Correspondence with the Bush Administration

U.S. transfers 20 more prisoners to Afghan custody
February 10, 2008
Confusion Clouds Guantanamo Tribunals
Associated Press
February 6, 2008
France urges US to drop Guantanamo trial of Canadian
January 23, 2008
More Media...

Supreme Court Decisions
  - RASUL v. Bush & Al-Odah v. United States
  - HAMDI et al. v. RUMSFELD
  - HAMDAN et al. v. RUMSFELD

Amicus Briefs
  - Helen Duffy and William Aceves



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Bush, the Prisoners and Our Rights - Letters to the Editor

The New York Times
October 20, 2006 

To the Editor:
''A Dangerous New Order'' (editorial, Oct. 19) is a much-needed reminder of how much the Bush administration has eroded the Constitution. It has replaced habeas corpus for all with a system that operates at the whim of the executive branch.
The actual ''war on terror'' declared by this administration has been waged ineptly at best. The invasion of Iraq, repeatedly stated to be part of that war, has created more dangers for America both overseas and at home.
This, the pandering of fear, and the craven passage of the military tribunals law, provide proof that the ''war on terror'' is actually the war against the Constitution.
This is a ''war'' we can stop by voting.
Carl Ian Schwartz
Paterson, N.J., Oct. 19, 2006

To the Editor:
Re ''President Signs New Rules to Prosecute Terror Suspects'' (news article, Oct. 18):
It is astounding that the president of the United States could state that ''it is a rare occasion when a president can sign a bill he knows will save American lives.'' This referred to the bill he signed allowing coercive interrogation.
The implication, of course, is that since the detainees must be guilty, we can treat them any way we want to. It assumes that we will get all their information regarding illegal terrorist activities and will save American lives.
Of course, we can hold them, interrogate them, cause suffering and harm to them and their families even if they are innocent, even if they know nothing about terrorist activities and even if they are taken by mistake.
It is an abomination that President Bush has been allowed to frame this discussion in terms of how we treat the guilty.
Without due process, we don't know if they are guilty. The president has signed a bill that fundamentally allows the United States government to torture possibly innocent people.
The question was never about how we treat the guilty (although that is a valid question in a country that has a Constitution). The question should always have been about how we determine guilt and are we harming the innocent.
Elaine M. Edelman
Staten Island, Oct. 18, 2006

To the Editor:
Re ''A Dangerous New Order'' (editorial, Oct. 19):
Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, speaking for the Bush administration, states cynically that those who oppose the new Military Commissions Act ''would gingerly pamper the terrorists who plan to destroy innocent Americans' lives.''
This demagogy is insulting to our intelligence.
The issue is not about coddling evil; it is about preserving fundamental checks and balances.
While many of those held at Guantanamo are bad men intent on bad deeds, hundreds of other detainees have been quietly released without charges or apology or compensation after years of captivity and harassment.
If these individuals had been granted basic habeas corpus rights, this shameful injustice would have never occurred.
To those who say it's better to be safe than sorry, I'd ask:
If it were your father or son who was spirited away, jailed without charges and repeatedly intimidated, degraded and, yes, tortured despite his innocence, would you still think that our government was acting in your best interests?
Robert J. Inlow
Charlottesville, Va., Oct. 19, 2006

To the Editor:
It is really sad to see that the president and the Republican Congress are unwittingly doing exactly what the terrorists aspire to do themselves: chipping away at the pillars of liberty and freedom of the Western world, one law at a time.
In this particular instance, the American judicial system has been torpedoed.
The president and the Republicans may have won a battle with the Democrats, but they should take a step back to see that we are slowly losing the war on terror by compromising on the principles and ideals laid down in the United States Constitution.
Kiran Achyutuni
Bangalore, India, Oct. 19, 2006

To the Editor:
As an Australian citizen concerned about the welfare of my fellow citizen David Hicks, who is one of the hundreds of inmates at Guantanamo Bay, I am horrified at the new American law on military tribunals.
Your editorial quite correctly points out that these new laws do nothing for the reputation of the United States as a democratic society and should be of great concern to all Americans.
The idea that if you don't like the decision of the umpire (the Supreme Court, in this case), you just change the rules to suit your purpose may work on some sporting fields, but it should not be used by a national government to undermine the justice system.
Lorie Werner
Melbourne, Australia

Oct. 19, 2006
To the Editor:
What a sad day for the United States, and for the rest of the world witnessing this event, that a bill has been signed into law that allows torture.
Yes, the United States has been a shining light of freedom and democracy; now it is quickly becoming a rogue state, characterized by a lust for war, hoping to achieve the quelling of dissent by indoctrination inside the United States and by violence outside of it.
A very sad day.
Kees Schepers
Antwerp, Belgium, Oct. 19, 2006

To the Editor:
''It can't happen here.''
It did.
Geoff Carver
Bensberg, Germany, Oct. 19, 2006

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