Tuesday, April 26, 2011


No Wonder Congress Wants to Hide the Gitmo Detainees - The Atlantic, April 26, 2011 - by Andrew Cohen

Whatever else the latest Wikileaks dump says about our nation's inapt (and inept) handling of the terror-law detainees at Guantanamo Bay, the newly-revealed documents remind us again of the wide gulf between what Bush administration officials consistently told us about the prisoners and what was actually happening on the ground in Cuba.

President Bush called the men "the worst of the worst" when he knew they weren't. An attorney general of the United States, Alberto Gonzales, called the detainees "killers" when the clear and compelling evidence indicated otherwise. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld went even further. He called the men "among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth." That we've known about these and many other risible contradictions for at least the past five years makes them no more acceptable today.

We were told these lies so that we would support the political and ideological priorities of the men who told them. We were told these lies so that we would not sooner start asking good questions about the legal justification for the way the Gitmo prisoners were being treated. In the words of Andy Worthington of The Guardian, "it was important to dehumanise the men held at Guantanamo, to give life to the myth that the prison held 'the worst of the worst.'"

The truth about Gitmo is that it was always a messy concept in theory and an unwieldy proposition in practice. It was (and obviously continues to be) full of ambiguities and contradictions itself. That's what the new Gitmo revelations say to me. It all makes you wonder where we'd be today -- how much lighter the stain would be -- if our elected officials and their subordinates had simply leveled with the American people right from the start.

As part of its comprehensive coverage of the leaked documents, The New York Times offered up a great piece Monday from Scott Shane and Benjamin Weiser. They wrote:

Read the rest at:

No Wonder Congress Wants to Hide the Gitmo Detainees - The Atlantic