It’s great to see Guantanamo Bay closing, but now what? We must decide whether suspected terrorists are considered prisoners of war or suspected criminals. Prisoners of war may be imprisoned during the war with no trials. Prisoners of war are thought to have fought for something their country valued. Do terrorists fit this definition?
Criminals have broken the law and have done immoral things, like murdering civilians. Our country asks that criminals be convicted using strict procedures and with strong evidence. This leaves lots of criminals walking the streets, but we don’t falsely convict very many people.
If we consider terrorists to be criminals, why be worried that we won’t convict them all? Think how many criminals are not convicted in our everyday life. We cope with murderers on the streets. Is it any different to try the suspected terrorists and let the unproven ones go free? It’s the American way.
Recently President Obama announced that he intends to close Guantanamo within one year. Immediately Sens. Kit Bond and Sam Brownback announced that they did not want to see any of the prisoners at Fort Leavenworth or in their districts.
Do they know something that the rest of us do not? Do these prisoners have special powers like flying over walls or walking through bars? Or do the senators not have confidence that our prisons are capable of keeping someone within their walls?
I am not certain of the decision to close Gitmo, although I think it has many merits. But I do have a problem with objecting to these prisoners being placed in some of our highest security prisons. Have some confidence in our penal system.
The Star’s editorial about the Guantanamo situation (1/24, Opinion, “No ideal solution for Gitmo detainees”) was sensible and constructive, though probably troublesome to the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) crowd, led by the Kansas senators. Of course, both senators supported the Gitmo enterprise every step of the way, until now.
One reasonable option would be to let the Gitmo operation follow its founders to Texas. There it would be convenient to the headquarters of Halliburton, Inc., which should be required to use a minuscule portion of its profits from the “war on terror” to build, operate and maintain the facility.
No, I’m not kidding.