George Washington and Guantanamo

Before Barack Obama decides to flood American court rooms with detainees from the Guantanamo Bay facility perhaps he should learn a lesson from our first American President George Washington. Will we decide to afford liberties to those who would deny us our own? Some people would argue that is what separates America from the rest of the world. I would instead agree with Glenn Beck that the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

In a letter dated January 8, 1778 then General George Washington wrote to General William Howe concerning the treatment of prisoners. The letter clearly indicates that General George Washington and the Board of War to their own regret would treat British prisoners with the same care American soldiers received. No rational person can claim that America has done this in our current war, unless there is some Pentagon tape of a beheading of which I am not aware. Instead America has been reserved and to our great shame actually released some detainees only to find them on the field of battle again.

It is my sincere hope that Mr. Obama will follow the path of George Washington and not the advice of the ACLU which will with no doubt cost us more American blood in distant lands and here at home. The realist in me knows though that we will most likely have to watch Mr. Obama learn this lesson the hard and expensive way, should he learn the lesson at all. Please read General George Washington’s letter below and decide for yourself which route we should take in regard to dealing with the Guantanamo Bay detainees.

**George Washington to General William Howe (January 8, 1778)

Head Qrs January 8th 1778


I am directed by the Board of War to acquaint you, that they have received undoubted information, that a Captain Dick and a number of American Officers are confined in Dungeons in England.

It is not known with whom this injurious and unwarrantable treatment originated, nor by what authority it is continued; but it is expected that you will interest yourself to have it redressed. The Board cannot but feelthe wrong, and, however painful it may be to retaliate, they are determined to treat an equal number of your Officers of the like rank, with the same degree of rigor, as long as It shall remain.

Your Favor of the 21st Ulto in answer to mine of the 28th of November, was duly received.

Before I conclude, I would mention my concern that your last Flag was fired upon. From the inquiries I have made upon the subject, the accident appears to have happened from your messengers approaching by an indirect road and omitting to give the customary Signal in time.I am Sir with due respect Yr Most Obedt Servt




The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, 13Pages: 177-178