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The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

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  • Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Retired Military Brass to Republicans: Stop Yer Bellyaching!

    Seems dozens of top retired military brass are fed up with Republican lies and fear-mongering and are supporting Obama's decision to close Guantanamo Bay's detention center. Get a load of the list of signatories:

    GENERAL JOSEPH HOAR, USMC (RET.)
    GENERAL CHARLES KRULAK, USMC (RET.)
    GENERAL DAVID M. MADDOX, USA (RET.)
    GENERAL MERRILL A. MCPEAK, USAF (RET.)
    LIEUTENANT GENERAL RONALD E. ADAMS, USA (RET.)
    LIEUTENANT GENERAL ROBERT G. GARD JR., USA (RET.)
    VICE ADMIRAL LEE F. GUNN, USN (RET.)
    LIEUTENANT GENERAL CLAUDIA J. KENNEDY, USA (RET.)
    VICE ADMIRAL ALBERT H. KONETZNI JR., USN (RET.)
    LIEUTENANT GENERAL CHARLES OTSTOTT, USA (RET.)
    VICE ADMIRAL JACK SHANAHAN, USN (RET.)
    LIEUTENANT GENERAL HARRY E. SOYSTER, USA (RET.)
    LIEUTENANT GENERAL PAUL K. VAN RIPER, USMC (RET.)
    MAJOR GENERAL PAUL D. EATON, USA (RET.)
    MAJOR GENERAL EUGENE FOX, USA (RET.)
    MAJOR GENERAL JOHN FUGH, USA (RET.)
    REAR ADMIRAL DON GUTER, JAGC, USN (RET.)
    MAJOR GENERAL FRED E. HAYNES, USMC (RET.)
    REAR ADMIRAL JOHN D. HUTSON, JAGC, USN (RET.)
    MAJOR GENERAL MELVYN S. MONTANO, ANG (RET.)
    MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM L. NASH, USA (RET.)
    MAJOR GENERAL WALTER L. STEWART, JR., USA (RET.)
    MAJOR GENERAL FRANK TERRELL, USAR, (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL DAVID M. BRAHMS, USMC (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES P. CULLEN, USA (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL EVELYN P. FOOTE, USA (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL LEIF HENDRICKSON, USMC (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL DAVID R. IRVINE, USA (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL RICHARD O’MEARA, USA (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL MURRAY G. SAGSVEEN, USA (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL ANTHONY VERRENGIA, USAF (RET.)
    BRIGADIER GENERAL STEPHEN N. XENAKIS, USA (RET.)

    And here is what these top military leaders of all branches of our military have to say:

    Dear Senator/Representative:

    As retired generals and admirals of the U.S. Armed Forces, we write to express our
    profound concern about the continued use of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to imprison terrorism suspects. We welcomed the Executive Orders signed by President Obama on January 22nd mandating the facility’s closure, ending torture and other abusive interrogation techniques, and returning to a policy of adherence to the Geneva Conventions. We strongly support the prompt closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison as a necessary and important step toward rebuilding the reputation of the United States as a nation committed to the rule of law. Closing the facility should be an urgent priority, and we urge you to do all you can to accomplish it.

    Whatever the current detention conditions there, past violations of the Geneva Conventions at Guantanamo have marked it around the globe as a symbol of injustice and of a great nation setting aside its laws and values for the sake of expediency. Continued detention of prisoners at Guantanamo provides our enemies with a powerful propaganda weapon which they are using to recruit forces against us, undermining vital counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and impairing our ability to secure the goodwill of people in the Middle East and our allies around the world whose cooperation is necessary for the achievement of our military goals. Serving U.S. flag-rank officers have maintained that, because of its effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat, Guantanamo is a key contributing factor to U.S. combat deaths in Iraq. Depriving the enemy of this weapon is important for our own security interests and will do much to demonstrate that the United States values adherence to the rule of law and humane treatment of enemy prisoners in our custody.

    The U.S. military has a strong interest in ensuring that all prisoners in U.S. custody are treated humanely and that our nation can lead the world in promoting adherence to the Geneva Conventions. When our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines go into battle, we owe them the assurance that, should they be captured by the enemy, the United States will be in a position to aggressively assert their rights to humane treatment. The importance of maintaining this fundamental norm has led many current and retired will be in a position to aggressively assert their rights to human military leaders, including General Petraeus, to speak out publicly over the last several years, warning against the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. Fortunately, there has been significant progress toward restoring U.S. policy to ensure compliance with these standards. Closing Guantanamo will send a strong signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. does not tolerate torture.

    We have watched with disappointment efforts to engender fear among the American
    people about the prospect of bringing suspected terrorists to the United States for trial. Our federal justice system has a proven track record of successfully prosecuting terrorists and incarcerating them safely in our prisons. Our courts have convicted 195 terrorists since 9/11. Meanwhile, there have been only three successful prosecutions of terrorists by military commissions over that same period; two of those found guilty were released in less than a year. Those convicted in our federal courts, including many al Qaeda terrorists, are serving long sentences in federal prisons. The highly respected American Correctional Association, the nation’s largest corrections organization, in a recently passed resolution assured the American public they “would be safe from harm and free
    from danger should any detainees be transferred to a facility or facilities within the United States.” Our prisons currently house more than 150 convicted terrorists and none has ever escaped.

    The American people can have confidence that our judicial and penal institutions are strong and that our military, law enforcement and corrections professionals are second to none. Closing the Guantanamo prison facility will make Americans more secure, both on our own soil and on the battlefields where our service members fight valiantly on our behalf.

    We urge you to do all you can to ensure that Guantanamo is closed promptly by sending detainees to their home countries or other nations willing to accept them, and by bringing those who have committed crimes against the United States here to face justice.


    So when do you think the Republicans will FINALLY start supporting our troops and stop their fear mongering and bellyaching?

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