Senator Saxby Chambliss
Note: Through the ACLU, I send lots of letters and e-mails to various government officials on a wide variety of matters. Today, I actually received a response from one of my representatives, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R - Ga.) on the matter of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. I would like to share this letter and my response with you all. The following is not a "Dear Galen" letter, but a serious real-life correspondance that I've chosen to share here. Naturally, my personal information has been excluded.
There is little doubt that this is just some stupid form letter response, however I thought it important for the visitors to this site to hear it straight from the horse's mouth: The rights of human beings don't matter when those human beings are "the enemy."
Dear Mr. xxxxxxxxx
Thank you for contacting me regarding the detention of enemy combatants. I appreciate hearing from you.
The Administration has taken the position that the United States
can indefinitely detain members, agents or associates of Al Qaeda and
other terrorist organizations, without charging them with a crime under
criminal statutes, notwithstanding their American citizenship. Critics,
however, question the assertion of executive authority to detain U.S.
citizens, without ordinary due process of law, in order to prevent terrorist
acts or gather intelligence; and some argue that Congress has prohibited
such detention of U.S. citizens when it enacted 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a).
During this time of war when our nation's security is of the
highest priority, we must take every step to ensure that our people and
our country are protected. In a statement to the Miami Chamber of
Commerce on February 13, 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld stated "they're enemy combatants and terrorists who are being
detained for acts of war against our country and that is why different
rules apply." But, he added, "the United States is working to release
those enemy combatants that can be judged to be no longer a threat or
who no longer posses intelligence that could help us prevent future acts
Be assured I will keep your comments in mind as issues
regarding the detention of enemy combatants come before the Senate.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me on this
important matter, and please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of
United States Senate
I, being who I am, couldn't resist replying to this, even if it is just a form letter
Senator Saxby Chambliss
Thank you, sir, for taking the time to respond to my e-mail. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, however I feel it my duty as an American Citizen to remind you that the words "but, they're the enemy" are no excuse for human rights violations. Blind and unfettered persecution of any group under no justification other than "they're the enemy" can not be tolerated by a civilized society. Today, they're the enemy and their rights mean nothing, but what assurance have I that I won't be the enemy tomorrow? I am an American citizen, but the American government has already shown that this fact means nothing at all in the face of that tired old mantra "fighting terrorism." That mantra has been used to take away enough rights, don't you think?
Naturally, as a public servant, you have to say things like "I'll keep your thoughts in mind..." and such is to be expected. However, I urge you strongly to re-consider your position, sir. This is a very dangerous and slippery slope on which you tread. These actions are setting a precedant for America's future that, quite frankly, terrifies me and should terrify you as well.
Please, sir, consider my words very carefully. I urge you not to let the pursuit of justice blind you to the very rights that our struggle is supposed to be defending.
You heard it folks...loud and clear. They're "the enemy" so their human rights mean absolutely nothing to our government. It's nice to know where we stand...