Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dishonoring 9/11 Victims at Guantanamo

President Obama's order to suspend the ludicrous "military commissions" at Guantanamo came just after a heart-wrenching scene that illuminates just what torture George W. Bush has inflicted - not on detainees, but on the families and loves ones of those who died on 9/11.

Following Monday's hearings, the Office of the Military Commissions held a press conference with several 9/11 family members, who had reportedly been selected by lottery to travel to the base to attend the hearings. Visibly angry, and holding up large photographs of their relatives who died on 9/11, they appealed to President Obama to keep Guantánamo open.

"Today we were in the presence of true evil," said Donald Arias, who lost his brother Adam in the attack on the World Trade Center. "Mr. Obama needs to reexamine his decision and keep these tribunals going."

Joe Holland, who lost his son in the World Trade Center, trembled with rage as he took the podium.

"My name is Joe Holland and I lost my son in 9/11," he said. "When I said I was coming down here, people asked me what they could do. I said, 'Write a letter to Obama saying that this place should stay open.'"

When journalists asked Holland about the possibility of trying the 9/11 suspects in federal court, he replied, "No, right here, at Guantánamo," then excused himself from the podium as he fought back tears.

One of the most horrific acts committed by George W. Bush is the cruel trick he played on the loved ones of 9-11 victims.

In their names, he justified a "war on terror" that has accomplished nothing but increase global terror and make this nation far more vulnerable to terrorist acts.

In their names, he bungled the search for bin Laden, allowing the actual 9/11 criminal to escape and remain free for more than seven years.

In their names, he launched an illegal war against one of bin Laden's greatest enemies, thus giving great aid and comfort to the person who killed their loved ones.

In their names, he authorized torture that made it impossible to try and convict bin Laden's captured confederates.

In their names, he did nothing to assuage their loss, but instead everything to ensure that no one actually responsible would ever pay for the crime of 9/11.

If you must write to Obama on behalf of the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, then write to demand he prosecute the people in the recent maladministration who have spent the last seven years desecrating their memories.

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic.