Guantánamo Nightmare

The New York Times carried an op-ed today with the provocative title, “My Guantanamo Nightmare.” The author of the editorial is Lakhdar Boumediene, who was locked away at Guantánamo Bay for seven years, his family thrown into poverty, his world forever changed.

Guantánamo detainee Lakhdar Boumediene

Let me be blunt. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of them should be arrested and tried for the crimes that were perpetrated against Boumediene and the many others who suffered or are suffering his fate (or worse). It is hard to imagine that a fair trial would find Bush and nest of war criminals not guilty of these most serious offenses—false imprisonment, torture, destruction of livelihood, and, in some cases, physical injury and death. These are the actions of sociopaths, and only a successful plea of not guilty by reason of insanity would justify sending them anywhere else but prison for their natural lives. I don’t think many of my progressive friends will disagree with me about that. If they do, then I wonder about their commitment to rule of law and, not to be insulting, but I have to say it: basic moral decency.

Second, if Bush and associates should be punished for the crime of Guantánamo Bay, then what shall we do with Barack Obama for keeping Guantánamo Bay open? Here’s where progressives find their double standard. But human beings are there still, enduring all the horrors that the Bush Administration visited upon Boumediene and his fellow detainees. If Guantánamo Bay is a reason for prosecuting Bush and associates—and I know it is because I can still hear the din of progressives calling for his impeachment over the matter—then why are progressives silent about Obama? It cannot be that it is only wrong to falsely imprison and torture human beings when Republicans do it. If Guantánamo Bay exists whether a Republican or a Democrat is the Commander-in-Chief, then how can a person vote for either party’s nominee?

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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