Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Broken Clock

This time the editorial board of the Washington Post got it right.

The men were cleared for release by the Bush administration years ago; the federal courts that reviewed their cases concluded that there was no evidence to justify their imprisonment in the first place. Yet they languished behind bars because the United States could not return them to their native China for fear they would be tortured, or worse. Some 100 countries declined U.S. requests to take the Uighurs, in part because of Chinese threats of retaliation. U.S. lawmakers railed against the possibility of allowing the detainees into the United States, claiming that they were dangerous terrorists despite the assessments of a Republican and a Democratic president, military officers and an independent judiciary. ...

The Uighurs who are headed to Bermuda and Palau will finally get a chance to start their lives again -- albeit in foreign surroundings and without the comfort of family or an extended community that speaks their language and shares their culture. But it is disappointing that the United States has had to beseech its allies to correct an injustice wholly of its own creation. It is maddening that U.S. administrations and lawmakers of both parties did not act with cooler heads and good faith to welcome at least some of these men into this country -- especially when well-established and reputable Uighur organizations and communities offered to provide food and shelter and help to get the men established.
[Emphasis added]

It is maddening, indeed. US military and civilian officials have known for years that the Uighurs should never have been picked up and dropped into Guantanamo Bay and that they didn't constitute any danger to the US. Even now, it is unlikely that any of the 17 men pose any real threats, yet members of Congress decided to strut their demagoguery over the issue, completely glossing over all of the information given to them, including the mistakes made by the CIA and Pentagon in seizing and holding them. Instead, they insisted that the White House find other nations to take the responsibility for our mistakes.

While some of the Uighurs are being relocated to two of the most beautiful places in the world, they are going there with none of the support system which could have been provided to them in the US by the Uighur community already here and well established as reputable members of their communities and who offered to take them in and to help them adjust to their new status and new home.

So the mistakes we made are being compounded just so some closed-minded morons can strut around in front of television cameras, huffing and puffing about keeping America safe.


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