Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Guantanamo detention center remains a stain on our national character

Nearly 10 years ago, I reacted with horror and disdain as President George W. Bush gleefully took credit for extra-judicial killings and indefinite detention of suspected terrorists. I thought: "How could a president throw away the basic principle of trial by jury and shred our Constitution?" I agreed with those who saw the detention center at Guantanamo Bay as a terrible stain on our national values and called for its closure.

As a supporter of the Green Party, I did not vote for President Obama in 2008. However, I cheered when Mr. Obama thanked President Bush for his service and promptly announced the order to close Guantanamo within a year. Perhaps I too was feeling the "hope."

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has more than failed to live up to his promise. His failure led to the hunger strike by 106 Guantanamo prisoners, of whom 40 are now being force-fed through tubes in their nose.

Many of these men had been cleared for release years ago. A federal judge recently acknowledged that force-feeding is painful, humiliating and degrading. Like the American Medical Association, I see force-feeding as akin to torture.

Mr. Obama is showing himself to be more a despotic authoritarian and shredder of constitutional rights than his predecessor. The N.S.A. voraciously hordes our communications and erodes all notions of privacy. Meanwhile Mr. Obama relentlessly pursues and prosecutes those with the courage to expose the truth (Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning). Secrecy, authoritarianism and now torture rule the day once again in America.

I wish Mr. Obama would make me a liar by showing he is in fact the wise and just leader his supporters hoped for. Stop the torture at Guantanamo. Put the men on trial or release them. Close the prison once and for all.

Vincent Tola, Baltimore

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Free Manning, close Gitmo
    Free Manning, close Gitmo

    According to a report by Medina Roshan of Reuters ("Witness: WikiLeaks breach threatened U.S.," June 18), Rear Admiral David Woods claimed Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's leaks caused "damage to national security." I was not in the courtroom, but I have to wonder if this was said with a straight...

  • Terrorism and Islam
    Terrorism and Islam

    Recently, a Sun poll asked readers whether "avoiding the phrase 'Islamic extremism' when referring to certain terrorist groups take[s] away their power as religious leaders, as the president contends?" (Feb. 19).

  • Columba Bush got what she was after
    Columba Bush got what she was after

    Any woman lucky enough to snag a politician, a football coach or any high profile husband should count her blessings. I've no compassion for Columba, wife of Jeb Bush, or any lucky ladies who won the husband lottery. Latching onto a high profile guy takes talent and determination.

  • Go slow on fracking
    Go slow on fracking

    Fracking is a hot topic in Annapolis this year, with bills in the legislature that would hit the pause button and impose strict liability standards on companies that want to drill in the state before the oil and gas industry starts fracking in Western Maryland ("Frosh wades into fracking...

  • Md.'s 'low' speed limits aren't the problem
    Md.'s 'low' speed limits aren't the problem

    I am always amazed to find someone who thinks the current Maryland speed limits are too slow ("Pick up the pace of Md.'s absurdly slow speed limits," Feb. 27). The problem is not the speed limit. The problem is the fact that too many vehicles occupy a limited driving area.

  • How to fix Md.'s aging infrastructure
    How to fix Md.'s aging infrastructure

    Recent Sun articles and editorials have pointed the way forward for Maryland's aging infrastructure ("States scramble as federal highway funding erodes," Feb. 21).

Comments
Loading