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Friday, June 17, 2005

Policies already transparent

Donald Rumsfeld has written a USATODAY op-ed about Guantanamo Bay:

The real problem is not Guantanamo Bay. The problem is that, to a large extent, we are in unexplored territory with this unconventional and complex struggle against extremism. Traditional doctrines covering criminals and military prisoners do not apply well enough. It is important to remember that the purpose of detaining these enemy combatants is not to punish them for committing a crime, but to gain intelligence about terrorist operations and to prevent them from attacking again. We have gained intelligence at Guantanamo that have stopped terror attacks and saved American lives.
I agree with him that we are in unexplored territory here. I am not totally satisfied with the administation's present answers to dealing with this territory, although I am not sure what a better solution is. A big problem though is that so many of those who disapprove of Guantanamo keep insisting, despite the obvious facts, that either traditional law enforcement or traditional POW rules should guide us. Frankly, this is an unserious response to the challenges we face dealing with non-state terrorist organizations. Their claims shed more heat than light, and obstruct rather than help the conversation. It is also frankly unbecoming to claim with one breath that Gitmo is 'hurting the U.S. image' and with the next that it is like a Gulag or a Nazi concentration camp. If the U.S. image is a prime concern of these people, than overblown, and demonstably inaccurate analogies obviously don't help that cause. These are serious and important issues, and deserve to be treated in a serious manner. Political grandstanding and overblown rhetoric do our nation a disservice. Update: Smash has similar thoughts.


Blogger The probligo said...

Interesting -


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Halliburton Co. (HAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) unit will build a new $30 million (16.5 million pound) detention facility and security fence at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States is holding about 520 foreign terrorism suspects, the Defense Department announced on Thursday.

The announcement comes the same week that Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the jail after U.S. lawmakers said it had created an image problem for the United States

6/17/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Katinula said...

I also agree with Rummy (I can't believe I just said those words) that we are in 'unexplored territory'. That is a much more sober and serious response than seeming to say 'we know what we're doing, now leave us alone!'. I think it would be important and useful for countries to come together and put together agreed upon rules to combat terrorism and its suspects, with the US in a big role. But to say that we aren't punishing them for having committed a crime, but to gain intelligence and prevent them from committing a crime is a reach I think. The US would not like it if one of our citizens were held without committing a crime. Also, since three years have passed on some of these people, the idea that they may have some current intelligence is a bit shaky.
Rummy you'd be my new hero if you said 'we're reveiewing policies on how to treat these suspects with an eye towards creating a new world policy when it comes to preventing terrorism and interrogating terrorist suspects'.

6/17/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

As I said, I am not totally happy with the Adminstrations response.

The unseriousness of most of the opposition to these policies though makes it unlikely that they will see a need to change them.

This is one reason I explored the option, and will explore again in 2008, of the desirability of a Democratic Presidential win. The Democratic Party needs to get serious on this issue, we can't have only half the country engaged in this conflict. John Kerry wasn't the man for this though (at least in my opinion.) Hillary may well be able to deal with this seriously however.

6/17/2005 02:08:00 PM  

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