17 February 2006

UN Report Calls It As It Is: Guantánamo Is Illegal

It would be easy as a conservative to deride the UN report on Guantánamo Bay as a piece of irrelevant foreign politicking. In a sense, it is, of course. The United Nations have no jurisdiction over the United States, and considering that the opinions in the report were reached without a visit to the prison facilities at Guantánamo, one might well wonder whether anyone should take notice of it at all. Also, the UN are rapidly becoming merely the international arm of the Democratic Party.

That, I say, would be easy. It would also be very unhelpful. Sadly, reputable conservative magazines like National Review have taken the stance that Guantánamo is a perfectly sane place. Deroy Murdock, in a contribution in the online version of the magazine, argued, in his opening sentence, no less:

“As a new United Nations Human Rights Commission report demands the closure of
the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, President Bush should
go in the exact opposite direction and announce a brand-new policy: None of Camp
Delta’s 490 enemy combatants shall be released until America wins the War on
Terror. ”

I must strenuously disagree. The prison facility at Guantánamo Bay is illegal, at least the way it is currently run. I take no position on the question whether prisoners are actively tortured there. However, I do vehemently oppose the very existence of this facility. Since Guantánamo Bay is considered foreign soil, the government can claim that US law does not apply and that, therefore, prisoners there do not have any rights.

Since this is the same type of reasoning that is applied to human fetuses by the liberal loonies of the country, it is eyebrow-raising, to say the least, that a Republican government can consider some humans to be ill-qualified to be treated fairly. If the phrase “equality under the law” is to mean anything, the government should allow detainees at Guantánamo access to judicial review of their case. I reiterate the position I have taken before, that some secrecy rules may be imposed, in the interest of national security. But a basic right to challenge one’s detention is an absolute must. There can be no compromise on this. US policy as it stands now is in violation of the Constitution, not to mention general (Judaeo-Christian) morality.

Whether the US close Guantánamo is not relevant; what matters is equality under the law. As long as the Bush government continues to hide behind “commander-in-chief authority” to deprive a whole class of people indiscriminately of basic human rights, the rule of law is impaired. Conservative or not, I must protest.

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