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In response to Olin Potter's well-reasoned "My View" argument urging caution before closing Gitmo, Robin Lehman presents nothing but specious arguments while simultaneously asserting that, "Mr Potter continues to propagate the failed policy of fear and misinformation of the right wing of the Republican Party...." After rereading Mr. Potter's piece several times, I still cannot find anything that propagates a policy of "fear or misinformation." Rather than any facts to support his unstated but presumed position that Gitmo should be closed immediately if not sooner, Lehman asserts that, "Our use of torture at Guantanamo Bay is one of Al Queda's best recruiting tools", and that "The prison at Guantanomo Bay is a moral and practical disaster for the United States...."
Firstly, I am not aware of torture at Gitmo; perhaps Lehman can point
me to the evidence for such an accusation? Is he referring to the
fabricated "Koran down the toilet" incident? The Sesame Street, Barney,
and other music blasting 24/7? Perhaps he is referring to the 2002-2003
waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, and of
two other leaders of Al Queda during the period 2002-2003, during which
period there was a high level of concern among those directly
responsible for our national security that another catastrophic attack
similar to 9/11 was imminent. Without arguing whether waterboarding was
or was not "illegal" during that period and under those circumstances,
it has not been used since 2003, and was officially discontinued by
directive by the U.S. Army in 2005 and the CIA in 2006. I frankly
cannot believe that either the music or the three instances of
waterboarding would serve as "one of Al Queda's best recruiting tools,"
but I do acknowledge that the totally fabricated "Koran down the
toilet" incident could be profitably exploited (as the resultant
worldwide murderous rioting would indicate).
The reality is that Al Queda's most effective recruiting tools (as documented by captured documents and videos) were (and still are) the very existence of Jews, Christians and other "non-believers"; the success of Al Queda's 9/11 attack ("first battle of the global jihad"); and our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The beheading of Daniel Pearl was undoubtedly also an excellent recruiting tool.
"The prison itself is a moral disaster for the United States," asserts Lehman. How so, and in whose opinion? In the opinion of the Arabs who cheered the deaths of 3,000 Americans on 9/11? In the opinion of our cynical and disingenuous erstwhile European "allies" who have been looking for America to be taken down a few notches ever since we won the cold war?; or perhaps in the opinion of our moral relativist citizens in the U.S. who believe that the U.S. lacks an appreciation for the jihadists' plight, and that our military response has been "disproportionate"; or as Lehman might put it, overly "militaristic." The only true "moral disaster" would be to close Gitmo, thereby undermining the security of our citizens and allowing these unlawful combatants to potentially wreak murderous havoc upon the innocent, as they were doing prior to their capture.
Regarding Lehman's evocative comment that, "It is time to move away from fear and militarism"; permit me to suggest that Mr. Neville Chamberlain said it even more eloquently: "We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and goodwill...."
Marc Lanser lives in Fayston