On Closing Gitmo


Barack Obama has made it abundantly clear: America does not torture. This means that he will issue an executive order closing down the prison at Guantanamo Bay very early in his administration. This will go a long way to begin restoring America’s moral credibility in the world. An executive order ending torture as an instrument for interrogating suspects will soon follow. This is significant, as the outgoing administration has now openly admitted its endorsement of the torture policy before it was actually applied.

For Bush and Cheney, Gitmo and torture were essential to preventing further terror attacks on US soil. Never mind that the American constitution is at issue and may have been violated. Never mind that this “ends justifies the means”-policy could be grounds for future prosecution before the courts. Never mind that these policies create further disdain for America and its ideals in many parts of the world.

Obama will come to Canada on his first foreign trip. Already, Canadian Senator Roméo Dallaire has called on the incoming president to release Omar Khadr from Gitmo. Should Obama agree to do so, it will send a powerful signal to his closest neighbor and best friend. It should be noted that Khadr, who has been held captive since the age of 15 and is now 22 years old, would still be tried for murder on Canadian soil .

Closing Gitmo is the right policy, but it should not end there. Respect for the constitution remains fundamental to the spirit and ideals of America. Bush and Cheney have acted in ways that brings into question their respect for the constitution they were sworn to uphold. It may be too late for impeachment, but someone must be held accountable. That too is part of living in a democracy.


On Closing Gitmo

  1. Impeach them. Not impeaching Nixon was in hindsight a mistake.

    • I hate to admit but these guys are saying they tortured. They lied about it . Congress must investigate and prosecute if necessary.Ideals are more important than personalities .They have set conservatism back a century .

  2. When Obama said he was going to close Gitmo immediately, he didn’t actually mean now. In fact, Obama is sounding a lot like Bush has for the past couple of years. They both want to close Gitmo if a process can found that doesn’t release terrorists into the US but so far they have been unable to come up with a solution.

    And a bunch Iranians held a public ceremony to burn Obama photo yesterday. Looks like project to restore US ‘moral credibility’ is proceeding nicely.

    • How about the recent report of a whole bunch of those already released went right back to psycho jihad land! = Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said 18 former detainees are confirmed as “returning to the fight” and 43 are suspected of having done in a report issued late in December by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

      • You can’t actually say that they went “back” to the fight, since it’s highly questionable that many of the detainees were ever involved in any “fight” before they were “captured” (which in some cases meant “sold” for bounty). Please forgive the excessive use of scare quotes.

        Frankly, every ex-detainee that doesn’t join some kind of militant anti-American stance is a (happy) surprise to me, regardless of his personal history.

      • Yeah, how ’bout that recent report? Should we consider it a little more closely?
        1. “…psycho jihad land!” Wayne, where is that, exactly? You don’t happen to have a map, do you? Personally, I have my doubts that it’s a real place, but in case I’m mistaken, you should remember for next time that proper nouns need to be capitalized.
        2. “Pentagon spokesman…” Good! You’ve chosen a source who is above reproach, with absolutely no reason to lie or otherwise shade the truth.
        3. “…returning to the fight/suspected of having done…” Okay, please try and remember that the only thing we know for sure about what they did to get arrested in the first place was to be vulnerable to it, ie, find themselves in a position close enough to the U.S. troops who were doing the arresting. Yes, some or all of them might have been “illegal combatants,” but maybe we should take a couple of quick sidebar questions – would you defend your country against foreign aggressors, and if you did, what about it would make you an “illegal combatant” to anyone but the aggressors, and how much authority should they be given to make that determination, all by themselves, with no definitive process?
        Fact is, some or all of those people might just as well have been making ill-timed trips for groceries or to visit sick relatives or otherwise minding their own business when they were detained, and then imprisoned and tortured for years. We don’t really have a clear idea of their guilt or innocence of anything, BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T RECEIVE TRIALS, DID THEY?
        So, Wayne, what if it was you on the receiving end of this treatment? Would you be wrong to want to return to your home and take up the fight after you were finally released? If it was your son or daughter or wife or good friend who received this sort of treatment and then “returned to the fight” as soon as they got the chance, who in this situation, in your opinion (such as it is), would be the “psycho jihadi(s)” – your loved one, or the foreign invaders?

    • you mean he didn’t get American credibility restored before he even took office jwl?…. man alive, what is he waiting for?


      • Bush is president at the moment and it’s his policies the Iranians were protesting but yet they burned an Obama photo.

        I don’t think US ‘moral credibility’ will ever be restored in the world, unless they make massive changes in foreign policy that even Obama isn’t contemplating, because American beliefs and policies are a threat to many nations.

        I saw that report, Wayne. The Americans can release terrorists back into their habitat all in the name of a fool’s errand of restoring credibility. What’s not to like?

        • It bothers me JWL that the ones they let go might accidentally or even on purpose blow up some of our people frankly America’s credilibility or lack thereof is irrelevant in point of fact so is Gitmo itself because the only other option to consider and might be a lot less complicated is = take no prisoners to begin with or if you do don’t tell anyone. Hey after all an occasional oops wrong person … what can you say life is precarious at best.

          • That’s what i’ve been wondering about. Why don’t Americans get credit for all the money and effort of feeding/housing their enemies. Most nations would have put a bullet into the backs of the these guys heads a long time ago but Americans get criticized for taking care of their enemies.

          • That’s partly true, I think, and bears repeating. I was living in France at the time of the 1995-1996 subway bombings, which were eventually traced back to a lone Algerian nationalist (I don’t remember if he was an Islamist, but probably he was, given the state of Algeria at the time). Well, the French police eventually tracked him down and essentially offed him, on-camera. No one particularly cared. I guess they’d figured out that he was operating alone.

            The other side of the US taking prisoners is, of course, their intelligence value. They didn’t take prisoners in Afghanistan only because their humanitarian. They wanted to interrogate them and, as it turns out, torture them for info on al-Qaeda. Most of these guys weren’t, it transpires, al-Qaeda at all: something like 90% of them were just random Muslim dudes, of which there are a lot in Afghanistan. So I think the US gets one cheer for not just shooting their enemies in the back of the neck.

          • jwl: “Most nations would have put a bullet into the backs of the these guys heads a long time ago but Americans get criticized for taking care of their enemies.”

            I mean, sure we arrested many of these people on the flimsiest shadow of evidence, held them for 6 years without due process, charges or access to a lawyer and we tortured many or all of them… but we’re totally more ethical than Pol Pot! Or Stalin? What about Stalin, he’d have just shot them!

            So I guess what I’m saying, rest of world, is where is our credit for being somewhat better than Pol Pot? You really should like us. Wait, where are you going?

    • And a bunch Iranians held a public ceremony to burn Obama photo yesterday.

      Again, you need to develop some perspective. I think you’ve come off the spool.

  3. “It should be noted that Khadr, who has been held captive since the age of 15 and is now 22 years old, would still be tried for murder on Canadian soil .”


    Says who?

    • I would assume that he would not be released as af ree man. Am I missing something ?

      • A criminal investigation by Canadian police. Charges. Witnesses. Resolution of jurisdictional and Charter problems. A decision that there is a reasonable prospect of conviction.

        A few small issues there.

  4. Is this so comlicated. If we [west] can’t even live up to our own ideals and conventions [ ie UN treaties] why bother having any at all. We continually lecture people all over the world, whlie in reality what we’re saying is: do as we say, not do as we do. Other cultures may lack our so called sophistication but that doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
    Gitmo should never have happened, it just undermined whatever creditability we ever had. Ultimately i don’t care if other sociaties or cultures don’t live up to our high ideals, i do care when we don’t. Secret trials, renditions and outright torture, what are we doing to ourselves and our cherished ideals/principles. I’m not so sure the ground Bush and his cronies so cavalierly ceded can be regained at all. Those guys lowered the bar for everyone, getting it back up there may not be so easily done.And if there is some thing out there that made all of this necessary, let’s hear the evidence. Stop with this national security crap, we’ve heard all before. It doesn’t wash anymore, show us the money or set the example and others will follow.