The International Committee of the Red Cross recently took the unusual step
of publicly criticizing the United States over the confinement of the roughly 660 detainees at the Guant疣amo naval
base in Cuba. ...
Why are the men still without trial, still without rights? The Bush administration
has two justifications. One is, in essence, self-defense: in the war on terrorism, in which the security of the United States
is in mortal danger, normal rules cannot apply. The other, more narrow, is about legality: the Taliban and Al Qaeda are not
combatants in traditional or legal terms, and are therefore not eligible for the protections due to prisoners of war under
the Geneva Conventions.
Both arguments miss the point. ...
That the Pentagon should be allowed to run this prison camp in total secrecy
and in utter disdain of what America stands for should be heavy on the conscience of all Americans. ...
... With Guant疣amo, the administration has gone far beyond the needs
of the moment, seeking to ensure in every way possible that the prisoners remain indefinitely beyond the reach of law or scrutiny.
2004 The New York Times Company