Libertarian Opinion

Guantanamo Bay is Tainted by Coercion

Habeas Corpus: Born 1215 Died 2006 Banner At The Public Witness Against Torture Washington DC March 10, 2008

What Guantanamo fans don’t understand is that the torture, the “extraordinary renditions”, the failure to respect the Geneva Convention and the utter disregard for basic human rights tainted the Guantanamo Bay and secret CIA prisons worldwide. Justice needs to be done for the victims of terrorist attacks, says Marine prosecutor Major Jeff Groharing, but what about justice for those many detainees wrongly held? What about the torture, stress positions and other abominations inflicted on suspects – not even convicts, but just suspects! Justice is a two-way street.

Taking the Side of the Terrorists?

It’s not about taking the side of the detainees. It’s about doing what’s right. How can there be justice without due process? Just as a coerced confession is thrown out of court, so should the coercion at Guantanamo Bay and the secret CIA prisons render invalid any evidence gained through torture.

“To me it’s beyond comprehension that they would take the side of the terrorists,” said Peter Gadiel, whose son, James, was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. “Many of these people have been released and been right back killing, right back at their terrorist work again.” #

“I see no reason why we should delay these proceedings. Let justice be served,” said Jefferson Crowther, whose 24-year-old son, Welles, was killed in the Twin Towers after he saved the lives of several others. #

Obama’s Decision “Demeans” Victims’ Deaths?

Former Navy Commander Kirk Lippold, under whose watch the USS Cole was bombed in Yemeni port, thinks that President Obama’s decision to suspend military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay “demeans their [sailors’] deaths because we seem to be more concerned with the rights of detainees than we are with the justice that is being denied to my sailors that were killed.” #

Failure to Respect Rights of Accused Dishonors their Memory

But what were the USS Cole sailors doing out there in the first place? Why did they ostensibly join the Navy, if not to protect their country, including its ideals? In the USA we supposedly are innocent until proven guilty and have rights. Snatching unrelated people from faraway lands based on hearsay and a bounty, holding them for years and torturing them dishonors these sailors’ sacrifices. Why else did the sailors serve but to protect the very rights denied to the detainees? As Benjamin H. Friedman said, “The danger to American values comes more from our reaction to terrorism than the thing itself.”

First Step on the Right Path

Sure, there are still many questions to be answered. Where will the truly dangerous detainees go? What will be done with those who face persecution in their home countries? Is it a civil or military matter? But at least President Obama has taken the first step, a step towards righting this horrible wrong, this cancer, this disgrace on the American people. Make sure he keeps his promise and renders justice to these suspects, the sooner the better.

Photo credit: takomabibelot. Photo license.

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

2 replies on “Guantanamo Bay is Tainted by Coercion”

Its not as simple as whats right unfortunately. If that was the case both Clinton and Bush would have had to resigned for both of their massive failures that we now know is true. All the government documents show that there was ample opportunity to stop 10/12 and 9/11. Buts another story. The terrorists that murdered our son came dressed as friends, and even smiled and waved at the crew before they sat the bomb off. The terrorists that killed my friends son dressed as a civilian but helped to hijack a plane and then flew it into a building. In Vietnam we had “charlie who dresses as and acted like a local, but when a GIs back was turned they shot them dead. “Charlies” were killed when they caught back then. The same with “partisans” back in WWll andthe first war as well. Soldiers despise them worse than civilians. And now we have Americans who over joyed athat the terrorists may get off because of “you name the reson”. We pay cash for our lawyers. No liberals and ACLU pay our legal bills. We have to write and call our senators everyday because we have no humanrights group to lobby the politicians like the terrorists do, our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers were the real victims. But the terrorist supporters only scream about the rights of the terrorists, and forget the victims. Thats easy to do their dead. We have the information from different governments that show that people like al-Nashiri are guilty as sin and do not deserve te same privileges as soldiers who wear a uniform.
Thats what the oirginal genva convention was all about in the very begining. To punsih those who were to chicken to wear a uniform yet killed soldiers. So yes I do not understand people who sell out their own counrtymen for the lowlifes like al-Nashiri and Bin Laden his boss.

I’m sorry for your loss.

The US had no business being in any of those wars you mention.

I submit that it disrespects the memory of any American killed by terrorist action to torture suspects held for the crime that killed them.

The people that killed ~3,000 on 9/11 are all dead.

I’m not saying the detainees should all necessarily be freed, but I am saying that torture and other forms of coercion invalidate the whole operation. If you want justice, you don’t get it by torturing suspects for years first. That’s a new circle of hell and a kangaroo court, not justice.

Insisting that the US government act according to its own ideals is not selling out, it’s entirely the opposite. This torture operation is a black mark on the US government and I applaud any steps to make it right.

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