Saturday, February 16, 2008

Truth is truth

I admit that I haven't said much publicly about the detention of suspected al-Qaida terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. I should have and I could have.  I would have and not because I am sympathetic to Omar Khadr's case, like many Canadians are.  I do believe that these men should face justice if proven guilty and I consider Khadr to be responsible for his actions, even though he was 15 years old at the time of his detention. Don't try to convince me that Omar Khadr didn't know exactly what he was doing when he allegedly lobbed a hand grenade at Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, a 28-year-old medic with the U.S. Special Forces. 

However, what is going on at Guantanamo Bay is outside of the rule of law.  And that is wrong, regardless of one's crime.

Yesterday an American friend of mine with whom I share quite a number of ideological and religious values wrote a blog entitled "Close Guantanamo Bay" which summarized much of what I have been feeling and thinking for a while.  This blog is good evidence that one can be ideologically conservative and stand firmly on the side of human rights and justice. Liberals do not have a monopoly on these issues, as much as they like to think they do.  Here is what Todd wrote:

Nicholas D. Kristof's article in the New York Times yesterday is worth reading, though sobering.

If Americans don't believe that a principle extends to our enemies, then do we believe it at all? If something is true and right, then it is true and right for all people, not simply for US citizens or our friends or family members. Truth is truth.

I believe the time has come to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. If there is evidence that those imprisoned there have committed crimes, then let a prosecutor present that evidence and let a jury decide a just punishment. If there is no evidence, then release these men and send them back to their home country. Will some of them go back and take up arms against us again? Yes, undoubtedly they will. But do we really believe that "all men are created equal," as our founding fathers said? If we do, then these men deserve the same rights as I do. Unending detention without trial is wrong, whether it is done to a Christian in Myanmar, an American on the south side of Chicago or a person who took up arms against our troops.

One of the bedrock principles of the United States of America is that a person is innocent until they are proven guilty. If we ignore our principles and stoop to the level of our enemies in an effort to defeat them, they've already won.

Bravo, Todd.  I couldn't have said it better.  I wish I had said it earlier myself.

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