Now Here Is A Lovely Idea
That is Sure To Endear Us To The Rest Of The World
by James Glaser
June 11, 2009
This idea is sort of like killing two birds with one stone. President Obama wants to do something with our prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, but it is all kind of tricky. You see, we tortured these people, and now the President wants to put some of them on trial, at least the five we believe were in on the 9/11 attack.
However, If we put these five men on trial, all the icky stuff about torture is going to come out in a federal court room. President Obama just finished the blocking of the pictures of torture from our prisons in Iraq and Afghanistanpictures he had said he was going to release. So weeks, maybe months of testimony about torture might be even worse. A photo can show a lot, but words can let the imagination run wild. Plus the fact that evidence obtained through torture would probably be inadmissible. No evidence, no conviction.
Now, it would look bad if we put the five people we say we know helped plan and carry out the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on trial, but after years of incarceration we still had no evidence with which to convict them. We would look really bad. We have been holding some of these people for six or seven years now. You always hear us talking about the Rule of Law, but seven years of torture, incarcerated in a wire cage, and no contact with the outside world seems to be against the rules.
Well, leave it to our new President. He has come up with the idea that the five people he wants to put on trial could plead guilty. Then there would be no trial, and thus no testimony about torture. We could just execute these people, and be done with it.
Here is where the "two birds with one stone" comes into play. Obama wants to try these people, but he doesn't want to admit we tortured them. That is one "bird." The second "bird" according to the White House is that these five guys want to become martyrs.
So we put them on trial, they cop a guilty plea, we execute them, and they get the martyrdom they always wanted. Thus we kill two birds, or in this case, five prisoners, and Obama's Justice Department doesn't have to talk about torture. All of that with a guilty plea.
There is one flaw in this though. The world might just think that the years of torture, where we water-boarded these people six times or more a day for weeks on end, just might have driven them a bit insane. The world might think that these men no longer have the mental capacity to decide what they are doing.
Then Barack Obama's lovely idea could inspire another group of young Muslims to attack us again. This time in revenge for what we did to this group.
Barack Obama said he was going to change things in Washington, and he is. The man is filled with ideas, and that should scare you ... it does me.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press) and serves as policy advisor to the Future of Freedom Foundation. Visit his website at: www.andyworthington.co.uk.
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