Setting acceptable conditions for military detentions, trials

Your article on Guantanamo noted that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and I are working on legislation to close the detention facility there (“Feinstein, Harkin aim to shut Guantanamo,” June 21). We believe this should be a top priority.

However, the article got a few things wrong, so let me set the record straight:

Legislation I have introduced — co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) — would permit detention without charge only when allowed by the Geneva Conventions. This would change the practices of the Bush administration, which has consistently sought to operate outside the Conventions.

In addition, the legislation would not preclude military trials. Rather, it would ensure that trials take place in the appropriate civilian or military venue, on U.S. soil.

Now it appears there is debate under way inside the Bush administration over whether to close the Guantanamo facility. I hope the president does the right thing, and soon. If he doesn’t, it will be up to Congress to act.

~From Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Washington



Giuliani memo’s purpose unclear

Regarding your June 22 article “Giuliani memo cites ‘tightening race,’” I found it troubling that you never explicitly acknowledged whether this was a private campaign memo or one that was written for the sole purpose of being leaked to a news organization like yourself. The title of the article implies the former, but when you quote the following line from the document — “Mayor Giuliani’s support is based on a broad and deep understanding of his record and optimistic vision for America” — it certainly sounds like the latter is the more accurate description. I realize the era when genuine reporting was valued is long gone, but simply reprinting a politician’s sound bite and calling it a news story is absurd. At a minimum, reporter Aaron Blake should have acknowledged how he got access to this supposed “memo.”

~From Evan Oxman, Princeton, N.J.


Not in control of our government

The headline “Immigration bill survives key vote 64-35” (article, June 26) says it all. The Republicans and Democrats have joined hands in voting FOR a measure that is totally out of step with the majority of the American people. This proves, once and for all, that the people do not have control of the government, but rather these “representatives” of the people have given up their own common sense for a few lousy illegal immigrant votes. If President Bush had been as forceful in making sure the borders were protected first, rather then this amnesty bill, then the need for this issue would have died out and never seen the light of day.

The politicians on both sides of the aisle are going to pay through the ballot box for this one, if it actually hits the floor for the “official vote.” Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) can say all he wants; the American people are not so stupid that they do not realize this is a bill presented by Bush AND Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). It is not just the president’s bill; this bill has Democrat all over it and they will also have to take the heat. This vote by these senators finally should show the people of America that these government officials no longer work for them, but for themselves.

~From Larry Whitehurst, Mt. Horeb, Wis.