All the fear mongering and brutal imagery of war and terrorism aren’t enough to overshadow the fact that this war is as much a plague on the national identity of America as terrorism itself and the government has hindered not helped nor made safer the public it claims it wants to safeguard. The recent statistics bear that out; with regards to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, only 15%………15% have withstood the habeas corpus guidelines and remained imprisoned…the remaining 85% have been set free, many times by George W. Bush appointed judges who followed the rule of law and not the whimsical desires of their mentor, a public figure drunk with power and image. So why do we settle for such inefficiency from our government? Why do we continue to insist the state pursue a course of action which yields only a bare minimum of results for the price we as a society have had to pay?
Even now we are still arguing whether the “enhanced interrogation” methods of the CIA yielded any actionable intelligence, trusting the word of a bygone administration that has continued to lie about its role in this phony war. All those on the right clamoring for a restoration of government, should also ask for a restoration of the Law and ask why is the government in times of economic difficulty spending countless amounts of money for enforcements that can’t stand the test of the law? Does the economic expenditure of a Guantanamo Bay which has perhaps even less than 15% of real terrorist inmates, worth the money it costs the US taxpayer at anytime, but especially now? Is this what we demand and expect from government, that they run on only 15% efficiency? Are the continued renditions of prisoner away from the scrutiny of an American judicial system we claim to love, honor, support and fight for worth the emotional, moral and financial price we pay for as a country? Do we still claim to assert that acts of violence against people we detained are not torture and therefore not illegal, when there are other indisputable acts of sound law enforcement and military training which yield better, more actionable results? Glenn Greenwald in a very good piece on the propensity of some in government to support torture mentions this rather eloquent quote from Thomas Paine which should be noted here.
An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
It doesn’t get much better than that.