New detainee rules "too little and too late"

British attorney general Lord Peter Goldsmith strikes out again at the Bush administration's treatment of detainees, calls for closure of Guant

Published February 12, 2007 8:06PM (EST)

Lord Peter Goldsmith, attorney general for England and Wales, has called a second time for the closure of the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Speaking at a meeting of the American Bar Association, he also criticized the Bush administration's new rules for treatment of detainees accused of involvement in terrorism, saying the changes are "too little and too late."

If conservatives get hold of this story, they'll no doubt try to portray Goldsmith as just another namby-pamby liberal more concerned about the rights of terrorists than the safety of civilians here and in his country, as they have so many others. So it's important to point out that Goldsmith's criticism is actually grounded in issues of practicality: The poor treatment of detainees is hurting more than helping, he says. According to the Associated Press, Goldsmith believes that the war on terror will be won not just by force but by ideas, and "the presence of Guantánamo makes it so much more difficult to do this for all of us."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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