Turns out, more than 90% of the detainees we’re holding at Guantanemo were not picked up by US soldiers on the battlefield — they were handed over to us by tribal rivals, in exchange for a bounty our own government generously provided. But since then, we’ve been downright stingy with respect to these prisoners’ rights. Many of them have been locked up for years, some tortured, without any attempt to fully ascertain their charges or bring them to justice.
This morning, the Senate’s debating President Bush’s proposed Terrorist Detainee Bill. Here, words from two senators whose sentiments echo my own:
“We can export freedom across the globe, but at the same time we are cutting it out in our own country. What hypocrisy!” Sen. Patrick Leahy
“Either we are a nation that stands against this cruel and unusual torture and for the rule of law. Or we are not. We cannot have it both ways.” Sen. Russ Feingold
This is not a partisan issue; it’s an American issue. As a nation — as citizens in a democracy — we are better than this!
Please, I urge you to call your Senators right away. Fight like a Patriot to protect the Constitutional provisions and moral principles on which our country was first founded. Tell your representatives how you feel about The Military Commissions Act of 2006 (S.3929; HR.6054) and insist that they vote for habeas corpus protections with federal court oversight. Let them know that you expect them to take their oath to protect the Constitution seriously, that you’ll not endorse any candidate who deflects his or her responsibility to our governing documents.
You can reach your Senators toll free at (866) 808-0065 or find their direct dial information here. If you first want to get more background information, you might start by reading this morning’s New York Times editorial and this commentary in the Washington Post. But do hurry, as the decision’s going to be made one way or the other by the end of this week, perhaps as soon as today.
UPDATE: The final vote was 65 – 34. The legislation PASSED. While I’m stunned at the statement this makes about our country, at least I can feel a very small measure of consolation for having spoken out against this travesty.
photo credit: Firedoglake.com