Thursday, June 16


The Bush administration continues to feel the heat regarding the indefinite detention of terror suspects at Gitmo.

Defending holding them indefinitely, with no charges being filed and with no rights to legal representation, has proved a harder concept to embrace and defend, even for Bush loyalists. It appears to violate cherished bedrock American tenants of jurisprudence.

"The overwhelming majority of the people at Guantanamo Bay have never been charged with any wrongdoing, they have never appeared before any court of law. ... They may be held for as long as the president sees fit under any conditions the military may devise," said Joseph Margulies, a Minneapolis lawyer who represented Mamdouh Habib, an Egypt-born Australian citizen recently released from Guantanamo after being held for three years.
...Gonzales said, "We can't release them and have them go back to fight against America." He said terror suspects could be detained "for the duration of hostilities."

That first paragraph hits the nail on the head. Most Americans, though finding it distasteful, seem to be able to swallow the reported incidences of prisoner abuse, but abhor the idea of keeping someone locked up for years upon years with no charges filed against them and no access to legal recourse. But the argument that makes the least sense to me is the one I hear most regularly from the Republican leadership, Fox News and talk radio: that these are "dangerous terrorists" we simply can't let go to return and fight America again. If we're so sure these guys are terrorists, what's keeping us (the U.S.) from filing charges and proving our case? The fact that we don't makes many of us suspicious that we're reluctant to admit we've kept many innocents incarcerated this long so we continue to insist on keeping them incommunicado to avoid public embarrassment.

To suggest that we'll keep them until "the duration of hostilities" is outrageous. Does anyone seriously believe that Dubya is going to declare an end to his war on terra in the forseeable future? These people could be there for decades.


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