of due process and habeas corpus, but maybe C+ students at Yale do not learn that.
2. The War Crimes trials that followed WWII were open and the evidence was presented for all to see. Prisoners were accorded the full protection of the Geneva Convention (the 1929 version). The Guantanamo prisoners have been denied representation and any evidence the Military (read Bush Administration) choses to call classified. The Military Commissions are a shame and unworthy of America.
3. The nation’s top Chicken Hawks, George W Bush and Dick Cheney are wonderful examples of personal bravery. Bush joined the National Guard and when it looked like his unit might be deployed to Vietnam, he suddenly refused to take his flight physical and was not able to deploy with his unit. Cheney used 5 separate deferments to avoid military service and any exposure to Vietnam. But both of these tough guys think waterboarding and other forms of extreme interrogation are appropriate and desirable.
President Bush has said “the US does not torture”. It seems this pledge hangs on the definition of torture. Early in the Bush Administration, torture was defined as pain akin to organ failure. This was later repudiated by the Justice Department. But our “ends justify the means” President is not easily deterred. He is ok with “cruel treatment” that stops short of torture (without defining). Is this the America you are proud of?
Instead of giving out pardons at the end of his term (like to Scooter Libby and other patriots), Bush should free all the Guantanamo prisoners. If that is not acceptable or considered too high a risk, then they should be moved to the US and brought before US Courts. All evidence should be in the open and those who are really the bad of the bad, should be dealt appropriate punishment. For those where charges can not be brought or where the Court throws out the charges, they should be sent back to their home countries. Once accomplished, a new day will dawn in America and we can once again say we are a land of laws and respect for the dignity of others.