Jon Stewart Takes on Guantanamo and the NDAA

December 8, 2011

Yesterday on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart called out President Obama and Senators Graham (R-SC), Levin (D-MI) and McCain (R-AZ) on provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would keep Guantanamo open and further entrench indefinite detention as standard US government practice.

My favorite moment is the image of Senator Graham with a gangster’s tattooed tear. You’ll just have to watch:

Anyway, one of Stewart’s points is that politicians’ use of fear-mongering to roll back human rights is not only absurd, but exactly the kind of result that terrorist groups hope to achieve. Real victory over terrorism would mean strengthening—not further eroding—America’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law, at home and around the world; rejecting torture and unlawful killing–and ensuring accountability for those crimes; prosecuting those responsible for the September 11 attacks in a legitimate, fair trial; and fulfilling the human rights of the victims of the September 11 attacks.

And it would mean closing Guantanamo by the end of its 10th anniversary year, in 2012. Contrary to what the pundits say, closure is simple: each of the 171 people held there must either be charged with a crime and tried fairly in US federal court, or be released to a country that would respect their human rights. “Charge and fairly try, or release” is what we normally do when someone is suspected of a crime, and that’s what any of us would want if we were accused of having seven days’ worth of beans in our house–you watched the Stewart clips, right? As the New York Times pointed out yesterday, passage of the National Defense Authorization Act with the terrible  detention provisions “would make the detention camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a permanent symbol of injustice and cruelty around the world.”

That’s why a bi-partisan movement is urging President Obama to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it reaches him with Congress’ detention provisions. Add your voice to that call now and join us in Washington DC on January 11, 2012—the 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo prison—for a mass demonstration against indefinite detention and torture.