Last Words on Gitmo

March 23rd, 2010

In "High Principles," the sidebar accompanying "The Defenders," Terry Walsh '65 is quoted as muttering to his wife that the U.S. government's declaration of a U.S. citizen, Jose Padilla, as an enemy combatant "was the worst thing I'd ever seen" (November/December). One can certainly make cogent arguments for or against such treatment of a U.S. citizen, but could that possibly be "the worst thing" he'd ever seen? What about the mass murder of nearly 3,000 people from some ninety countries by nineteen terrorists of Arab Muslim background? The next time Walsh wants to fortify himself with righteous anger, I respectfully suggest he look at the image of hapless people jumping to their deaths from the burning World Trade Center rather than at Dick Cheney's photograph.

James J. Na '95
Ashburn, Va.



Like Michael Ramos-Lynch '09, I am glad lawyers are vigorously defending Guantanamo detainees ("Don't Kill the Lawyers," Mail Room, January/February). Let's not forget, though, that some of those released have returned to their previous life of terrorism. Clearly Guantanamo has held some very bad actors.

I also take issue with Ramos-Lynch's comment that "as long as there are laws set up to dehumanize people based on their culture, religion, or color, the legal profession will be crucial to ensuring equal rights." The implication is that there are laws on the books that allow a random rounding up of people for no reason other than color or ethnicity, for example. I feel sorry for any innocent person wrongly detained, but it's hard to believe that all detainees were singled out based on appearance only. Certainly, some were engaged in combat and others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Casey Brennan '93
Pittsburgh, Pa.

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March/April 2010