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The shame of Guantanamo [Letter]

As an American citizen who served three years in the U.S. Army as a soldier and worked for the Army for 30 years as a civilian, I am appalled at the violation of human rights that our facility at Guantanamo Bay represents ("Detainees are human," July 16). Capturing people overseas and then holding them for a dozen years or more without trial or specific charges grossly violates the moral principles upon which our nation was founded.

Though some prisoners there represent a real threat if released, our so-called war on terror is an open-ended situation that shows no signs of ending any time soon. And it stands to reason that at least some there are likely to be innocent because of the way in which they were captured.

All the while members of Congress block any efforts to afford prisoners a trial in a court of law. If we American citizens don't speak out against this and at least demand that prisoners be tried in accordance with international standards, we are complicit in the inhumane treatment of at least some fellow human beings who may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I did not serve in the Army so that the United States government could flout international norms of law and do whatever it wants just because it has the power to do so. We also should understand that Guantanamo is continuing to create a negative image of the United States in much of the world which is hardly serving our natural security interests. If we can't try those who are guilty of crimes based on solid evidence and do whatever we can to release those who pose no harm to us, we are failing to be a beacon of justice to other nations. To do anything less is un-American.

Michael Cast, Edgewood

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