U.s. Interests Are Imprisoned By Guantanamo

by Wendy Mitchell - Date: 2007-06-18 - Word Count: 423 Share This!

As a Vietnam veteran with 26 years in uniform, I have no sympathy for terrorists. But I am dismayed by what I believe is a policy that subverts international and domestic law.

I'm referring to holding prisoners at Guantanamo. I believe it is counterproductive to America's image and interests.

After five years and many millions of dollars spent, we have yet to complete a single trial. In 2006, the Supreme Court invalidated prior Guantanamo military commission procedures and ordered trials that afforded "judicial guarantees…recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

The basic objections to Guantanamo are well known: Individuals have been held more than five years without charges, in a location selected to keep prisoners beyond the reach of U.S. judicial protections. The prisoners have been denied unhindered access to counsel and some prisoners subjected to what the President has euphemistically referred to as "alternative" interrogation procedures.

When it suits Guantanamo needs, prisoners are discussed as if they were POWs, not normally entitled to access to U.S. courts. At other times, they're described as terrorists, held for trials referred to as military commissions.

Congress has responded with the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which, besides denying prisoners' rights to habeas corpus protection, allows Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs) to determine a prisoner's status.

CSRTs allow secret evidence unseen by the prisoner, who is not allowed a lawyer; they allow evidence gained through coercive interrogation; and allow repeat hearings if the desired outcome is not obtained the first time around.

None of this addresses allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment at Guantanamo. After five years, the United States still has not provided trials to the detainees-including those who are citizens of U.S. allies such as Canada, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Rather than continue to detain these men indefinitely, under questionable law, the United States should consider returning them to their home countries where they would have access to their own judicial systems. If tried, found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment, they could serve their sentences in their home country.

Guantanamo is sapping our nation's moral authority, inspiring terrorist recruitment overseas and belying our claim of respect for law. It should have been closed a long time ago.

Prof. Solis is a 2007 Scholar in Residence at the Law Library of the Library of Congress, a retired West Point professor of law, and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. He is a retired Marine who served twice in Vietnam as an armor officer. He has also served as a Marine judge advocate and military judge.


Related Tags: us interests are imprisoned by guantanamo

Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: