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Voyageur's Best Generally Speaking of 2005

Closing Guantanamo

Closing Quantanamo?
Why release prisoners of war during the war?
by Lee Bennett  |  July 12, 2005

During WWII, enemy Japanese pilots considered it an honor to sacrifice their own lives by kamakaze attacks, crashing their plane and themselves into American Warships attempting to sink them.

Our freedom loving, life loving nation never could accept that concept. Now we are engaged in a terrorist war confronting enemies who might be anyone, anywhere, worldwide. They might be civilians, military personnel, children, adults, in uniform or not, even toddlers in bomb-loaded diapers. They sincerely believe that to kill or help kill an American by any means possible, anywhere worldwide is a distinct honor. They have been taught that Allah will reward them with special afterlife rewards for purposely killing themselves while in the process of killing Americans, such as with car bombings.

Now, ask yourself, how does anyone properly identify any POWs, captured from an enemy group that openly supports such a concept? All through world history, war prisoners are either killed outright or imprisoned and subjected to varying degrees of humane or inhumane treatment. In spite of serious incidents of prisoner harassment abuse, of which our nation has been guilty, history has shown that the USA has been far ahead of the rest of the world in humane treatment of POWs. Most of these terrorist war prisoners have never been so well housed, clothed or fed in their entire lives.

Now a lot of world public opinion supported by the ACLU and their ilk, wants us to close Guantanamo, and release prisoners held there because we have failed to honor their “rights” to a quick trial. We are in a war and these are Wartime Prisoners. Release them so they can go back and renew their efforts to kill more Americans? When in the course of military history has this ever been done? Aren’t these people who were captured and imprisoned for their alleged involvement in a war against our nation? Until that war is over, and peace is restored, what privileges or “rights” do they have?

After completing our missions during WWII, a group of American flight crew members, including me, were shipped back to the USA on an American troopship. I was picked at random to be one of four “Officers in Charge” of about 250 war prisoners housed in the hold of the ship enroute to POW Camps in the United States. It was interesting to hear some of these prisoners expressing optimism, while looking forward to their ultimate repatriation. One prisoner – I shall never forget this – showed me his American Foot Locker packed solid with American Cigarettes that our prison officials had issued to these prisoners. The fellow almost had tears in his eyes as he thanked me and the USA for those cigarettes and explained that since he never smoked, he was saving them to take back to his family.

Now what’s all this talk we’re hearing about closing Guantanamo? COMMENTS?

This article first appeared in the July 12, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.