YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Letters: Gitmo options, left and right

August 17, 2013

Re "How to close Guantanamo," Opinion, Aug. 14

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin propose steps to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, which holds Al Qaeda terrorists. These proposals threaten U.S. security and should be rejected.

They suggest transferring certain detainees to Yemen, where a terrorist involved in the bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole has "escaped" from prison and remains at large.

They also say detainees should be transferred to the U.S. Once Al Qaeda detainees are brought here, even for detention and trial, it increases the chances they may be released into our country. Obama administration officials have admitted that detainees in the U.S. likely have more protections — including constitutional rights — than those held overseas. Finally, past public criminal trials of accused terrorists have compromised U.S. intelligence about Al Qaeda.

As Al Qaeda's threat grows, we cannot afford to undermine our national security.

Sen. John Barrasso


Feinstein and Durbin make a powerful case for closing the Guantanamo detention facility. It's ridiculously expensive, unnecessary to keep us safe and a human rights failure.

The senators are right to support new and improved detainee transfer provisions in the Senate defense authorization bill slated for a vote this year.

But when it comes to how to close the detention facility, the devil is in the details. Rather than shipping detainees elsewhere to face indefinite detention, unfair trials or other abuses, the U.S. must ensure that each detainee is either fairly tried in a civilian court or released to a country that will respect his rights.

We all want justice for 9/11 and security from future attacks. The way to achieve both is through the criminal justice and law enforcement systems already available, in compliance with human rights standards.

Zeke Johnson

New York

The writer is an Amnesty International observer at the Guantanamo military commissions.


Letters: Religion in politics? No thanks

Letters: How to tackle painkiller abuse

Letters: Doing more on drug sentencing

Los Angeles Times Articles