• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Beyond Guantanamo

    Responding to news that President Barack Obama is issuing an executive order that will immediately suspend the military commission system at Guantanamo Bay and shut down the entire camp within a year, Vincent Warren, the executive Director for the leftist Center for Constitutional Rights told the Los Angeles Times, “It only took days to put these men in Guantanamo. It shouldn’t take a year to get them out.” Warren is dead wrong on so many levels. As President Obama has been increasingly more willing to acknowledge after the campaign, closing Guantanamo is “more difficult than I think a lot people realize.

    But the real issue goes way beyond Guantanamo Bay. As a candidate, President Obama promised to continue to track down, capture, or kill terrorists around the world. Unless he plans to kill all of them, this will necessarily entail holding additional detainees that will never be near Cuba. The real questions the Obama administration must answer are: When the U.S. captures a high value terrorist and, for whatever reason, cannot prosecute him, where will he be detained? Under what legal framework will he be detained? And how will all this work given the shifting legal landscape since 9/11?

    Groups like Warren’s CCR and the ACLU have long called for the detainees at Guantanamo to be released or prosecuted in criminal court. But these simplistic calls ignore real world realities. Trying some terrorists in federal court should be an option—and it is an option the Bush administration should have used more often — but it can not be the exclusive weapon in our arsenal for combating al Qaeda and other unprivileged belligerents. The rules of evidence in our civilian courts, particularly the hearsay rule, makes it next to impossible to introduce evidence for battlefield captures. Civilian trials would also run the risk of inadvertent disclosure of classified evidence, including valuable (and expensive) sources and methods of intelligence gathering.

    An otherwise excellent report by Human Rights First downplays these risks of civilian prosecutions but does go on to conclude that some detainees may properly be held under “the law of war for the duration of active hostilities to prevent them from returning to the field of battle, and without any effort by the government to file charges or impose punishment.” In other words, military detention has a place in this conflict.

    But our detention policy does need a few framework. If there is a question as to a detainee’s legal status, the detaining authority must hold a hearing, similar to an Article 5 hearing provided to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, at, or near, the time of capture. There should be robust judicial appellate review, and the detainee should be afforded qualified free appellate counsel. The basis for his detention should be reviewed periodically. Furthermore, military detention should also only be used for those detainees who cannot be safely prosecuted.

    Looking at the full challenge facing the Obama Administration, Heritage Senior Legal Fellow and deputy assistant Defense secretary for detainee affairs Cully Stimson advises:

    Guantanamo Bay is just a place, a place that has, admittedly, harmed our country’s reputation and whose benefits have come to be arguably outweighed by its costs. To be sure, the United States has gained valuable intelligence from some detainees at Guantanamo over the years and kept those very same detainees from killing or injuring our soldiers or allies in our ongoing conflict. That intelligence has helped us better understand and fight this enemy. But the value of that intelligence has diminished over time. More importantly, that intelligence and security has come at a high cost, morally, legally, security-wise, and diplomatically.

    The answer, far beyond closing Guantanamo, is to solve the broader challenge of holding accountable and incapacitating terrorists in a detention framework that is lawful, durable, and internationally acceptable.

    Quick Hits

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    27 Responses to Morning Bell: Beyond Guantanamo

    1. FredN, Texas says:

      You said:

      Trying some terrorists in federal court should be an option—and it is an option the Bush administration should have used more often…

      Wasn't this tried with Mousawi (may be thinking of the wrong person) and didn't this result in so many delays that he ended up taking time instead of being convicted.

      With the left on top for now, aren't they anxious to try to make these terrorists look "innocent" in the eyes of the world so they can try to heap praise on Obama and blame on Bush?

      These radical left wing groups have been getting a pass for far too long and need to be reigned in somehow. Shouldn't we be responding and leading with respect to the detainees? e.g., shouldn't we be constant in our resolve to neighbor these terrorists in areas where the left are the majority? Murtha said he'd gladly put them in a minimum security facility in Pa. Push an agenda that makes him put up or shut up. Ultimately, let them be responsible for their detention or release. This way, if something again happens (I'm afraid it will) then we can once and for all put a stop to this nonsense of the left.

    2. Barbara Malka, Hemet says:

      Thank you so much for these reports each morning. Also, thank you for representing people like me, true constitutional Americans and giving credence to our thoughts and principles.

      I am a typist and grammarian by trade, and have noticed quite a few typos in the last few Morning Bells. If it is possible and you need someone to proofread these documents before publishing them on the Web, my services are available. :-)

      You folks are incredibly articulate, and I don't want your message diminished by typing mistakes. :-)

      Thank you, again, for your hard work and faithfulness to our American heritage.

      Mrs. Barbara A. Malka

    3. len, Alexandria,KY says:

      Is anyone rteally THINKING in this new administration… Little things such cause and effect???

      Leaving Iraq too fast might rresult in….???

      Moving Terrorists into the Syates is this really " Change" or just asmoke screen for pandering to leftoids….????

      Is Murtha really that Bone Headed or am I missing something….???

      Are Geithner and Holder, two extremaly TAINTED inepts really the Best and the Brightest that this Country can produce….????as Schumer and Leftoids are attempting to sell to us…???

      Can we get some Real answers????

    4. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:

      HF – "According to a new report, even after Obama spends billion bringing high-speed Internet service to the entire nation, about one-third of Americans still couldn’t use it because of the expense."

      HUH????

      HOW can they "use" something they DON'T HAVE YET?

      The HF is AGAINST TRUTH, AND FACTS

      THAT IS WHY THEY READ

      AND DELETE MY STUFF.

      So YOU won't learn the TRUTH.

    5. fred kogut, melville says:

      Sensible.

    6. David Barth, Jupiter says:

      We know the problem, where is the solution? For those living in an intellectual bubble telling us what the problems are at Guantanamo they are clueless as to solutions. That is like saying there are problems with Democracy but it is the best we have. Guantanamo is the best we have so Obama better learn to live with it or pay a big political price, higher than his support on the Left that has nowhere else to go.

      How many POWs did the Marines take at Iwo Jima? When I was in the militiary I took no prisoners as I had to feed, cloth, shelter and wait for them to try an kill me. Only some goofy academic who never fought a war would or could understand the problem of dealing with prisoners. It would be excellent if we could limit these phonies to only write about what they personally experienced which would result in a lot of empty pages.

      So please quit wasting time telling us about the problems with Guantanamo or Democracy unless you have a better solution. You're wasting valuable time while filling white space.

    7. Gary Blake, Indianap says:

      I appreciate your mission and these daily updates, but have a bit of constructive criticism: Proof-read. There are quite a few typos, and when quoted accurately by the "opponents" we look ignorant.

    8. Lynda, Colorado Spri says:

      Darned if you. Darned if you don't. I understand why the prison was created, but do not agree with the way it has been handled, it was never a permanent solution. And the solution to the problem isn't as easy as shut it down and send them home. The solution is……there is no easy answer to a very complex problem. It will take time.

    9. Marnie Tunay says:

      Reply to David Barth re: "We know the problem, where is the solution?" Well, that's what Obama is working on for the next three months, isn't it?

      Re: " those living in an intellectual bubble" – were you referring to Cully Stimson? Because Mr. Stimson is a decorated war vet, as well as having been the chair of the commission that developed and implemented 492 recommendations in 2006 – 2007 to eradicate torture and abuses at GITMO – hardly the history of someone living in an intellectual bubble – and you're probably the first person to ever accuse him of it.

      Re: "We'd better learn to live with [GITMO]" – you are in the minority here, I think. Neither your new president, nor your Supreme Court, nor our highest courts here in Canada, nor even the prosecution at GITMO, seems to agree with you anymore.

      Re "goofy academics" – I'm sure this label too must be a new one for Mr. Stimson. I doubt it's going to stick to him.

      Re: "It would be excellent if we could limit these phonies to only write about what they personally experienced" – I'm assuming that by 'phony' you mean Mr. Stimson. Again, you might try doing a little research on an author at least, before you slam him.

      Marnie Tunay http://fakirscanada.spaces.live.com/default.aspx

    10. Keith, Warrensburg M says:

      The enemy has no rights of protection by our constitution.

      I agree with David. We should take no prisoners.

      This enemy hates us and will keep coming back for more American blood as long as they breath.

      I can tell you I would not be taken prisoner by them. I would rather die in battle, taking out as many of them in the process than to be taken prisoner thereby wasting my usefulness in the cause.

      Those who would afford these enemy combatants rights do so at the peril of our own innocents and grave risk to our fine military serving in harms way.

    11. Mary, Wisconsin. USA says:

      The prisoners were put in Gitmo for a good reason, and releasing them so they can continue their mission to kill us is as foolish as putting two border patrolmen in prison for protecting us from illegal drug smugglers! (Why would we honor the Mexican Government's wishes on keeping our border patrolmen in prison?)

      The terrorists think nothing of torturing our soldiers and killing us.

    12. Ozzy6900, CT (The Bl says:

      The Geneva Convention deals with uniformed solders ans also states that combatants not in uniform may be considered as spies. Well, most countries execute spies in wartime and seeing as how the Taliban and Al Qida do not wear a uniform, they SHOULD be treated as per the Geneva Convention – execute them as spies!

    13. Ed Zonio, Endwell, N says:

      Doesn't this confirm that most of the people who voted for this guy are brain dead morons easly brainwashed by the sheepleoples news, considering the first act as president is concern for the terrorists.

    14. Dave McDuffie, lagun says:

      To those of you whom have never carried a gun on the ground, in combat situations, basically in a fight to stay alive for at least one year, and risking YOUR life for the freedom of another country: The objective of any "just" war is to win it quickly and decisively and he who has the most rules, LOSES! I find it strikingly ridiculous that the world protests vehemently about GITMO, and turns a blind eye toward the thousands upon thousands of innocent people around the world murdered every day in the name of ALLAH! I fought in Vietnam, I have seen with my own eyes the cruelty of the enemy, and I will submit that any form of torture used on an enemy/terrorist to protect innocent people is OK with me! We have far too many Monday morning quarterbacks in the world who force us to make the wrong decisions. When the enemy's gun is held at your head, all of a sudden things change, and that change should be "the law of the land"! Reminds me of the dogood liberals like Joe Biden who tell us to take care of our neighbor, yet contribute NOTHING to any charity or church. Seems to me these days the entire world is nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. The election of Obama is just an indication we have more people standing in line for their handout than people wanting a job in the private sector. His socialist programs will create anarchy in the streets soon because Obama will kill completely the value of the dollar. Even as president he does not understand the power of a free market system nor does he get the fact THE GOVERNMENT HAS NO MONEY! The government just takes our money from us to basically throw it away on those who don't want to work for it. More hordes of illegals will descend upon us, we are already bankrupt in California because of them and Obama does not get it..we can not afford to support over 20million illegals!! The fact is, in Los Angeles county 40% of all earnings are paid in CASH! No deductions for taxes, fica, NOTHING! AND THAT IS JUST LA! No wonder this country is broke, spending itself into oblivion. The USSR obviously taught us nothing. Except the democrats in congress are stealing millions every year so they will have plenty of money when the real s… hits the fan. Apparently Obama thinks the US government is the place to rehabilitate crooks by giving them another job in his cabinet. When will we really decide to take back our country?

    15. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Please release the detainees at the sanctuary cities like San Francisco. They always seem to rile about the wickedness of Bush and all Americans that support our military. Heck, that city banned US military recruitment and ridiculed our uniformed personnel that guard our Constitution, what is left of it! Send a few to Mr. Victor Warren's neighborhood!

      The stupidity of granting our Constitutional rights to a bunch of people that are eager to strap a bomb and kill as many Americans as possible (post 9/11) is beyond comprehension. Another stupid argument is how much Gitmo has ruined our reputation. Who the hell cares! They are not going to love you the minute Gitmo is closed. Do you realize many of those released previously have been captured again trying to kill American soldiers?

      Sorry, the Geneva Convention does not apply since the captured enemy is not uniformed.

      Treating enemy combatants has been in place since the time of George Washington. US Constitution is for US citizens.

    16. theo levi, AZ says:

      Since when does the opinion of the "international community" that's afraid to put a dog in this fight matter one whit? Has anyone noticed what passes for legal punishments in states under the shrowd of sharia law? Forget what france has to whine about,tell the uk to sue us in their sharia courts..in a phrase: f.e.t.e!

    17. ella quinn kinsto says:

      I agree with dave mcduffie comments, great words.Torture on our enemies is alright.Lets stand up for america.When the enemey is out to destroy america people we cannot stand for this.

    18. Pingback: Guantanamo to Close Within a Year | THE WEEKLY POINT

    19. Marnie Tunay says:

      to Dave McDuffle re: "I will submit that any form of torture used on an enemy/terrorist to protect innocent people is OK with me!"

      "The ends justify the means" – this is the root of all temptation of humanity by its Enemy – Satan. It is the root of the saying that 'the road to hell is paved with 'good' intentions.'

      I find it utterly chilling how little humanity has learned from the fall of civilizations that adhered to the savagery of your idea, Mr. McDuffle. It is always lurking behind every strategy to dehumanize our human foes – that we may thereby do all kinds of inhumane acts to them, and finally killing them, all the while persuading ourselves that we are the humane and the good ones. Thereby did 'humanity' permit the slaughter of six million people in the Holocaust.

      The suggestion that evil may be requited in kind, that torture may be requited by torture, the suggestion that the human right not to be tortured may be applied selectively – is one of the devil's little jokes upon us – accepting it is a true act of selling one's soul to the devil – and the reality of the consequences is much more terrible than the movies. Marnie Tunay http://fakirscanada.googlepages.com

    20. ella quinn kinsto says:

      mARY IS RIGHT. DONOT RELEASE THE PRISONERS IN GITMO.tHEY WILL FIND A WAY TO HURT OR KILL US IF RELESED.

    21. JL, Tulsa says:

      I do agree with the closing of Gitmo.. should have been done right after the pics were released and the United States was embarrassed on the world stage. Show the world that we do not tolerate abuse of prisoners..

      Then I would have then quietly packed them up, moved them to some other undisclosed location and classified the entire program.

      The Bush admin mishandled this it appears that the Obama administration is going to make a bad thing worse. Making the program disappear would have been a much better solution than allowing it to remain a political lightning rod for years. Sad.

      Doing what it takes to protect America can be a dark bloody and thankless job.. not something most Americans acknowledge nor could they stomach. That's fine.. as long as they sleep soundly, as long as my family sleeps soundly, there are those of us who will fight the demons… and we will win.

    22. Dave Schraub, indian says:

      I think we are missing the big picture here, we captured these terrorist in combat, we took them away from the fight, we treated them better than there own leaders treated them, we cleaned them up, they have lived better in captivity than the caves they lived in, they were allowed to practice their religion every day, we saved these peoples lives. Bottom line is, if we had given them to the countries that wanted them, they would all be dead now, tortured to death. Simple solution; return them the countries that have no rules to keep prisoners, and don't care about the liberal and ACLU rules. Seems simple enough to me. I will finish with this thought, no matter if you like George Bush or not, he kept this country safe. So leave him alone!

    23. Gorio, Calilligalico says:

      When our lesders send the ambiguous message to the world that

      muslim terrorists may or may not be guilty of the murder of inocents even though they are captured on the battlefield in the act, it appears to validate their actions as moral acts. Why not clearify what the US legal definition of a terrorist is

      and make it crystal clear that those that follow certain sections of the Quran that instruct muslims to kill kifurs,jews, christians or other non-muslims are qualifying themselves for punishment under US law. Why is aggression in the name of Allah any different than any other dictator? If the gitmo detainees all proclaimed allegiance to hitler and we were fighting ww2 would we still have our moral uncertainties?

      Does the moral morass of gitmo just reflect the lack of moral

      clarity and the culture of victimhood so carefully nurtured in our own "americangitmo" where we are prisioners of eternal moral doubt. All hail our non-judgemental foo;ish leaders!!!

    24. Gorio, Calilligalico says:

      When our leaders send the ambiguous message to the world that

      muslim terrorists may or may not be guilty of the murder of inocents even though they are captured on the battlefield in the act, it appears to validate their actions as moral acts. Why not clearify what the US legal definition of a terrorist is

      and make it crystal clear that those that follow certain sections of the Quran that instruct muslims to kill kifurs,jews, christians or other non-muslims are qualifying themselves for punishment under US law. Why is aggression in the name of allah any different than any other dictator? If the gitmo detainees all proclaimed allegiance to hitler and we were fighting ww2 would we still have our moral uncertainties?

      Does the moral morass of gitmo just reflect the lack of moral

      clarity and the culture of victimhood so carefully nurtured in our own "american-gitmo" where we are prisioners of eternal moral doubt. All hail our non-judgemental foolish leaders!!!

    25. Kelly Rae, Fort Wort says:

      It is disturbing at best to know that with all the brilliant minds in Washington that they cannot discover a feasible way out of this economic mess. Why not start thinking outside the box? For example: start to tax our politicians (after all they are the ones who assure us this economic downfall will end),or vote themselves a pay cut, put more taxes on imports so our ecomomy is boosted from within, start charging people money to move into our country (like Australia does), lets start some Federal loan programs to get people out of debt(without the red tape). We are not in a position to be using our tax dollors to take in refugee's and put them in better living conditions than the millions of Americans who are homeless, living on the streets. Instead of wasting time and energy talking about it do SOMETHING.

    26. jo-anne kisiel says:

      well I terrified with his excutive orders in week almost next he will make an order that he is staying in office till he dies with the wife who hates America but graduated from Harvard un. Hannity is so right and Dr Savage wake up America Obama is not your friend and I don't get all the hype about a black/white person being president he fooled the country that is for sure read more on him and find out foryourself hi is the raceist using his black side if it was the orher way around he'd be white calling the blacks raceist do your homework America

    27. Don Stover Jr 5454 D says:

      When these terrorists placed in Guantanamo, And after we obtain information needed, Because they are Terrorist we should then EXECUTE them after we obtain all the usefull information, We can get from them.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×