LETTER: Don't let convicted terrorist walk free

Friday, January 30, 2009 | 5:50 p.m. CST

In nine days, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a man who in 2004 was sentenced to death in absentia by a Yemeni judge for his part in the bombing of the USS Cole, is to be arraigned by the Guantanamo war court. But according to a Jan. 30 article in "The Miami Herald," if President Obama has his way, al-Nashiri may have all charges against him dropped. President Obama has asked for a 120-day freeze of the trials of captives now held as suspected terrorists at Gitmo. Based on current law, Army Col. James Pohl has refused the delay. Pohl's refusal of a presidential request places both parties in a deadlock.

According to Pentagon defense lawyer Navy Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Reyes, "The only way they can give effect to the president's order is by dismissing the charges." Of course the laws can be rewritten to suit the current political climate, but not in nine days. So, as Americans, we can sit and wait to see how this next drama in American politics plays out. My concern is the possibility of the charges being dropped. Would such an action set this alleged killer free? Americans need to contact their president and other elected officials and voice their opinion on this matter.

At some point, there must be definitive justice. Laws surely are written with due research and consideration. If our military cannot count on justice as defined by law being done to those men and women who have been captured while plotting or engaging in acts of murder against this country, why should they put their lives on the line for a country that is so easily swayed by whatever political view is fashionable after any given election?

According to, when the USS Cole was carried back to the shores of the United States, "more seagulls than people turned out to greet the Cole." That was nine years ago. Today, we know more about the terrible worldwide threat of growing terrorist organizations. We understand how the very rules of engagement used to define "civilized" warfare are now being turned against us by an enemy who, though does not follow the Geneva Conventions, wants the protection of its proclamations. Support Col. Pohl's decision by calling your congressmen and women and voicing that support. Do that in memory of those 17 sailors who died for you and me. Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121


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