Wednesday, June 22, 2005


U.S. Out of Guantanamo

From SojoMail, the ezine of Sojourners: Guantanamo Bay has become not only a symbol of the U.S. government's hypocrisy and dishonesty...around the war on terror. The prison camp has become one of the more egregious examples of the cost of unaccountable power.... Guantanamo should be closed. But simply closing the facility - and either moving the detainees to another location or returning them to their country of origin - is not enough. If the United States is to regain any credibility as an advocate of human rights around the world, it must begin to practice what it preaches in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo, and everywhere else. The erosion of respect for human rights by U.S. personnel didn't begin at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay, and the responsibility for it goes all the way to the top ("Guantanamo and human rights: Practicing what we preach").

But closing the prison camp at Guantanamo doesn't go far enough either. What right does the United States have to occupy that land in the first place? There's only one rationale: the right of empire. The concept is so 19th century -- and yet the neo-cons have turned it almost into their religion. The might-makes-right mentality allowed the United States, as many other colonizers before, to capture lands around the world, including the tip of Cuba. Here's a 21st century concept: Give it back. Of course, that's not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. Truth of the matter is, it would be the right thing to do. But we can't handle the truth. (Okay, that was a stretch, but I couldn't resist the reference.)

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