by Susan Stamper Brown
During a recent speech at the American Constitution Society (ACS), United States Attorney General Eric Holder lauded our American civilian court system as “our most effective terror-fighting weapon.” Holder’s address, along with his whole attorney general career, reflects a flawed ideology that believes wrapping enemy combatants in the American flag will somehow steer them towards full disclosure.
We are fooling ourselves to believe our enemies aren’t smart enough to use habeas corpus against us — which the Constitution does not extend to non-citizens held outside U.S. boundaries. While the good cop routine might work on some of the more impressionable, the determined fanatics will take advantage of the situation. Sometimes you need a “Jack Bauer” to intervene to make these people sweat.
Holder’s implied moral high ground originates from the assumption that captured enemy combatants will be mistreated – unless they are blanketed by the security of our Constitution. Holder fails to recognize that our military is bound by the same Constitution, as well as the Geneva Convention.
The last time I checked, those who strayed away from their obligations to constitutional rule of law were duly convicted of crimes. Their actions, along with those of Attorney General Holder, do nothing but undermine the efforts of so many charged with keeping the rest of us safe from the criminals they imprison.
A lack of confidence in the military tribunal system seems to pervade the Justice Department under Holder as service members assigned to Guantanamo Bay do their duty honorably and faithfully, every day.
Case in point is the recent indictment of the two alleged terrorists, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, who made their way to Kentucky after they were mistakenly granted refugee status in 2009 – despite being involved in insurgency activities against American troops, in Iraq.
Last month they were indicted for allegedly providing support to al-Qaeda in Iraq, from Kentucky. Alwan was charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill U.S. nationals and attempting to provide material support for terrorists. Hammadi was charged with conspiracy to transfer and possess weapons and with attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
An ABC News May 31, 2011, report disclosed that Alwan told a FBI informant that his “lunch and dinner would be an American soldier” and found that his fingerprints “matched an unexploded IED that U.S. troops recovered” in Iraq in 2005. Regardless, AG Holder believes these quasi “citizens” should be afforded Constitutional rights rather than having their refugee status revoked and be given a one way ticket to Cuba.
Meanwhile, you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone who thinks the prisoners at Guantanamo spend every day within an inch of their lives, existing in some hellish, Abu Ghraib nightmare.
In reality, Gitmo detainees have quite the gig. Gitmo is a state-of-the-art facility with a $12 million courtroom located on a tropical island where balmy breezes blow. Detainees receive first class medical and dental care, educational opportunities, outdoor recreation, have access to satellite television stations, balanced meals, and have hordes of civil rights lawyers at their disposal.
It should be noted that actionable information was gathered from Gitmo that aided in Osama bin Laden’s capture, and whether we like it or not, Gitmo is a necessary evil that was built to protect American citizens from the evil ones who reside there.
Civil rights groups whine about abuse concerns for the detainees, yet sit in silence when the real abuse is suffered by our own military – at the hands of the detainees. Former US Marine and Department of Defense contractor Rajai Hakki described the abuse taking place at Gitmo in a May 31, 2011, Huffington Post article, “The Other Side of Guantanamo.” Hakki describes the horror of guards having “urine and feces thrown in their faces,” others being bitten and spat upon, and black guards were recipients of “racist and demeaning” words. Hakki also witnessed detainees injuring themselves in order to make false torture claims.
At some point, Attorney General Holder must be held liable for decisions he’s made that favor America’s enemies over American citizens. His resignation would be a reasonable step in that direction.
Photo Credit: ryanjreilly Creative Commons