Friday, January 23, 2009

Closing Gitmo ~ Restoring America's honor

Obama signed the Executive Order to close Guantanamo Bay Prison within one year.

Already the Conservatives pundits are going crazy with fear. What I find astonishing is that they think that Gitmo has kept Americans safe; when in reality, this very act was probably Al Qaeda's most powerful recruiting tool! They can advertise how unjust and hypocritical the United States is, and they would laugh and spit on our notion of Democracy.

According to the latest Gallup Poll, 45% of Americans do not believe that Guantanamo Bay should be closed. This was quite surprising and shocking to me. How can more Americans not see how morally wrong it is to torture. Can anyone,who professes to be a Christian, even say with a clear conscious that torture is acceptable?? How can Americans who profess that we feel so strongly about democracy and freedom, that we are willing to die for it, suddenly become so cowardly to say, we need to ignore human rights and that torture is acceptable because it will keep us safe.

As a society that upholds democratic ideals and principles, everyone should know that torture is wrong. You don't need a law to tell you that to commit such barbaric acts is not right. If that was the case, then why not castrate rapists and pedophiles? Yet we don't do this, because that is an act that is not reflective of a humane and just society. This idea that we can even attempt to tell the rest of the world, China included, to respect Human Rights, and push them toward a democractic model, while continually supporting torture and rendition, and ignoring Habeus Corpus is laughable.

The Habeas Corpus act of 1649 and its interpretation was clearly upheld and incorporated into our Constitution by the Founding Fathers. Furthermore, the Founding Fathers, when developing the Constitution, clearly put the focus and emphasis on individual freedoms, and checks and balances against the limitations of Government abuses. This is why during criminal trials, the burden of proof rests with the State, not the individual. This is why illegal search and seizures are not allowed.

George Bush created a nightmare when he created Guantanamo Bay Prison. He was on record for trying to close it, however, he was unable to accomplish it, simply due to the legal complexities, and the fact that because evidence obtained by torture taints the evidence.

I have no doubt that there are some very dangerous terrorists, at the same time, there is also a large probability that a majority are innocent people who have been illegally imprisoned. They have had no avenues for justice, nor have they been able to petition for release due to lack of evidence. However, by imprisoning and torturing them unjustly, we have now just made more enemies.

Let's remember that all the former Secretary of States went on record on the CNN Forum "The Next President: A World of Challenges":

AMANPOUR: General Powell, it's not just about like, is it? It's about being able to get things done. America is the strongest nation in the world. But a new intelligence report is going to tell the next president that America's dominance is not going to be as supreme as it was.

So what do you tell the next president about how to regain respect?

POWELL: I think we have to recognize that there are other nations in the world now whose economic strength is growing, and therefore their political influence is growing.

I don't know that we should be afraid of this or see that as a threat to us. Isn't this what we were working for all of these many decades? We wanted them to rise up and join the international economic community. And that is what is happening.

We're working multilaterally to solve the Iranian problem, the North Korean problem. We have worked with the world to increase funding for HIV-AIDS. We've doubled the amount of money we're putting into development assistance around the world.

So I think a case can be made that we can build on that strength. And the new president, with a different approach to things, and with a different attitude to the rest of the world, can reverse this.

SESNO: But how about some tangible things that the next administration, the next president can do to change policy or send a signal that will address these issues?

POWELL: Close Guantanamo.

ALBRIGHT: Close Guantanamo. I think...

BAKER: Close Guantanamo. We were on a panel together several months ago, and we all agreed, one of the best things that could happen would be to close Guantanamo, which is a very serious blot upon our reputation.
Military experts all agree that torture is not a reliable method for obtaining evidence. Unfortunately, most Americans watch too much TV, and have been fooled by the television "24", and the notion that by torturing someone, it will for sure get that critical piece of intelligence that will help defuse a bomb with 1 minute to spare!
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