Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear President Obama,

I read about the order that you signed late last week to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Many people have used said detention center as a symbol for many of the things that they see are wrong with our country, from torture to the suspension of habeas corpus. I'm sure that you saw Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, which gave us a peek into what has gone on there during the Bush presidency. I also read that you signed the order to close the detention center, but not to close the entire naval base. There are a lot of hopes placed upon you for an improved relationship with Cuba and I've already heard some people talk about wanting you to close the whole base in order to show our faith in what will soon be a post-Fidel government. I implore you to not listen to these people and to instead ensure that the naval base at Guantanamo Bay stays open as long as possible.

Mr. President, our national security continues to be of the utmost importance. Even though our economy is currently in tatters, the rest of the world has not yet gone away. There are people all over the world that, even in the wake of your ascendancy and the end of former President Bush's term, still want to hurt us. It's quite possible that this is true in Cuba. We hear all kinds of stories about how Cuba has changed, how they want freedom, how they are not the same Communist country that almost launched nuclear missiles at us just over a quarter of a century ago. However, I find it a distinct possibility that time has not yet healed all of these wounds. It's very likely that, even now, the soldiers at Guantanamo Bay eat breakfast three hundred yards from four thousand Cubans who are trained to kill them.

Yes, there are many domestic issues that require our utmost attention. Yes, our image around the world has been tarnished and we need to do everything we can to repair that. Yes, an opening of communication with Cuba would show a serious change from the administrations before yours and it would show that we are eager to open up diplomatic ties with countries with which we have not recently had good relations.

But, Mr. President, you see, and excuse my passion... Mr. President, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. They have a greater responsibility than many Americans could possibly fathom. These Americans weep for our society, and maybe they curse the marines. They have that luxury. They have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That the death of ideals within our society, while tragic, probably saved lives. And the soldiers' existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to these Americans, saves lives. They don't want the truth because deep down in places they don't talk about at parties, they want them on that wall, they need them on that wall. These soldiers use words like honor, code, loyalty. They use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. Many Americans use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain these soldiers to citizens who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that the soldiers provide, and then question the manner in which they provide it. They would rather those Americans just said thank you, and went on their way, Otherwise, I suggest they pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what they think they are entitled to.

So, Mr. President, as you close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, when you hear from citizens who say that the naval base should also be closed? Tell them simply that they can't handle the truth.

A Concerned Citizen


Anonymous said...

Would you say that closing the entire base would put our country in grave danger?


Josh said...

Indeed, all it would do would be to weaken a country.

Roy said...


Is there any other kind?