Monday, June 27, 2005

Col. John Kline (ret. USMC) responds to Star Tribune Editorial

John Kline: Gitmo patriots deserve our respect

John Kline is also a House Rep for the 2nd District in Minnesota. I have referenced John Kline here also.

Excerpt from the linked article about Rep John Kline:
Rep. John Kline, a Minnesota Republican in his second term, isn't a household name. But he's the rare lawmaker who has looked through the intelligence lens from both ends and knows a lot about "unconventional threats." He served 25 years in the Marine Corps, including as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, and he commanded Marine aviation in terror hot-spot Somalia in the 1990s. He knows the need for good, actionable intelligence. In the 1980s the Marines assigned him to the White House, where he carried the briefcase full of missile launch codes--the nuclear "football"--for President Reagan.

Since this is John's letter to the Star Tribune I'm reprinting the whole letter:

On Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin finally apologized on the floor of the U.S. Senate for his odious mischaracterization of our U.S. military personnel serving at Guantanamo Bay. His apology came in response to the wake-up call from a chorus of critics who highlighted the offense and disgrace of his remarks. Unfortunately, the Star Tribune remains asleep.

In a recent editorial, the Star Tribune characterized as "spot on" Durbin's comparison of U.S. military personnel conduct toward detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the genocide and atrocities committed by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, and Pol Pot.

Your commendation of statements which so clearly dishonor our servicemen and women and diminish the true suffering of the millions of victims of those regimes of terror is shocking. Your description of organizations and individuals such as the Anti-Defamation League and Democratic Chicago Major Richard Daley as an "orchestrated right-wing smear effort" is equally surprising.

I agree our focus should be on the "truth Americans need to hear."

Let us consider just a few notable truths.

Truth: Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 70,000 detainees have been captured in Afghanistan and Iraq. The vast majority have been released. Of those individuals who remain, approximately 800 suspected Al-Qaida or Taliban terrorist trainers, bombmakers, terrorist financiers and would-be suicide bombers have been sent to Guantanamo Bay. Already 235 of these individuals have been released or transferred, and an additional 61 await release or transfer.

Truth: The detainees at Guantanamo Bay are not being held arbitrarily. Each of the detainees has received a tribunal review consistent with Supreme Court rulings. At least once per year, the detainees receive an additional review by an administrative review board, based on threat, for possible release.

Truth: Officials at Guantanamo have provided unprecedented access and transparency since 2002. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been granted 24/7 access to the facility. More than 1,000 national and international journalists have made over 400 visits to Guantanamo.

Truth: A captured Al-Qaida training manual (the Manchester Document) instructs members to allege abuse and torture if captured.

Truth: Intelligence gained at Guantanamo Bay has prevented terrorist attacks and saved American lives. Through questioning at Guantatamo bay, U.S. military personnel have learned a great deal about the organizational structure of Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups; the extent of terrorist presence in the United States, Europe and the Middle East; methods of terrorist recruitment; and how legitimate financial activities have been used to hide terrorist operations.

In light of these truths, it is curious that allegations of abuse by well-trained enemy combatants should be more readily accepted than the word of our men and women in uniform who serve -- and have previously served -- our country at Guantanamo.

These patriots deserve our respect and gratitude. They are doing an excellent job of uncovering truths which will help keep America safe -- and this is the truth Americans need to hear.

John Kline, a Republican, represents Minnesota's Second Congressional District.

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