- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2013

Closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, allows terrorists into this country and makes more certain their invitation into our civil courts (“Obama’s surrender,” Web, May 29). This constitutionally baseless decision repudiates the moral authority of the parents and grandparents from the Greatest Generation, which subscribed to the Geneva Conventions. These people held powerful positions earning a durable morality by confronting the ultimate tragedies of two world wars.

In Article 13 of the First and Second Conventions and Article Three of the Fourth Convention, the council defined terrorists not as prisoners of war, but as beyond the pale. Terrorists are not the armed forces, militias, volunteer corps, insurgents or freedom fighters of any country or authority. They are not an organized resistance movement carrying arms openly, and they have no distinctive identifier.

The focus of terrorist campaigns is the killing and mutilation of people defined as “protected persons” by all four conventions. Terrorists are to be isolated and provided few protections, and they are to be subjected to whatever military force is needed to crush their abominations.

The Geneva Conventions complement congressional authority to declare war, as well as presidential authority over military operations, including the confinement and disposition of captured enemies. Since the Revolution, presidents have used military tribunals to buttress a national defense behind which access to civil judicial process for citizens can flourish with other liberties. Closing Guantanamo shatters these protections by inviting terrorists onto a national stage for political theatrics equating their unimaginable savageries to common murder.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.