Also, the words “we don’t torture” will finally be true.
The orders, which are the first steps in undoing detention policies of former President George W. Bush, rewrite American rules for the detention of terrorism suspects. They require an immediate review of the 245 detainees still held at the naval base in GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, to determine if they should be transferred, released or prosecuted.
And the orders bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years, a practice that has brought fierce criticism from foreign governments and human rights activists. They will also prohibit the C.I.A. from using coercive interrogation methods, requiring the agency to follow the same rules used by the military in interrogating terrorism suspects, government officials said.
There are still a lot of legal questions to be answered, but I can’t help but think that they’re not as complicated as many would have us believe. The only reason there’s any complications in the first place is we had a “kidnap first, ask questions later” policy. And that ultimately resulted in hundreds of folks being held for years without access to legal counsel and then released with a pat on the back and an “Our bad!” by the government.
No, the only potentially tough question is “Where do the real criminals go?” Murtha has already said he’d take them so let’s give them to him. It’s not like these folks are radioactive and we characterize them like as such at our own peril because we elevate their status and legend. They’re just people who may or may not have committed a crime and they should be treated as such.