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People and Politics Forum 30. 01. 2009

"Should other nations help the USA?"

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More information:

Guantanamo Bay - Should Germany Accept Prisoners When The US Detention Camp Closes?

One of the first things Barack Obama did after taking office was to announce that the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention facility would be closed within a year. Many terrorist suspects have been kept at the camp for years without being charged. Over 200 people are still behind bars there, even though many are thought to be innocent. If they are returned to their homelands, however, some of them face torture or even death. Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has signalled that his country would be willing to accept former Guantanamo inmates, for instance Muslim Uygurs. But Germany's interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble was quick to disagree, saying that Guantanamo is an American problem which the US should solve on its own.

Our Question is:

"Should other nations help the USA?"

In Germany, Hannelore Krause says:

"..although the war is not really our business, if Germany and Europe are asked by Washington to take on detainees then we should not rule out help for humanitarian reasons. But vetting is a clear precondition. The Americans under Barack Obama have ushered in a new era in the hope they will not intervene everywhere in war situations.."

Similar comments from Mohamed Soudani, in Algeria:

"The intention of (German Foreign Minister) Frank-Walter Steinmeier to accept Guantanamo inmates is a sign of European and especially German friendliness. Germany is a free country and everyone can live as they like. Basically, the USA should take on all responsibility because they are guilty of Guantanamo. Germany is the sole country that had the idea of helping these people.Germany, land of ideas!"

Adalbert Goertz, based in America, says:

"The USA should take over responsibility and care for innocent Guantanamo detainees and not pin its hopes on the outside world."

Maik Rosenkranz, in Germany, takes American voters to task:

"Just because Bush is gone doesn't let Americans off the hook. A majority voted for his re-election, so the USA carries responsibilty. But we should help Obama to cope with the hard legacy left behind by the Bush clan. Those outspoken members of the CDU/CSU are mostly lawyers and should know that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty."

In Iraq, Mustafa Alani wonders about double-standards:

"...those terrorists represent a threat to the whole world, but the USA neglected all international calls in the past to close Guantanamo because George W. Bush said they are "enemy warriors", and now the new American goverment is trying to divert responsiblity for those dangerous people to other countries!"

Klaus Uhle, Canada:

"Yes, the world and Europe should help the USA under Obama, as long as it serves their goals, aims and interests. And under the new president it will surely be the case quite often. As far as accepting Guantanamo detainees is concerned, the USA is solely responsible: they took the prisoners, they know the individuals involved. This massive country has enough space to let them go or to repatriate them to their own countries. That Foreign Minister Steinmeier and others would imagine we should take in these prisoners, who are still classified as dangerous terrorists, shows how far removed he is from reality and from the basic interests of his voters. The election results prove that. Germany has closed the chapter of reparations for the damage of the Second World War, to now take on additional, foreign burdens, which others avoid, would simply be unimagineable. This applies as well to the CDU and CSU, the other large scale parties. Here as well there is no representation of their loyal voters’ interests, who just as with the SPD in many respects no longer feel they are being represented."

Herbert Fuchs, from Finland writes:

"Certainly the world should stand by America if at all possible. If just to let the newly elected US President Barack Obama know that there is genuine, friendly support in the world. So many aspects of daily life are in need of being made right, if possible with old, insulted friends from regions around the world who have been turned into enemies. The entire world could prove to America through genuine cooperation that they are ready to forget the last, wasted eight years as soon as possible and open a new chapter with America on a common future. The world needs America - America needs the world."

René Junghans, from Brazil shares this view with us:

"Exactly speaking this is a purely American problem. The USA kidnapped these people, tortured them and robbed them of their existence. So the US government is morally obliged to find a home for these victims of unchecked violence and ensure they have a means to exist. It’s pretty simple for the USA to give these people a new identity and the financial means to found new lives. Just like in a witness protection program, no one would know what names they have and where they live. Why should Germany clean up Bush’s mess? On the other hand, it’s a humanitarian issue to help these victims. With "only" 200 people it shouldn’t be that difficult to find a solution. The politicians need to decide whether Germany gives the victims asylum. The best thing would be for the Bundestag to vote on the matter. Germany has become home to millions of immigrants from all over the world, certainly there’s space for a few more. But in that case, it should be carefully checked that they are truly innocent."

Erwin Scholz, Costa Rica:

"What a bad place, Guantanamo.

Bush, the "thinker": I didn't know.

He is now offering, very strange,

to all those guys his Texas ranch."

The editorial staff of ‘People and Politics’ reserves the right to shorten letters received.