YOUR VIEWS | Is Moran Out of Touch?


Congressman Jim Moran is out of touch with his constituents. Several weeks ago, Moran opined in another publication that the United States should not only close the Guantanamo Bay detention center but that the detainees would be accepted by the good people of Alexandria a major city within his Congressional District.

By and large, Alexandrians are civic-minded people and are ready to do their duty if it serves the greater good, wrote Moran.

It is not our duty to take prisoners of war, at best, and blood-thirsty terrorists hell-bent on destroying the United States and Western Civilization as we know it, at worst, out of a secure detention center for the purposes of giving them trials for which they are not entitled, on American soil where potential danger is an unnecessary possibility. When did it become the duty of non-uniformed citizens to be purposely put into harms way, Mr. Moran? This is not the kind of sacrifice civilians make during wartime. Cutting back on energy, raw materials and buying war bonds these are the sacrifices civilians make in support of a war effort as our history has demonstrated.

Alexandrians have shown this public spirit time and again. The 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, who participated in planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon, was held and prosecuted in the Alexandria courthouse, wrote Moran.

As a former resident of the Carlyle Towers condominiums located directly across the street from the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse and Detention Center in Alexandria, I can attest to the media circus that gathered day after day, not to mention the inconvenience of the simple exiting and entering our homes on a daily basis while the hearings and trials occurred. I can also attest to the fact that the overwhelming majority of residents opposed those activities, many of whom spoke their minds at a town hall-type meeting hosted by Moran in an effort to assuage peoples concerns.

Several years later, and with the advent of the Patent-Trademark Office and its population, such trials will be a bigger nightmare than Moran can imagine. And he demonstrated his lack of imagination when he wrote taking the easy route and joining the chorus of those crying not in my back yard is appealing. But thats not the Alexandria I know and have represented in Congress for nearly 20 years. This, clearly, is not 1989.
Perhaps thats because you, Mr. Moran, are out of touch with your constituents and no longer know what is on their minds. Mr. Moran noted JFKs call to accept challenges for a higher purpose but this is not such a purpose, nor did he envision al Qaeda or the Taliban. The Soviet Union was tame by comparison.

When people have a mission to take innocent life, they cease to be part of the community of man and surrender the right to be treated as men. The home countries of these miscreants dont want them back. That President Barack Obama wants Gitmo closed by mid-January 2010 is purely an arbitrary decision and deadline, which as more and more members of his own party have come to realize, makes less and less sense as there is no legitimate place to put these terrorists.

Guantanamo has been working out nicely, and to a person, those who have inspected it have commented that it appears in better condition than mainland prisons. The prisoners religious observances are being adhered to along with their dietary needs and they even have more exercise and prayer time with their fellow prisoners than if they were in a supermax prison in the US. Gitmo is a far cry from Auschwitz.

Mr. Moran uses as a reason to close Gitmo that both Obama and GOP presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) pledged to shut it down. Fine, so they were both wrong. Using McCain as part of the defense is disingenuous at best, especially since he did not really represent the heart of the Republican Party during the 2008 election.

Further, the Congressman makes the mistake of writing that the enemy combatants are entitled to habeas corpus. Enemy combatants are not entitled to habeas corpus. As for the rules regarding the Geneva Convention, enemy combatants may be held until the cessation of hostilities.

Priority one is the safety of American citizens, not worrying about what other countries think of us. If our reputation is so tarnished, why then are millions of people trying to enter this country, not flee and by any means necessary (another topic for another day). This is still the greatest and freest country on earth.

Sanford D. Horn, Alexandria