Court gives inmates rights | June 13, story
Ruling is a threat to Americans
Politics in America, like life itself, is certainly about negotiation. We cannot get our way all the time. However, the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that the terrorists should be granted access to civilian U.S. courts caused me great trepidation and concern, and left me with many unanswered questions:
Will this decision force our government to divulge classified information designed to keep Americans safe?
Will the terrorists be released from captivity due to legal technicalities?
How do the families of Sept. 11 victims and relatives of slain U.S. troops feel about this decision?
Did any of the five Supreme Court Justices make this decision to smite President Bush?
The terrorists are not foreign fighters in the traditional sense; they do not represent any particular nation, nor do they wear military uniforms. On the contrary, the terrorists wear civilian clothing, blend into society, then commit murder when it is least expected. Furthermore, prisoners in prior wars were never granted access to U.S. civilian courts; they were coordinated via military tribunals.
James Madison, fourth president and chief author of the U.S. Constitution, did not realize his literary masterpiece would one day be used as a weapon against American citizens.
Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and the other Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves, while Osama bin Laden now has a new ally in his jihad against America and Western civilization: the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thomas W. Cunningham Jr., St. Petersburg
A blow to injustice
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling allowing detainees held at Guantanamo Bay the right to an attorney and trial in civilian courts represents the very foundation of the democratic principles that make this nation so great. The ideology of habeas corpus is meant to be applied at all times, not just when convenient.
Many years from now, however, our children's children will ask us — after all that we have seen, from the Holocaust to the Japanese internment camps, and all that we claim to believe true as fighters for democracy — how could we have let this injustice stand for so long? I only hope that in time the answers will come.
Nick Suszynski, Tampa
Court restores a basic liberty June 14, editorial
High court makes a big mistake
How is it that noncitizen, foreign combatants who do not even fall under the Geneva Conventions since they were nonuniformed personnel captured on a foreign battlefield, perpetrating terroristic activities mostly against innocent civilians, should receive habeas corpus rights in the U.S. courts?
I agree with the president and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee that this was a horrendous mistake by the court. Indeed, it is a decision that will not stand the test of time. Our courts will be hamstrung until it is withdrawn. It fails to foresee that this conflict will not be over soon, perhaps, not even in their or their children's lifetimes, throughout which thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of these trials will be required.
Unfortunately, there is not a single country or group of countries on which we declared war. The term "global war on terror" is a nonstarter. It should have been defined accurately as a war against "radical Islam" and it will only end when moderate Muslims prevail over their radical 10 percent.
Charles Kottich, Largo
Stick to Constitution
The U.S. Supreme Court faced a difficult and challenging decision. Personally, I think, as divisive as this ruling is to many, it is the right one. It upholds our Constitution. And as repulsive as it may seem, we Americans must treat these enemies somewhat humanely.
If we as Americans are to be respected and welcomed around the world as we expect to be, then we also must act with respect and uphold our own Constitution and laws. I am proud to be an American, and, unfortunately, these prisoners deserve their day in court.
Karin L. Stephansky, Indian Rocks Beach
The nature of rights
Without getting into legal points of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision regarding habeas corpus and the rights of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, I want to express a selfish concern about how our presumptive Republican nominee views my rights.
At a town hall meeting in New Jersey last week, John McCain said the Guantanamo detainees, "have not, and never have been, given the rights of citizens of this country."
Considering the subtext of this statement I say, gee, and I thought our Constitution protects, not creates, our natural rights, i.e., human rights! I didn't realize I was "given" these rights because of my citizenship! Does that mean that what is "given" may be taken away? I thought the idea was that we "are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights," i.e., we are born with them. I must have this natural rights thing all wrong. Thank you for enlightening me, Mr. McCain.
Thomas LaPorta, Palm Harbor
McCain loses his way
It is impossible for me to understand how a man like John McCain, who was a prisoner of war for five years, could possibly come out against the Supreme Court's decision to allow the detainees at Guantanamo Bay to have access to federal courts.
The court didn't say the detainees had to be freed but only that they had to be given the right to argue that they are innocent. McCain lived for five years under a regime that didn't allow that and we consider him a hero for being able to endure it. Now, less than 40 years later, he is arguing that the men and boys at Gitmo should receive the same treatment that he received, and we reviled, just so he can appeal to the Bush portion of the Republican Party.
I'm a registered Republican, and he has lost my vote.
Roger W. Gambert, Palm Harbor
Facts in Iraq favor McCain over Obama | June 13, Charles Krauthammer column
This war is futile
While I certainly respect Charles Krauthammer's opinion, I also believe he neglected to tell the whole story. He neglects to mention the lives lost, destroyed and ruined by a war which was, as we now know, completely uncalled for. He neglects to mention there was a complete failure in intelligence and that fabrications were made by this administration to justify the war. He neglects to mention that the current factions in Iraq and the Mideast have been at war for centuries and will not be stopped by involvement of the American military or government.
To quote Krauthammer, "We did not go into Iraq to fight al-Qaida. The war had other purposes." What other purposes? Our armed services, as mentioned by several commanders, are stretched to the point of breaking. Why? Is it because the Bush administration did learn one thing from the Vietnam War and decided against a draft to avoid public revolt? This has stressed our troops to the breaking point and limited our abilities to tend to natural disasters and real threats from abroad.
To continue our occupation of Iraq is, in my opinion, a total waste of American lives and livelihood, billions of dollars and sanity. Whether we leave in 2009 or 2013, history has shown us the fighting will continue.
Don Mott, Largo
Facts in Iraq favor McCain over Obama | June 13, Charles Krauthammer column
Withdrawal is folly
Unfortunately, if Barack Obama is elected president and has his way, he appears to be committed to ignoring facts and will do everything he can to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq. Either because of his refusal to acknowledge the facts of the current successes in Iraq, the importance to the United States and the world to a successful outcome to the war or just plain ignorance, his promise to unconditionally withdraw from Iraq within 16 months of his inauguration is incredibly shortsighted.
Obama and the Democrats have painted themselves into a corner with their unyielding position of favoring retreat and defeat over victory. After an initial short period early in the war when they were forced politically to pretend that they supported the president and the war effort, their hatred of George Bush took over. Since then, they have taken every opportunity to undermine the efforts of our military and our president to achieve victory. They would rather see the United States go down to humiliating defeat than concede any success to Bush.
Ted Milios, Hudson
My mother died on June 9 or I'm sure she would have written Tim Russert's family herself. My father who is 86 keeps saying, "How could we have had 60 years together and Tim be gone so young."
For years we have looked to Tim to help us understand the news but keep us grounded in an old-fashioned way of treating each other decently. We'd planned to watch Tim on election night, but now there will be two empty chairs.
Diana Harrison, St. Petersburg