Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Alberto Gonzales on Gitmo

Reuters is reporting today on the U.S. Attorney General's comments in a speech in London, defending the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.

We operate Guantánamo because there's a necessity, a need, for the United States to detain enemy combatants somewhere. That was the genesis of Guantánamo. This need continues today.
Yes, there is a need to detain enemy combatants. However, there is emphatically no need to detain enemy combatants in a legal no-man's-land. We are quite capable of detaining them on U.S. soil. If we aren't capable of detaining them here, then we have far worse problems than a few hundred terrorists.
We are aware of no other nation in history that has afforded such protection for enemy combatants.
BULLSHIT! First of all, many of the people detained at Guantánamo are not enemy combatants. This is the first time that there has been a large-scale long-term detention of suspected enemy combatants without proof that they are in fact enemy combatants. In most wars, the enemy combatants are easily identified by their enemy uniforms, or by their having been caught in the act. None of the detainees at Gitmo had a uniform, and very few of them were caught in any act of combat, sabotage, or espionage.
Some say that in pursuing the War on Terror, America has failed to respect human rights and the Rule of Law. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Nothing could be further from the Talking Points, but indeed it is abundantly clear that the United States has repeatedly and flagrantly violated both human rights and the rule of law, and Alberto Gonzales himself has led the charge on several occasions. Right now, Gonzales' credibility on the rule of law would have to improve substantially just to be on a par with John Gotti, Richard Nixon, or Jean-Claude Duvalier.
  • Indefinite detention without access to lawyers is not respecting human rights or the rule of law.

  • Torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib is certainly not respecting human rights or the rule of law.

  • Arguing that the United States is not bound by the provisions of the Geneva Convention is inarguably neither respecting human rights nor the rule of law.

  • Arguing that the President can take any action he deems necessary during wartime, without regard to the law or even the United States Constitution, is not on the same planet with respecting the rule of law. In fact, it is arguing that we are a nation ruled by Men, not by Laws.

  • Practices such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, mock executions, extraordinary rendition, and secret prisons, respect neither human rights nor the rule of law.
The abject disdain that Attorney General Gonzales and others in the Bush Administration have shown for human rights and the rule of law has done far more lasting harm to the United States than anything al Qaeda could ever dream of pulling off. Our government is our own worst enemy, our chief law-enforcement officer is a war criminal, and our commander in chief isn't even up to the challenge of a game of Battleship.

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