Sunday, June 05, 2005

I'M GLAD THAT SEN. BIDEN is saying that Guantanamo is a recruitment tool for terrorists and should be shut down. But he and his colleagues need to do more than say, "Those that we have reason to keep, keep. And those we don't, let go." None of the approximately 540 detainees at Guantanamo have been charged with a crime, have been shown any evidence against them, have been allowed to consult an attorney, have been told when they will be sent home. Many of these prisoners who supposedly have valuable information about terrorist activity have not seen an interrogator in months. And even those detainees who DO pose a risk to national security have the right to a fair trial and, if convicted, a specific sentence that has a beginning and an end.

Perhaps Biden did make this clear, and the Washington Post just didn't include everything he said. But if not, he needs to state unequivocally that each one of those Guantanamo detainees should be charged with a crime, should be given the right to retain an attorney, should be tried in federal court with the opportunity to confront their accusers and see the evidence against them, and should either be acquitted or convicted and then sentenced. And if the military cannot come up with evidence that meets legal standards, those cases should be thrown out of court and the detainees immediately released.

Only then will the Bush administration be able to claim, with even the slightest degree of justification, that the United States "spreads freedom and democracy all over the world."

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