I'm Right Again Dot Com

                             A new commentary every Wednesday — Aug 3, 2016


    The perfect place to keep those Terrorists.  For 12 years now, free from U.S. Law, where Islamist Terrorists can be secured—without access to other terrorist organizations, family and we pesky media people—and be interrogated.  A place that might appear at first sight from offshore to be a tropical vacation destination, has been since its inception in 2002, a nightmare for politicians, in particular, U.S. Presidents. If you insist on making a list, put Secretaries of State and Defense right up there at the top, along with Presidents Bush and Obama.      

    This prison, named Guantánamo, is on land leased from Cuba and financially supported to the tune of $445-million a year by the people of the United States of America. It is maintained on a Naval base while being almost completely ignored lately by everyone in government, the media and we the people, as if it had become totally toxic; the waste product of a giant, failing nuclear generator.

    Somehow, President Obama, who swore at least four years ago that he would close it completely, has succeeded in transferring 532 "detainees" (What other name would be appropriate?  How about prisoners of war?), elsewhere, some of whom have already sought out their old hangouts and former fellow/female suicide bombers  (13.5 percent of those already released from GITMO have reengaged in terrorism, according to the National Intelligence Agency).

    76 of the worst of the worst are still under our care and supervision, having failed to pass the wishful vetting process. I can imagine them dreaming constantly about just how they're going to load down the biggest truck possible with explosives and blow some mass gathering and themselves into oblivion. In a real sense, they are insane and certainly are a threat to others and themselves. It is common for them to threaten to kill guard personnel and their families, as well as any American they encounter, when and if they ever have the opportunity to do so.   

    There is no doubt in reasonable people's minds, more will need to be detained in the near future, as we become more and more engaged in stamping out the  ISIS/ISIL/ Islamic State cut-throats.

    Ah, you thought we were going to avoid the election for one week. No chance. Our research on this intractable matter led us to the two Presidential Nominees. Donald Trump said he would water-board them, and worse. I cannot but agree with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who said in his memoir, "Duty" that "Mistreatment of detainees is at odds with our traditions, culture and history."

  Let us be reminded that the words in our Constitution denying "cruel and unusual punishment," applies to every creature in God's Universe. On the other hand, the U.S. Supreme Court does not now currently deny the right of States to mete out the ultimate punishment for capital crimes.

  Hillary Clinton may have made up her mind about one aspect of the conundrum. In 2007, she co-sponsored legislation that would have allowed detainees to be taken to a facility in the United States, but a month later voted for an amendment intended to prevent such an action. (We agree emphatically with this change of mind). 

    Shortly after she became Secretary of State, she appointed Daniel Fried, a former Bush appointee to the State Department, "Special Envoy for Closure of Guantánamo." Before Envoy Fried was summarily moved to another post in our State Department, he persuaded 17 countries, including their places of birth, as well as Cape Verde, Ireland, Latvia and Spain to accept detainees upon their discharge from GITMO.  (Just so they are not in MY backyard!)

    For now at least, keeping a certain number if rabid prisoners locked up somewhere, perhaps for the rest of their lives, seem to be our only viable option. We would be hard put to suggest a better location that Guantánamo.   

   -Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken


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