We must safeguard the Rule of Law, particularly when we are feeling vulnerable to random acts of terror. For example, Guantanamo Bay. The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment issued its report, two years in the making. There was a harsh, straightforward determination from this 11-member independent bipartisan organization (whose motto is “Safeguarding Liberty, Justice and the Rule of Law) that torture was used on individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere across the globe with the goal of possibly learning information about our terror-prone enemies. The Report indicts decision-makers in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations for perpetuating a policy in Guantanamo Bay that it is better to detain innocent people than run the risk of setting anyone free who might be a threat to American interests, noting this turns on its head the traditional notion of justice this country was founded on that it is better to let the guilty free than imprison one innocent.
In an editorial in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago attorneys Thomas P. Sullivan and Jeffrey D. Colman decry the fact that ten years after the events of 9/11, there are 166 men being detained at Guantanamo Bay, many of whom have been cleared for release, most of whom have not been officially charged and have no hope of a trial or fair determination about their involvement in any alleged acts of terrorism. Thus, there is a hunger strike and our response is force feedings. How does this square with the Rule of Law and justice for all? Our government is by the people, for the people. The detainees may not be U.S. citizens, but they are people too.
Perhaps the tenacious advocacy of lawyers such as Tom Sullivan will pay off. President Obama vowed to revisit his five-year old promise to close Guantanamo Bay. Watch Tom Sullivan passionately describe his client’s life in Guantanamo Bay.