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March 17, 2009

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Kathryn Lucas

Amen to that, Professor Stone! This issue has been a thorn in my side for the past 6 years, to the point that I emigrated to Canada rather than have my tax dollars go toward what I considered unconstitutional (and, frankly, un-American), detention of the Guantanamo detainees, with no definable expiration date on their status as rights-less "enemy combatants". I voted for my former Constitutional Law prof -- and talked him up to all who would listen -- because I trusted him to remedy the Guantanamo situation with due haste. I share your hope that he meets those expectations.

DWAnderson

That's a pretty heavy load you are making the word "substantially" carry. As you correctly point out how this is interpreted will be important, but the fact that it is so open to different interpretations is cause for substantial concern.

Uzair Kayani

I suspect that a clear majority of Guantanamo detainees were innocent and the refusal to grant them proper judicial proceedings had nothing to do with national security. Wikipedia shows the following figures (though these may be wrong):

"Since October 7, 2001, when the current war in Afghanistan began, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantánamo. Of these, approximately 420 have been released without charge. As of May 2008, approximately 270 detainees remain. More than a fifth are cleared for release but must nevertheless remain indefinitely because countries are reluctant to accept them."

This was a case of misdirection and sleight of hand. Even if hawkish folks wanted to deny constitutional or treaty rights to these detainees, they should have at least worried that they were misdirecting their hawkishness to innocents. If they had followed regular judicial channels, they would have realized this. Proof thresholds (and civil rights in general) are not only a recognition of other people's rights, but also a filter that ensures that the government will not misallocate its resources to create illusions of action or security. There was never a way for us to tell culprits and scapegoats apart, and I think we got scapegoats, because they are easier to find.

We are witnessing a world-wide exercise in palliative care.

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