Why Guantánamo? Why me? There are so many issues, so many injustices, so many tugs at the heartstrings and the consciences -- not to mention, there is only so much time, only so much energy. This is why.
If we don't take an introspective look at the policies and actions we've taken in the name of national security, actions that grossly violate our fundamental values, then we are leaving the door open for this to happen again.
As a nation, we must do better. We must respect everyone's human rights, including those of detainees in our custody and care. Holding people in detention indefinitely violates American values and our country's core principles of justice and fairness.
Guantanamo represents a place where the United States broke faith with itself and used torture as an interrogation technique. It is a place where the moral wound of indefinite detention continues to cause immense pain and harm.
In order to ensure the United States does not repeat the mistakes of the past, a full and public accounting of how U.S. government policies and practices failed to conform to our legal and moral obligations is required.
If President Obama is concerned about his legacy, closing Guantanamo should be at the top of his list. President Bush created this mess, but it has fallen to Obama to fix it. Sometimes a leader has to ignore the polls and simply do what is right.
The United States has a history of providing important moral leadership in many areas. But by shrouding our tortured past in secret, we endanger both our country's moral legacy and our national security.
The Russians may have thought those people were as bad as Mr. Magnitsky's handlers. They may also have thought that keeping Mr. Magnitsky in jail for less than a year was much less worse than what the U.S. has done to prisoners at Guantanamo. If they thought that, they were right.
A non-governmental, bipartisan task force recently completed a two-year investigation into the U.S. government's treatment of 9/11 detainees, concluding indisputably that the United States government engaged in illegal torture.
The NY Times recently reported that some advisers of presidential candidate Mitt Romney urged him to reverse the Obama Administration's ban on the use of torture. I'm writing to urge that we join in calling on Mr. Romney to explicitly and publicly reject that advice.
Why is Guantanamo still open? Why has there been no public accounting for the use of torture? Why does President Obama successfully claim the right to assassinate American citizens living abroad? And why do civil libertarians lose arguments of this sort time and again?
I have now been to Guantánamo six times. Nothing I've seen has changed my view that the military commissions are unworkable. The system is set up to guarantee convictions and hand down death sentences, nothing more.
Every interrogation starts with analysis. That is, getting to know the detainee, researching their background, exploring their relationships with others, reviewing any available information and figuring out what makes them tick.