The New York Times
May 3, 2008, 10:32 pm
My Sunday column is about the remaining 270 prisoners at Guantanamo, which is a national disgrace. One reason is simply the injustice of keeping innocent people in abusive conditions — a far harsher regime than that faced by convicted murderers in the United States. The inmates at Guantanamo haven’t had visits or phone calls with family members for more than six years of confinement, and the authorities constantly play games with them. For example, one of those I mention in the column is al-Ghizzawi, a Libyan who is suffering from extreme health problems. The authorities boasted of giving him glasses. But, according to his lawyer, the glasses are distance glasses, when he is in confined to a tiny cell. What he desperately wants is reading glasses.
My doubts about the official line has steadily grown, partly because of the number of military lawyers and officers who have come forward and said that Guantanamo is a travesty. I was also shaken when I wrote about the case of Sean Baker, an American soldier who was asked to play a Guantanamo inmate in a training exercise. The other soldiers didn’t realize that he was only playing his role and beat him so badly that he is permanently disabled — and the military has treated him wretchedly as well.