I've been rather ill for a few days, but have been getting better. Today it's been variable - ups and downs. I'm currently in an 'up' and decided to catch up on the world. I stumbled upon this article which contains the lovely quote:
We have become overly focused on the fairness of what the government does to terrorists than the danger of what terrorists might do to us.
Hmm, rather missing the point of due process there. These people, as guilty as they may ultimately be, are still suspects - they have not been shown to be guilty. They have been locked up with the key thrown away without any recourse to law as we know it.
The article also says:
The government ought to conduct a triage and determine which detainees present no serious threat or are innocent of any charge
Yep. That's going to happen. 'Sorry we locked you up for more than seven years without trial, you're totally innocent, off you go'.
For the US Government, that's a massive lawsuit waiting to happen.
No, what'll happen is that people will be released in a drip-like fashion in such a way that the stain on their record isn't removed - but just that there was 'insufficient evidence to charge'. They'd be released on the understanding that their home countries monitor them, or take responsibility for them.
I'd be amazed if any of them ever got through US customs once released as a true innocent would (though I'd be even more amazed if they wanted to). In this way the US can save face: "We know they're bad'uns" without ever having to test that accusation with evidence.
I am not suggesting for one minute that everyone in Guantanamo is innocent. Just as I'd hope that those with the "hang 'em high" tendency would admit that not everyone in there is guilty just because they're in there.
What I'm saying, and what the article is saying, is that whilst I don't think the US will start putting its house in order anytime soon(*) natural justice demands that it does - that it takes the risks of lawsuits for wrongful incarcerations and undertakes due process. If it did wrong, as I'm sure it knows it has, then it needs to be a nice grown up superpower and put things right.
If the US is serious about reducing terrorism in the future, Guantanamo Bay should go, it's a clarion call for Al Qaeda - just as internment was for the IRA.
(*) (though Bush could conceivably do this over the summer if it looks like a democrat might have to deal with the aftermath - cynical, moi?)