To the editor:
Wednesday, President Obama, as promised, ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. Sadly, but predictably, Thursday’s Journal-World editorial titled “Strange Priorities” questioned his decision, asking “How much important information … will be denied …?” The front page carried an article regarding Sen. Brownback’s opposition to Obama’s plans.
These complaints fly in the face of the known facts:
• Numerous experts have stated that very little “actionable intelligence” was obtained from Gitmo interrogations. Further, the detainees have been there for five years; any information they may have is obviously outdated.
• Many government officials have stated that the majority of people still held in Gitmo are not high value detainees (as was once claimed) but of low intelligence value and pose no threat to U.S. security. The large majority of detainees already released to Great Britain for example, were not held or tried by that country due to lack of any evidence that they were terrorists.
• In October of 2008, Army Lt. Col. Darrell Vandeveld resigned as a prosecutor at the Guantanamo Bay military commissions, citing he had “grave doubts” about the integrity of the system. Vandeveld was at least the fourth Gitmo prosecutor to resign on the same basis.
• World opinion is overwhelmingly against the U.S. on Gitmo; even our staunch ally in the war on terror, Great Britain, has repeatedly refused to endorse Guantanamo Bay.
It is long past time to close this sad chapter in our history and return to our values of “liberty and justice for all.”