The Disturbing Op-Ed In Today’s New York Times

I was surprised this morning to open my copy of the Times and find an op-ed from Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel. He is a Yemeni citizen and prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. His story was told to his attorney through an Arabic translator. It is, to say the least, disturbing, but deserves to be read.

Do I know if what Moqbel is saying is true? I do not.

I do know our government uses Guantanamo Bay as a loophole to circumvent US law and constitutional protections.

After Bush political appointees at the US Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice advised the Bush administration that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp could be considered outside U.S. legal jurisdiction, military guards took the first twenty captives to Guantanamo on January 11, 2002. The Bush administration asserted that detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Ensuing U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 2004 have determined otherwise and that the courts have jurisdiction: it ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld on June 29, 2006, that detainees were entitled to the minimal protections listed under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions – Wikipedia

Mr. Moqbel claims, “I’ve been detained at Guantanamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.”

Again, I don’t know if that specifically is true, but it matches many reports I’ve read over the years.

Where is habeas corpus? Where is the defendant’s right to be charged and tried? Isn’t habeas corpus fundamental to what this great nation stands for?

The Bush administration got us into this, but the Obama administration continues it. Neither gets a pass.

I don’t wish to see enemy combatants go free. At the same time I don’t want innocent men held just because we’ve screwed up–and screw up we have.

There are moments in our country’s history I am not proud of.