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On the other side of the Guantanamo fence

Obama could have also raised the issue of political prisoners throughout the hemisphere.  Rather, it was rich with many Chamberlain moments. 

By releasing Bush Administration legal memoranda with regards to the legal bases for interrogation techniques of terrorists, the Obama Administration has given our enemies a roadmap.  As former CIA Director Michael Hayden said recently:

“we have described for our enemies in the midst of a war are the outer limits that any American would ever go to in terms of interrogating an al Qaeda terrorist. That’s very valuable information.”

“By taking [certain] techniques off the table, we have made it more difficult — in a whole host of circumstances I can imagine — for CIA officers to defend the nation.”

One wonders what the Obama Administration hopes to accomplish with the release of these memos?  Make a point?  Mollify the left or the appeaser movement?  Fuel international witch hunts against former Bush Administration officials? 

During the Summit of the Americas meeting in Trinidad this past week, President Obama could have made a real contribution to stem real torture in prisons throughout the hemisphere, but he did not do so.   There are hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians rotting in political jails in Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, and  in the most notorious human rights abuser of the Americas, state sponsor of terrorism Cuba.

On the other side of the fence, the non-U.S. side of the Guantanamo Naval base in Cuba, that is where the true torture has been taking place for more than 50 years.    Just this week, in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez – the Castro clone – arrested a leading opposition leader, an elected official. 

Rather than focus so much energy on making Americans look bad for things that the Obama Administration perceives as torture, it should focus on securing the freedom of political prisoners throughout the Western Hemisphere. 

The Summit of the Americas was a lost opportunity for the Obama Administration to project American interests in the region.  Combatting terror in the Americas, yes, even the Middle Eastern strain present in various countries, could have been at the forefront of the agenda.   He could have also raised the issue of political prisoners throughout the hemisphere.  Rather, it was rich with many Chamberlain moments. 

Our enemies throughout the region – in spite of the handshakes and good gestures from the Obama Administration – will continue to hate America, free markets, and rule of law.  They will undermine U.S. interests here and elsewhere.  And, if you oppose them, you will end up in a political jail and, yes, tortured.

Finally, while on the subject of lost opportunities at the Summit, be sure to read Mary O’Grady’s piece in today’s Wall Street Journal.

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