By David Swanson
Two statements, 144 years apart:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”
Major General Gordon Granger, June 19, 1865.
“Finally, there remains the question of detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people …. [T]here may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States …. We must have a thorough process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified …. I know that creating such a system poses unique challenges. Other countries have grappled with this question, and so must we.”
President Barack Obama, May 21, 2009.
And two statements within 24 hours:
“The Senate adopted a resolution Thursday offering a formal apology for slavery and the era of “separate but equal” Jim Crow laws that followed. After the clerk finished reading the resolution (S Con Res 26) in full, Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, the measure’s sponsor, noted that Congress has never before issued a formal apology for slavery.”
But on Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing had featured an amicable exchange in which Holder and Senator Lindsey Graham discussed the creation of a “review” procedure that might amount to “due process” for prisoners who would be held forever without trial.