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NYT: "Will Obama Return Us to the Rule of Law?" (letters)

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  • Walter Lippmann
    Roger Cohen: A Command of the Law : http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/message/95748 ======================================================= THE NEW YORK
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2008
      Roger Cohen: "A Command of the Law":

      December 1, 2008
      Will Obama Return Us to the Rule of Law?

      To the Editor:

      Re "A Command of the Law," by Roger Cohen (column, The New York Times
      on the Web, Nov. 27):

      Since the beginning, I have felt that the prison at Guantánamo Bay,
      Cuba, has served only to reinforce the hatred felt by many toward the
      hypocrisy and double standards resulting from American actions abroad.

      How could we talk about democracy and freedom when there was a
      Guantánamo? How could we channel so much energy into ensuring that its
      prisoners did not have objective standards with which to determine
      their fate?

      But most of all, how could we trample the principles that prohibit
      torture that our forefathers stamped in the Constitution and that are
      part of multinational agreements of which we are signers?

      Thank you, Mr. Cohen, for declaring with force and clarity that
      Guantánamo is unacceptable for this society and that without it, we
      will be safer in the end.

      Isabel De Sio Perez
      Buenos Aires, Nov. 27, 2008


      To the Editor:

      As a former Department of Justice attorney, from 1980 to 1986, I join
      in the thanks expressed by Roger Cohen. I also hope that we will soon
      have a chief executive who knows the important ethical difference
      between achieving justice and merely achieving convictions.

      In this season of anticipation, it is worthwhile to recall an
      important observation made by Sydney J. Harris, the newspaper
      columnist, which I paraphrase here: the fabric of justice is seamless;
      we dare not cut a part of it in the name of security, because it will
      surely unravel for all of us.

      Robert Martinez
      Irving, Tex., Nov. 27, 2008


      To the Editor:

      Roger Cohen summed it up very well.

      So now, what happens?

      Will George W. Bush and his minions ever stand up in court before
      someone like Judge John J. Sirica who might set a boundary between
      criminal acts and mere stupidity and fecklessness?

      Who will demand that the wrongdoers stand before the bar of justice?

      Can the authority of the law ever be restored if the only things
      President Bush has to look forward to after Jan. 20 are a federal
      retirement and his library at Southern Methodist University? Or will
      the precedent have been set, so that the next president who orders his
      subordinates to break the law may rest easy, with nary a worry that he
      might be impeached for committing a crime?

      Robert Levine
      Malvern, Pa., Nov. 27, 2008


      To the Editor:

      Roger Cohen marks well the sneering disregard the Bush administration
      has evinced for our nation's laws and the democratic ideals those laws

      With an eight-year crime wave perpetrated by the present White House
      almost over, Mr. Cohen celebrates the election of a constitutional
      lawyer to the presidency and the possibility that our nation will once
      more honor the law and, thereby, justice.

      I support Mr. Cohen's suggestion that once president, Barack Obama
      should "set up an independent commission to investigate what happened"
      at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. I suspect the trail will not stop at Guantánamo.

      Real laws and real justice require that suspected criminals be tried
      for their crimes — in courtrooms that guarantee due process — and, if
      found guilty, punished to the full extent of the law.

      Steve Kronen
      Miami, Nov. 27, 2008


      To the Editor:

      When we release the prisoners now at Guantánamo Bay, many will go back
      to their homelands and carry out attacks similar to what we just saw
      in India.

      And despite what many say, I believe that these people would have done
      this before they came to Gitmo, and not because of it.

      So the question becomes: What do you do with a person so evil that he
      will never give up the idea of killing Westerners until they are dead?

      I eagerly await Barack Obama's plan to try these barbarians in United
      States federal court. Security, both physical and national, will be a

      Teaching about constitutional law and actually having to protect
      America and enforce the law are two very different things. We'll see
      how Professor Obama reacts to his first encounter with reality.

      Eric Smith
      Stafford, Va., Nov. 27, 2008
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