Given enough time, conduct eventually comes to light that requires justice and truth. When you're caged for five or six or seven years, that can be an eternity.
Army Lt. Col. Darrell Vandeveld worked at Guantanamo for a year as a prosecutor before resigning. He wasn't the first. At least three others had previously resigned.
Now the US is dropping the charges for five of the detainees. Defense lawyers suspect that part of the motivation is the possibility that both Obama and McCain claim they will close Guatanamo, so there may not be support for trials. Another, and possibly more significant motivation is the military's desire to prevent the testimony of Lt. Col. Darrell Vandeveld.
About the same time that Vandeveld was having doubt, investigations had begun into the fitness for duty of Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann. Hartmann was appointed to provide impartial legal advice to the Pentagon officials overseeing trials of Guantanamo detainees. Hartmann has been accused of bullying his staff, was the subject of complaints from defense lawyers, has been accused of withholding a document that could have influenced a case, and accepting as evidence information obtained while waterboarding detainees.
Testimony by military defense and prosecuting lawyers are revealing division in the military concerning the abuse of detainees. Evidence, for instance in the case of Jawad, captured when 16 and now 22, document that he was beaten and chained to the wall while in U.S. custody, subjected to extreme isolation and to sleep deprivation.
With revelations by Vandeveld of political intrusion, the questionable fairness of the tribunals, the treatment of juvenile detainees, and the withholding of evidence, the media is also providing more stories of torture and inhumane conditions used on the detainees. As these stories become more prevalent, the truth of claims may reach the public and at last have an opportunity to alter our current policies and restore some small sense of justice.
This is no comfort to the captured 16-year-old who has been isolated from home and country for over six years. Nothing atones for the evils already inflicted, but perhaps knowledge can help us.
How will these stories unfold and what changes will result with the changing of the President? Is there more than just HOPE of change for our future?