February 1, 2010

A Public Rebuttal to John Cornyn

As part of a letter writing campaign organized by Amnesty International I sent an email to my Senators from Texas: John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. I've lost the original message sent to him, but the basics can be inferred from Cornyn's response (Hutchison is probably too busy running for Governor to read many constituant emails). Here are the key points of his response coupled with my own rebuttals:

CORNYN: Many of the enemy combatants being held in Guantanamo Bay—largely members or affiliates of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban—continue to pose a direct threat to the security of the United States. [...] In fact, dozens of terrorists previously released from Guantanamo Bay have already returned to the battlefield to fight against American and coalition forces.

ME: What does it take to be a member or affiliate of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban? These are not legitimate, official organizations; they are basically gangs made up of a few thousand people total. That being said, do you really believe that most of the inmates at Guantanamo are actually terrorists? The reason why groups like Amnesty International are upset about this prison is that it has been consistently shown that a large majority of the prisoners there have been put there for little to no reason, and have not helped Al-Qaeda or the Taliban at all. If "dozens" (more like one dozen, to be exact) of released inmates have gone on to join the insurgency, or Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, does this mean that ALL of the prisoners MUST stay in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, indefinitely? I suspect that this violates the Geneva Conventions.

CORNYN: For these reasons, I am gravely concerned by the current Administration’s efforts to transfer dozens of these terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to a state-run prison in Illinois.Unfortunately, this latest plan follows the emerging pattern from the current Administration, wherein critical decisions appear to be made more for the sake of political posturing rather than in the interests of our national security. This is unacceptable, and I strongly oppose any effort to close the detention facility at the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.

ME: For those who are accused of aiding Al-Qaeda to commit the 9/11 attacks, which was committed on U.S. soil, it is constitutionally mandatory that they be tried in the United States. This has nothing to do with political posturing; do you really think that transporting prisoners to the US is politically beneficial? It's the law, Senator! It is the Executive Branch's job to execute the law, and that is why some of the Guantanamo Prisoners must be brought here eventually. To call this political posturing a complete lie: it would be much easier and politically safer for Obama to take YOUR position on this. But guess what, Senator? Obama hasn't talked seriously about Guantanamo since he got into office; he is not bringing those prisoners here any time soon. Turns out you guys aren't so different after all.

CORNYN: Furthermore, all detainees at U.S. facilities are treated humanely and in accordance with our laws. I have visited Guantanamo Bay to observe the detention facility’s operations and the living conditions of detainees. Although neither Al-Qaeda nor Taliban detainees qualify under applicable legal authority for prisoner of war (POW) status, they have been treated humanely and are allowed many POW privileges—including the opportunity to worship, access to correspondence materials, and meals that adhere to Muslim dietary laws. I recognize the complex issues that arise as we work to balance individuals' rights and freedoms with the need to prosecute the Global War on Terror and protect the American people.

ME: To simply state that "all detainees are treated humanely" is to ignore piles and piles of proven instances where this has not been the case. Also, to say that you've visited the prison and that you saw nothing wrong going on does absolutely nothing to support your stance on this. Do you think that the guards are going to leave the prisoners outside in the sun for hours, deface the Koran, and waterboard people while a senator is visiting?

We can't just toss away all of our problems on some island and expect them to go away. If detainees cannot be proven guilty, they have to be let go. If they're accused of a crime on our soil, they have to be tried here. They CANNOT be tortured! Waterboarding is inhumane; if you want to ignore that so you can say that no laws are being broken in any of our facilities, why don't you let someone do that to you and see how humane it is? That is why Amnesty International is urging you to do something about this facility.
I urge you to re-examine what our laws and that of the Geneva Convention actually say, and not worry about what it takes to get re-elected in Texas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have tested it and writing form your personal experience or you find some information online?