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Letters: Debating Guantanamo

May 07, 2013

Re "Obama's Gitmo woes," Opinion, May 5

As a fan of Doyle McManus, I was disappointed to read his claim that most of the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay were anti-American extremists when they were apprehended.

Our own government has acknowledged that many of these men were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border when the war started in 2001. They are guilty of nothing.

I also note with dismay the remarks of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who said that the Guantanamo prisoners were "hell-bent on destroying our way of life." Graham and his fellow Republicans in the Senate, who have supported the gutting of the Constitution under the guise of fighting terrorism, have been much more effective in that regard than the innocent men who languish in Cuba.

Jon Krampner

Los Angeles

McManus and other commentators have noted the conflict between American values and the indefinite detention without trial of those deemed "enemy combatants." It is hard for me to imagine any action more obviously in violation of our Constitution than this.

Indeed, this seems to be exactly what our founders abhorred.

Obviously, some detainees hate us and will actively seek to attack us if released. But keeping them imprisoned, especially in clear disregard of our own laws and values, serves to recruit an unknown number of like-minded individuals.

On balance, won't we be safer if we let them loose? There will be fewer of them to plot against us, and we'll know who they are and be able to monitor them.

Randall Gellens

San Diego

There are places for the 40 detainees who may never be repatriated from Guantanamo.

While campaigning for president, John McCain proposed sending them all to the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., until the senators from that state objected.

Instead, those detainees could be sent two at a time to 20 of the military prisons in the United States, where they could be isolated instead of continuing to foment trouble at Gitmo.

Michael Haas

Los Angeles

Re "Why Gitmo?," Letters, May 4

Reader Lolly Hellman writes: "As an American and a Jew, I am horrified that we are still holding men at Guantanamo Bay. It reminds me of the Germans holding Jews in concentration camps."

I was unaware that the Jews held in concentration camps were terrorists desiring to kill infidels. I suspect many more people were also not aware.

The U.S. facility at Guantanamo is a prison, and many of its inmates want to kill Americans. Keep it open.

Jack Buss



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