A Letter to the President re Gitmo

From [edit] Thom Vernon
To [edit] Barack Obama

Subject [edit] No Deal On Graham’s Gitmo Plan
Message [edit] Dear President Obama:

Senator Lindsey Graham says he wants to help you close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but in turn for his help he wants you to continue to hold detainees, indefinitely, without charge and to abandon using our criminal justice system to try detainees.

This is wrong.

Our U.S. courts are the best system we have for trying terrorist suspects. More than 300 terrorists have been tried and convicted in our federal system since 2001. We also cannot continue to break the laws of the Constitution and hold people without charge. If we’re going to close Gitmo we need to either charge the men remaining there with a crime or they need to be released.

Graham’s plan would continue the unconstitutional practices that made Guantanamo Bay the blight on our Democracy that it continues to be today. Don’t work with Graham to create another Gitmo. Close Gitmo the right way. Uphold the rule of law.

Those of us who support you, have tried very hard to hang on in spite of the watering down of your stated principles and goals – closing Gitmo, health care/financial/infrastructure(greening) reform,etc.

We suspect negotiations such as this are an effort to wrangle success at the polls. Surely the numbers have shown you, and Mr. Emanuel, how misguided that approach is. I hear over and over how progressives despise the Republican Agenda but deeply respect how they stick to their guns. They have a point. I don’t think bi-partisanship is a useful strategy. Mainly bec’ the other side isn’t coming to the table in good faith. You know that that has to happen based on your work in Chicago.

Wouldn’t you rather lose an election with your principles intact and taking the risk of your convictions? God knows the rest of us have had to.

Thom Vernon
416-807-5260 (C)
Notes on Arts Education
American Refugee

Thom’s novel The Drifts (Coach House Books, 2010) will be released in April. He will be the July 2010 Writer in Residence at Open Book Toronto.

~ by Thom on March 4, 2010.

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