In the land of the free, home of the brave, and the birthplace of what many consider the world’s finest democratic experiment, a peculiar situation brews. A spot that’s been described, in not-so-endearing terms, as the Bermuda Triangle for justice – Guantánamo Bay. It’s the shadowy place where timelines stretch like old gum under a diner’s table. And frankly, folks, it’s a bit of a mess.
Consider the bombing of the Cole, a lesser-known sibling to Guantánamo’s enduring prosecution of the infamous five linked to 9/11. While the 9/11 case remains ensnared in its own bureaucratic limbo, the Cole attack precedes it, dating back to October 12, 2000.
The bombing took place the same year when we were fretting over Y2K, using dial-up, and Britney was still a thing. I was there, my SEAL platoon and our attached Special Boat Team were tasked to set a defensive perimeter in Aden, Yemen.
Yet, two decades on, the Cole case has become a dusty file in a forgotten cabinet for many, and this is UNSAT (a military acronym for unsatisfactory). And while the world focuses its lens on Ukraine and other immediate crises, justice for the Cole incident seems as elusive as finding an original vinyl of “Bat Country.” Anton J. Gunn, mourning his brother Cherone’s untimely demise in the attack, aptly said, “I can’t name another case in United States history, a criminal case, that has taken 20 years to prosecute.” Neither can I, Anton.
Jokes aside, and trust me, I can’t help but find the dark humor in a system that takes its sweet, sweet time; there’s a grim irony in America’s cornerstone value – justice.
Gitmo, in many ways, is a mirror reflecting a distorted image of American ideals. How can we preach the sanctity of our Constitution only to sidestep it with Gitmo-esque loopholes? It’s like saying you’re on a diet and then stuffing your face with midnight snacks from a late-night convenience store.
America, it’s high time we take a hard look at this military base sitcom. We must push our elected goons (I mean officials) to wrap up these never-ending trials. In the grand theater of global politics, GITMO isn’t just our off-key note; it’s an entire missed performance. For the sake of those seeking justice, those who put their lives on the line to protect it, for the image we portray to the world, and frankly, for the sake of sticking to our proclaimed values, let’s shut the GITMO show down.