"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
The military Gulag at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where the USA locks up its political prisoners has been in the news for two reasons this month. First of all, the US Army's chief military prosecutor admitted that out of the 779 people who have been held in the camp since it opened in 2002, a grand total of 20 (that's TWENTY) either have been prosecuted or are intended for prosecution. That makes a whopping 2.5%. For the remaining 759 individuals, so far are they from being "the worst of the worst" that not even years of taxpayer-funded torture could provide even enough evidence to justify a trial, let alone secure a conviction.
Then as if that weren't shameful enough, on Wednesday Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama signed into law a bill which will extend the ban on either releasing or trying any of the illegally held political detainees at Guantanamo. This despite a promise to veto the bill precise;ly because of that provision. Still, for a President whose principal legacies seem likely to be the export of remotely-controlled terrorist bombings of innocent civilians in countries supposed to be allies of the USA, and the extrajudical murder of US citizens with inconvenient political opinions, it is scarcely to be expected that mere torture and imprisonment of innocent human beings woukd pose a significant barrier to political expediency. Hell, they should be thankful they're locked up safe in Gitmo instead of being sent home to have their skin burned off by a bored CIA drone operator in Arizona trying to target wedding parties and ambulances.
Don't get me wrong: the Obama administration has done some good things. But former President Lyndon Johnson is nowadays associated in popular memory with the illegal bombing of Cambodia and Laos and with shifting Vietnam War tactics away from engaging enemy fighters and towards terrorising and killing the civilian population, and not with signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act (the one Bonni Benstock-Intall wants repealed). As Shakespeare has Mark Antony say of Julius Caesar, "The evil that men do lives after them: the good is oft interred with their bones."