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January 26, 2009

Closing of Gitmo

The implication in the headline “Could Fort Leavenworth become the new Gitmo?” (1/23, A-1) is both tragic and false. Guatanamo is not closing because it contains terrorists, but because it symbolizes the immoral and inhumane treatment they received there. The idea that the facility at Leavenworth would or could become a Gitmo is an oxymoron considering that such treatment is no longer to be.

Granted, an initial local defensive position is understandable, and there are huge inherent problems any location or facility must overcome. Yet as a Kansan, I am shamed if our response to this moral issue truly is as the article implied. America has been brought to its current critical point by the “me first” thinking of individuals and of communities and states. Our survival requires that such thinking cease.

If Leavenworth is our nation’s best option, let Kansas show the world that we are a capable leader in forgoing self-interest and in solving problems in order to make possible the moral treatment of prisoners.

Jan Owens
Roeland Park

Kansas finally has a big opportunity to be of material aid to the so-called “war on terror,” and what do our Republican senators do? They cowardly whine and complain about having dangerous terrorists in our backyards. The Republicans are the same people who supported President Bush’s misguided policies on Guatanamo Bay, including torture and kangaroo courts that have made its closure a necessity.

It’s time for the people of Kansas to do their part to clean up the messes made by Bush. After all, they have overwhelmingly supported those policies for the past eight years.

I have zero sympathy for the argument that Leavenworth is not the right place for these detainees. In fact, perhaps if they had been placed there originally, we could have avoided the stain on our history created by the torture and abuse of Guatanamo Bay.

Wendy Lund
Overland Park



No answers really? When it comes to sensing, what are my "preconceived notions" and how do you know them? I assume Obama meant something by "change" and "reconstructing America". What did he mean? Or were they just words and phrases to inspire but without any meaning?


Lloyd, what I think isn't the issue -- your ability to "sense" Obama's motives (and the odd correlation of that sense with your preconcieved notions) is what's on the table.


Disagreeing with President Obama does not mean that I dislike him. Fearing that his policies may be bad for America does not mean that I fear him. Your statement that I have a double standard because I do not criticize McCain re Gitmo is nonsense. That ball is not in McCain's court. How he would have proceeded is unknown. What's to criticize?


What do you think he means by "change" and into what do you think he means to "rebuild America"? And why do you think so? Or do you think these are just words meaning nothing so why worry?



I don't know how all the statements you made before and since the election can be taken for anything other than "dislike". Daily criticisms of a person seem to fit that word.

Fear, well I recall you saying you feared he was a Black Nationalist and I definitely recall your fear that he would attempt to turn this country to a socialist type gov't.

Please don't get me wrong, none of us know what is in store for us as a nation, and we are all holding our breath about the future. I think you'll agree that what happens is not going to be all of his responsibility, as the economy he inherited and other nations actions will shape his Presidency.

My point about McCain is that until reaching the Oval Office there were things as candidate and then President elect he would not have known about until days before the inauguration, and I'd bet that as recently as today there are still things "no one knew".

Benefit of the doubt. You keep saying it, lets give the guy the customary 100 days. You'll find I'll have things I criticize him for just as I did Mr Bush. The fact that I did not vote for Obama doesn't mean I'll start before he has a chance.


"I do not like what I sense to be his ideas for change and for remaking America."

I wish I too had ESP.


Please advise me as to how I could criticize McCain's plan or closing Gitmo when he has not presented one? Or admitted he did not have one? You are putting words in my mouth, about this as well as about me saying I fear Obama. What he might do or cause to be done, yes. Personally, no.


I do not dislike Obama and I have never said I do. He does seem to be personally a very likable man. I do not like what I sense to be his ideas for change and for remaking America. I do not fear him, I do fear that his policies may not be good for America. As to Jim's statements about records, records are important in deciding the final treatment of individual prisoners. But records have nothing to do with the physical problems concerning the closing of Gitmo. Based on the Executive Orders it is not apparent that any serious thought had been given to the physical problems at any time before the orders were issued.


The solution:



"since its Obama, whom you have said here you dislike and fear, its a different set of rules."

That's pretty much our Lloyd down to the bone. What hypocrisy.



I give up.

No one outside of President Bush and his associates knew what the gitmo situation was/is. Jim pointed that out plainly, unless a bias was blocking your view. Maybe you feel as if the situation was fine the way it was handled the past 6 years. The world says you are wrong. (Damn what the rest of the world thinks, right?)

No matter what you say to the contrary, you are going to be critical of our new President. Your reasons are your own.

What do you think John McCains plan would have been, not being privy to all the details of Gitmo. He also said he would close it if elected. You may feel that on some Bell curve he would have been more able to make such a complicated decision on what to do with such an enormous violation of the law, or that maybe because he was your guy you would have given him the benefit of the doubt, but since its Obama, whom you have said here you dislike and fear, its a different set of rules.

I hope for the best. You hope for the best....BUT.

Fundamental difference in the way we view the situation.


I don't see how your last two post have anything to do with my comments concerning President Obama's total lack of any idea as to how his Administration will proceed on the mater. As important as he apparently considered the matter I would have thought he would have evolved a general overall plan and a number of contingent ones.



Benefit of the doubt. You belong in a group you'd consider the evian if you think they have no idea how they'll proceed. Mr Bush was in complete control of the situation until one week ago today, and I'm pretty sure that Mr Obama is still learning things that were classified, as Jim mentioned in his post.

The US can not be a world leader if it does not respect the worlds laws and agreements.



The Obama Justice Department has found that their Bush Administration predecessors left the "detainee" records a mess. This includes records of who's there and why, what evidence, if any, there is against them, and where exactly they are with their cases. There are examples of records not being maintained and portions of "detainee" records being spread around without a reliable system to keep track of where they are.

How do you propose they quickly come up with a way to deal with the "detainees" with a situation like that?


In his executive orders he did not offer a plan or indicate that he had worked on one.


BTW, other than that last sentence you made a very good post. I had to comment because it was another case of "I'll judge him fairly....BUT"


"And I still think if you are going to talk passionately about doing something for two years or so you should at least have formed some ideas about how it is to be done."-Engineer

This falls into Pubs "flaming bag of poo" category. I don't believe it when you say he has no idea how to go about.

All I'll say is that I was very disappointed when GW came out and said he wasn't concerned with catching Bin Laden, after speaking passionately about it. Remember, double standards aren't fair.


I don't know the complete story on each detainee at Gitmo as some here would seem to feel they do. It would seem they could fall under several categories.
One category would be those taken under arms and not in uniform on a field of battle. In WWII such people could be subject to summary execution. But it would seem that there is nothing for which you can try them. On the other hand it would seem you have every right to detain them until the hostilities in the area in which they were captured are terminated. In this case, to justify their retention, it seems all you would have to do is establish that they were taken under arms on a battle field.
Another category would be terrorist operators apprehended by anti-terrorist activities which involved the use of operatives and secret information. To try such people in a civilian court would have a high potential for the exposure of operatives and the revelation of things known that terrorist organizations thought were unknown. The total minuses of trying such people in a civil court might be such that it would be better to release them. But this would not necessarily be to the best interest of this country.
Then of course there may be those who are there simply either because a personal enemy turned them in or some one turned them in on made up charges to get a reward. As many people have been released from Gitmo, I assume we have been working on releasing such people. It would appear that we have been rather lenient in these assessments as over 60 of those released have turned up either on battle fields or serving in terrorist organizations.
There are some people that would be released if we could find some place to which to release them.
And I still think that if you are going to talk passionately about doing something for two years or so you should have formed some ideas about how it is to be done.


Dan Beyer,

Sarcasm is supposed to be witty. I recognized what you were trying to say, but after your previous posts your attempt there fell short of wit in any form.

I would have thought the "beheading" remark to be the one to get a rise out of you. That's OK, thanks for playing.


CRD, I believe in the American can-do spirit, too, but there’s only so much that can be accomplished in a year. I’m doubtful that a year is enough time to build a hospital inside the prison so that terrorists don’t have to be transported through town. And placing Gitmo detainees at Ft. Leavenworth will require additional law enforcement officers and first responders in all jurisdictions. As it stands right now, it takes a year to hire and train a police officer to be ready to work with his field training officer. Dealing with terrorists would take additional training and exercise. I believe it takes at least that long to place a new EMS, and firefighters on the job. Most local jurisdictions have a hiring freeze right now, meaning there aren’t even any applicants in the pipeline.

Maybe a year would be enough time to prepare in case the terrorists’ buddies decide to make a statement where they could get a lot of attention, at say I-70 and 435. But I don’t think it’s the best use of the tremendous amount of money it would take, and I don’t think its right to put our citizens at risk that way.

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