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Gulag in a Teapot

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Amnesty International released its 2005 world report, including the U.S. country report highlighting abuses at U.S. military detainment facilities, and immediately drew irate criticism from the Administration. But it was not the report, nor its substance that the Administration challenged; it was the statement of one Amnesty official, Irene Khan, during the presentation of the report that has drawn fire. She stated that Guantanamo had become “the gulag of our time.” Obviously, she meant that the word Guantanamo had become shorthand for human rights abuses and illegal detention. Ignoring the substance of the report, Cheney homed in on Khan’s statement, “I was offended by it. For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don’t take them seriously.” Unusually, in that he usually leaves the trash talk to Cheney, Bush weighed in, too, saying, “It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world. When there’s accusations made about certain actions by our people, they’re fully investigated in a transparent way.”

The word ‘gulag’ appears nowhere in Amnesty’s report. But despite that, the Administration has successfully diverted attention from the substance, which is rightly a scandal, to a scandal of their own invention. It is not at all unusual for a government accused of human rights abuses to attack the critic rather than address the concerns raised, so the Administration’s tactic of killing the messenger is not unexpected, nor unprecedented. Despite any hyperbole on the part of Amnesty International’s officer, and despite the Administration’s dismissive attitude, Guantanamo Bay and other military detention facilities represent a very serious human rights problem, and a stain upon the honor and repute of the United States in the eyes of the world.

The plain fact is that the Administration has worked very hard to carve out an extra-legal status for these facilities in which neither the U.S. Constitution nor international laws of war and human rights apply. Whenever such extraordinary power is claimed, extraordinary responsibility and accountability is rightly demanded by our own citizens, and by the international community. Clearly, we need leeway to develop intelligence to prevent and combat terrorism. Given our very limited hum-int capability in the region of concern, prisoners represent the best source of information available to us. But when given extraordinary power over others, it is imperative that accountability for misbehavior and abuse be extraordinarily rigid. This Administration seems to have chosen the exact opposite tack, not only tolerating abuses, but also actually suggesting them. Now the Administration is attempting to protect anyone politically important from taking responsibility for their desperate, and unwise, policies.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent and other independent humanitarian organizations have been allowed to visit, but not inspect or investigate allegations at these facilities. The only investigations have been by the military itself. Such closed systems of accountability are inherently untrustworthy, and world opinion simply reflects a healthy skepticism about any procedure of self-investigation by our military or this Administration or its proxies. Even so, the military has found credible evidence of torture and even homicide in the camps, though not all of the evidence has been made publicly available. Such serious infractions of military discipline and the rules for the treatment of prisoners, whether covered by the Geneva Conventions or not, warrants independent inquiry into these matters. Nothing short of that will restore the honor, integrity, and any claimed transparency in the oversight of these facilities.

I wish I could say that the Administration’s striking out at Amnesty is anything more than a desperate ploy, but the report makes clear, despite any rhetorical excesses by Amnesty officials, that the Bush Administration has turned the United States into a serious violator of human rights on an international scale. Until we summon the will to investigate the many allegations of abuse, independent of people and organizations with a vested interest in protecting this Administration and the GOP from embarrassment, or even criminal liability, we will remain a focus of concern in Amnesty’s future reports, and a symbol of hypocrisy and the corruption of power to the world.

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  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Hah, i didn’t realize “gulag” was not in the report. Thank you for that bit of information.

    Of course, America is a place of many freedoms, many hopes and many dreams. mostly a place of sheer natural beauty and wonderful good people.

    There are people who piss on them all, however and many of them are following Pentagon orders right now – especially in Gitmo.

    Certainly not all and definitely not most. but an unsettling percentage.

  • Killing Joke

    Amnesty International always tends towards the extreme. If you have read accounts of life in real gulags then you realize immediately how ridiculous the comparison to Gitmo is. By all accounts the conditions the prisoners enjoy there are better than those the average Afghani peasant experiences day to day.

    They ought to be processed and released as quickly as possible once it is determined they pose no threat and have no useful information. No question. But they aren’t suffering, the accounts of Koran ‘abuse’ are hilariously trivial, and it’s not as if they were exactly model citizens in the first place.

  • Bennett

    and it’s not as if they were exactly model citizens in the first place.

    What the fuck does that mean? Where do you get information to make this kind of sweeping character judgment? Some of the detainees may be linked to acts of terrorism, but hundreds were just ordinary model citizens that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Not suffering? Locked up in a foreign country for two years for no crime whatsoever? Torture and abuse? Not suffering?

    Oh my freakin head hurts at the stupidity of your comment.

  • SFC SKI

    Bennett, the majority of those at GITMO, were taken in and around terrorist compounds, many of them after battles with terrorists. Sure, there are some that are not involved, but I doubt they are in the majority.

    I will see if I can find the link to what GITMO detainees have given us information on, as well.

  • http://www.blogforarizona.com michael

    I would say being locked up like an animal without being able to communicate with anyone, even your family or lawyer, qualifies as abuse in my book, even without torture. Given that these people haven’t had any sort of process to prove they are mistakenly detained, the fact that they are well fed and have medical care is rather beside the point. It is simply disgusting that our government should suggest that somehow these people are better off in our custody than were they free.

    I also note that you continue to argue to the ‘gulag’ comment which I explained is not in the official report and was just the comment of one official, later retracted, during the press conference. The diversion of the issue into a petty squabble over name-calling is a typical means of avoiding the real issues by the GOP and its appoligists. If you were a real conservative, you’d be appalled by what is happening, not trying to sweep it under the rug.

  • Bennett Dawson

    I’d appreciate it SFC SKI. My problem (above and beyond my problems with the entire situation of GITMO) was with assuming that all of the detainees somehow deserve to be mistreated.

    It’s so goddamned Un-American, this torture and abuse of prisoners. Makes me sick and not proud at all.

  • SFC SKI

    I agree wholeheartedly on the abuse issue, there is no excuse.

    Having said that, I would like everyone to step back and define abuse and torture and desecration, because they are buzzwords that generate more heat than light and and conflate the trivial to overshadow the serious.

    Hysteria and shouting down have replaced serious consideration and discussion of the issues.

  • http://cranialcavity.net/wordpress/index.php Marc

    Huffing and puffing.

    All this wasted breath over such a small amout of abuse. Is abuse wrong? Certainly it is, but how about a little perspective.

    Have any of you read the official Pentagon report (pdf). For that matter have you read the US military regs (pdf) on handling the Koran?

    Exceprts from the report:

    “On 13 NOV 04, a guard conducted a routine cell search. While shaking out the sleeping mat, the guard accidentally knocked the detainee’s Koran out of the surgical mask [every Koran was hung on the wall in a surgical mask to protect it] onto the floor. The guard bent down and picked up the Koran. Available reports do not state which detainee owned the Koran; however, five detainees spat and threw liquids, including urine, at the guard after the Koran was touched.”

    – “On 19 NOV 02, a detainee used his Koran as a pillow while he lay in his cell. The guards on duty recorded this incident….”

    – “On 11 MAY 03, a guard observed a detainee rip up his Koran and state he was no longer a Muslim. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”

    – “On 14 MAY 03, a guard observed a detainee rip his Koran into small pieces. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”

    – “On 5 JUN 03, a guard observed two detainees accuse a third detainee of not being a man. In response, the detainee urinated on one of their Korans. The detainees resided in adjacent cells. The event was recorded in [FBI forms] on 5 JUN 03 and 19 JUN 03.”

    – “On 23 FEB 04, a guard observed a detainee place two Korans in his toilet and state he no longer cared about the Koran or his religion. Five minutes later, after the detainee retrieved the Korans, he ripped several pages out of one Koran and threw the pages on the floor. Then he placed both Korans on the sink. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”

    – “On 22 MAR 04, guard personnel observed a detainee tear the cover off of his Koran while inside his cell. The incident was recorded in the electronic blotter system.”

    – “On 28 MAR 04, a detainee asked a guard to move a second detainee because he was throwing urine on the first detainee’s Koran. The guard recorded the first detainee’s request in the electronic blotter system. We have been unable to verify if the detainee was moved as requested.”

    And this from an eyewitness:

    Your article describing the treatment of detainees and their access to books other than the Koran is accurate. The detainees also have their own medical facility and an exercise yard where they run, play soccer and engage in other physical activities.

    I know these things because I was a guard there from Dec. 2002 to Sept. 2003. I was in a National Guard infantry unit assigned to man the towers inside and the checkpoints around Camp Delta. I have seen these things firsthand.

    I will never forget seeing an MP waiting at Guantanamo Bay Naval Hospital after being splattered by a detainees bodily fluids. You never hear about these incidents in the media and you never hear about MP’s having to be tested for hepatitis and other infections due to these incidents.

    Gitmo, like most detention facilities, will never approach any state of perfection. However, from what I have observed, most injuries to detainees were self-inflicted, such as attempted suicides.

    That notwithstanding, the general atmosphere is not threatening. I cannot count the number of times a detainee would look up at me in one of the towers and give me a friendly smile and wave.

    Prior to our units deployment to Gitmo we were trained to look for any sign of abuse toward the detainees and report it immediately. We were given cards with specific steps to take if such an event occured. This card became an inspectable item that we had to carry in our uniform shirt pocket when on duty.

    This was all done to drive home to us the idea that we were there to do three specific things. We were to keep out unathorized personnel, prevent the escape of detainees, and ensure the safety of the detainees.

    Also noted

    1.The international media makes regular visits (almost every week when I was stationed there).

    2. The International Red Cross there all the time. They don’t just make occasional visits.

    3. The FBI is there all the time. Not just to make inspections.

    Please! Cry me a river!

  • http://cranialcavity.net/wordpress/index.php Marc

    Huffing and puffing.

    All this wasted breath over such a small amout of abuse. Is abuse wrong? Certainly it is,is it systematic? No.

    Is the abuse Widespread? No.

    How about a little perspective.

    Have any of you read the official Pentagon report (pdf). For that matter have you read the US military regs (pdf) on handling the Koran?

    Exceprts from the report:

    “On 13 NOV 04, a guard conducted a routine cell search. While shaking out the sleeping mat, the guard accidentally knocked the detainee’s Koran out of the surgical mask [every Koran was hung on the wall in a surgical mask to protect it] onto the floor. The guard bent down and picked up the Koran. Available reports do not state which detainee owned the Koran; however, five detainees spat and threw liquids, including urine, at the guard after the Koran was touched.”

    – “On 19 NOV 02, a detainee used his Koran as a pillow while he lay in his cell. The guards on duty recorded this incident….”

    – “On 11 MAY 03, a guard observed a detainee rip up his Koran and state he was no longer a Muslim. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”

    – “On 14 MAY 03, a guard observed a detainee rip his Koran into small pieces. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”

    – “On 5 JUN 03, a guard observed two detainees accuse a third detainee of not being a man. In response, the detainee urinated on one of their Korans. The detainees resided in adjacent cells. The event was recorded in [FBI forms] on 5 JUN 03 and 19 JUN 03.”

    – “On 23 FEB 04, a guard observed a detainee place two Korans in his toilet and state he no longer cared about the Koran or his religion. Five minutes later, after the detainee retrieved the Korans, he ripped several pages out of one Koran and threw the pages on the floor. Then he placed both Korans on the sink. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”

    – “On 22 MAR 04, guard personnel observed a detainee tear the cover off of his Koran while inside his cell. The incident was recorded in the electronic blotter system.”

    – “On 28 MAR 04, a detainee asked a guard to move a second detainee because he was throwing urine on the first detainee’s Koran. The guard recorded the first detainee’s request in the electronic blotter system. We have been unable to verify if the detainee was moved as requested.”

    And this from an eyewitness:

    Your article describing the treatment of detainees and their access to books other than the Koran is accurate. The detainees also have their own medical facility and an exercise yard where they run, play soccer and engage in other physical activities.

    I know these things because I was a guard there from Dec. 2002 to Sept. 2003. I was in a National Guard infantry unit assigned to man the towers inside and the checkpoints around Camp Delta. I have seen these things firsthand.

    I will never forget seeing an MP waiting at Guantanamo Bay Naval Hospital after being splattered by a detainees bodily fluids. You never hear about these incidents in the media and you never hear about MP’s having to be tested for hepatitis and other infections due to these incidents.

    Gitmo, like most detention facilities, will never approach any state of perfection. However, from what I have observed, most injuries to detainees were self-inflicted, such as attempted suicides.

    That notwithstanding, the general atmosphere is not threatening. I cannot count the number of times a detainee would look up at me in one of the towers and give me a friendly smile and wave.

    Prior to our units deployment to Gitmo we were trained to look for any sign of abuse toward the detainees and report it immediately. We were given cards with specific steps to take if such an event occured. This card became an inspectable item that we had to carry in our uniform shirt pocket when on duty.

    This was all done to drive home to us the idea that we were there to do three specific things. We were to keep out unathorized personnel, prevent the escape of detainees, and ensure the safety of the detainees.

    Also noted

    1.The international media makes regular visits (almost every week when I was stationed there).

    2. The International Red Cross is there all the time. They don’t just make occasional visits.

    3. The FBI is there all the time. Not just to make inspections.

    Please! Cry me a river!

  • http://adamash.blogspot.com adam

    Excellent post. What many people don’t know is that a great many of the Gitmo detainees are there as a result of our guys offering warlords in Afghanistan money in exchange for Al-Queda people — like millions of dollars. So the warlords handed over whoever, just to make money, and now we’re stuck with a bunch of innocent people the administration doesn’t want to bring to court because of the embarrassment.

  • http://cranialcavity.net/wordpress/index.php Marc

    “A great many, Adam, how many?

    And yes many have read the same reports, it is not some exclusive that only you have seen.

    Question? How many of those that were “sold” were also among those that have been released? The article doesn’t say does it? Something to ponder.

    Here is a little more perspective on Korans, abuse, Islam, and the War on Terror:

    Is there a desecration double-standard at play, where Muslims can get away with murder (literally) but it’s only not OK if the infidels do it? Don’t think so.

    Most likely this stark contrast between the outrage in one case and the deadly silence in the other is a sort of an underhanded compliment for America – the recognition of the fact that if the United States have done (or is said to have done) something wrong, you can jump up and down, burn the stars and stripes, chant against the Great Satan, and the Great Satan will profusely apologize for hurting your feelings. But if the Islamic extremists do something wrong – something sacrilegious and offensive – and you start jumping up and down in protest, the extremists will simply come over and kill you.

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    The word “gulag” was used in a speech, not in the report, I don’t recall anyone saying that it was used in the report. It’s also still assinine.

  • http://www.blogforarizona.com michael

    Huffing and puffing, indeed.

    The Koran is not the issue; at least not for me.

    Of concern are the deaths, classified as homicides by the military itself; the sexual humiliation; the ‘stress positions’, meaning inflicting a great deal of pain to break the prisoner (commonly known as TORTURE); the threats to life by mock execution and waterboarding (making a prisoner believe he will drown); and the strong possibility of further abuses in a very lax supervisory situation where military lawyers no longer have oversight over the interrogation proceedure and neutral observers and personal attorneys have almost no access to prisoners.

    It is so sadly common for Administration appologists to pick out a symbolic issue, such as the mishandling of the Koran, or the improper sourcing of the story about it (not the substance of the allegations) or the gulag comment, which while important are almost wholly beside the point, and concentrate only upon them, rather than the real issues. In fact, the only comments you will see here in defense of Administration policy are of this type.

    In short, stop only addressing the issues you think you can sensationalize and win.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Michael, Let me go back to the question of “gulag” not being used in the report however – The NYTimes phrases it as if it is. Is there a cite that says otherwise? I was to quick to accept that without a cite. You have to pay 25 pounds for the Amnesty report so I can’t read it directly.

  • http://cranialcavity.net/wordpress/index.php Marc

    Michael “In fact, the only comments you will see here in defense of Administration policy are of this type.” [picking out a symbolic issue]

    Guess you didn’t read comment #9 quoting an eye witness on conditions at Gitmo. There is no cheery picking a symbolic issue just an account from someone that knows.

    If there is any sensationalizing happening its in the NYT and other media outlets with breathless headlines of prisoner abuse, then give no context.

    Question: Why is it an issue that the word Gulag isn’t mentioned in the AI report?

    Because 95% of the Western world and 100% of the Islamic world will never read the report.

    All they know is some AI moonbat uttered the word and now believe they are “informed” about conditions at Gitmo.

    Somebody mentioned up thread the statenment was retracted. Well so what!

    Another Amnesty International source, AI’s executive director, William Schulz, responded to questions about the use of the “gulag” analogy to Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo. When asked to defend its allegation, Schulz said he didn’t know that it was accurate, but he also didn’t know that it was.

    Despite highly publicized charges of U.S. mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, the head of the Amnesty International USA said on Sunday the group doesn’t “know for sure” that the military is running a “gulag.”

    Executive Director William Schulz said Amnesty, often cited worldwide for documenting human rights abuses, also did not know whether Secretary Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved severe torture methods such as beatings and starvation.

    Schulz recently dubbed Rumsfeld an “apparent high-level architect of torture” in asserting he approved interrogation methods that violated international law.

    “It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea,” Schulz told “Fox News Sunday.”

    In other words, Amnesty International’s report consists of nothing but guesswork and opinion, not fact.

    Michael you mention “deaths, classified as homicides by the military.” Yes there have been some. At last count something less than a dozen (out of ten’s of thousnds of prisoners and detainees) and they are all being investigated and people charged if warranted.

    Still: Just nothing but huffing and puffing over the trivial.

  • http://www.blogforarizona.com Michael

    Again, I see nothing but sensationalizing tertiary issues (comment 9 simply attempting to minimize the already minimal issue of mistreatment of the Koran). As to the homocides, the number is actually 27. As to the report, I’m afraid you have to read it to know there are no gulag references in it. The whole thing comes from a comment by Khan. The point of this being that while a single AI official may have chosen to pull out the rhetorical stops, the report is factual, even-handed, and damning as hell, and the Administration is seeking to avoid having to address the issues by focusing on a a characterization that is not part of the report.

    It makes me sick that rather than seriously engaging the problems of abuse, torture, and murder in these camps, appologists go on trying to distract the public from the real issues. Anyone who is concerned about the ethical treament of detainees won’t be carping about ‘gulags’ or Koran handling, they will be call for fully transparent independent investigations.

    Keep you eyes on the ball, people.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    You came up with an excellent title, except that it implies precisely the opposite of what you’re actually arguing.

    Here’s some prime nonsense: “Guantanamo Bay and other military detention facilities represent a very serious human rights problem, and a stain upon the honor and repute of the United States in the eyes of the world.”

    Bullshit. The US has acted very tenderly and gently relative to life and death issues at hand in dealing with the whole Middle Eastern/jihadist problem. We’ve apparently by and large handled these prisoners with kid gloves. Our HONOR is just fine.

    As to our bad “repute,” fuck these critics, and the horses (or camels) they rode in on. I’m much concerned with stopping schmucks from coming in and killing us. I’m not particularly concerned with making everyone like us. That’s not going to happen. There’s a good portion of playa hatas in the world that will despise US absolutely no matter what we do.

    The only real power most of these schmucks have is whatever we choose to grant them. For my part as one one hundred millionth of the US voting population, I grant our critics ZILCH.

    Defending ourselves is inherently rough business. There are ruthless sonsabitches who want nothing in life other than to kill US, and are doing so. I’m just glad we’ve got the roughnecks willing and able to do the job.

    In these situations, with this many people involved, there will inevitably be some inappropriate behaviors. I’m inclined to give our soldiers every benefit of the doubt. Partly that’s because they’re there defending ME, and partly that’s because all appearances suggest that our people are remarkably professional and restrained and thus DESERVE that benefit.

    When a couple of our people here and there slip the leash, we need to reign them in, and punish the few more egregious ones. Fine. But most of what is being bitched about doesn’t even qualify as anything worthy of serious consideration. Hell, I’m about half a step from burning a friggin’ Koran my damned self.

    The Bush administrations’ secretiveness on some of this is unfortunate, but perfectly understandable. Even if we’re not doing much in the way of abusive interrogation techniques, we’re going to get nitpicked to death.

    We’re probably best advised to be as transparent in these things as possible, and we may have to stay after Dubya to give us good accounting. But understand that the administration knows that anything they say can and will be used against them in the worst possible distortion and exaggeration in the court of world opinion.

    “Gulag” my ass.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Michael, but we need an Amazon link on every post

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>As to the homocides,< <

    Hey, isn't that something the christian right is advocating?

    >> the number is actually 27. <<

    Your number here is wrong. The actual number of deaths at GITMO is 2. 27 is the number of US Soldiers being charged in association with those two suspicious deaths.

    The Guantanamo to Gulag comparison is, frankly, bizarre.

    30 million people were imprisoned in the Gulags under horribly inhumane conditions and 10 million or so died.
    560 people are imprisoned in Guantanamo under conditions better than prisoners enjoy in most of the world and 2 have died.

    How dare Amnesty International make a comparison of the two? That’s like saying the life of one Taliban is worth 5,000,000 Russian intellectuals. It belittles the value of human life.

    While AI was preparing their report more dreadful human rights abuses were going on in dozens of countries around the world. In China or North Korea alone there are more than 100 political prisoners for every prisoner in GITMO and 100 unmarked graves for every dead prisoner at GITMO. On the same day that AI issued their statement Syria rounded up and imprisoned the leaders of their entire pro-democracy political opposition party.

    Something’s just dead wrong with the priorities at AI – mainly because they know they’ll get more press coverage if they attach the US and will get ignored if they point out abuses everyone has already started taking for granted.

    Dave

  • SFC SKI

    IIRC, an AI spokesperson defended the use of the term “gulag” in order to call attention to GITMO, even though the comparison was not correct.

    IF th detains are not goiing to treat the Koran with respect, why is that not as loudly protested, or at least examined?

  • SFC SKI

    Here it is: “Guantanamo has become the gulag of our time,” Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan said as the London-based group issued a 308-page annual report that accused the United States of shirking its responsibility to set the bar for human rights protections.”

    I googled it and came up with above quote. It was part of a news article on truthout.org.

  • http://www.blogforarizona.com michael

    Actually, I was off by 1 prisoner, I appologize. The figure is 26 prisoner deaths that the military says may be homocides, not 27. Here’s a link: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0316-03.htm This was reported in the NYT.

    I was not referring only to Gitmo in regards prisoner deaths. Gitmo is not even the most eggregious problem, just the most visible. The fact is that there is a string of these secret and not-so-secret camps around the world (thus the analogy, however inapt, to the gulag archipeligo ala SOLZHENITSYN). We are not talking about a few dogs of war slipping the leash. The army purposefully removed all the leashes, and that is the problem. And it is stain on our honor; just because some are too thick to see it doesn’t change this fact.

    Oh, and by the way, the incredible pollyanna sentiment of “screw it if people hate us, there are people trying to kill us” belongs in a museum. People who like you, don’t try to kill you. Given that one man with an atom bomb could decimate our country. and there is very little we could do to stop it, means there is a very real and tangible security benefit to people liking us. Anyone who supports this ‘screw the world’ nonsense is endangering American lives

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Do you think anyone in Amnesty International really cares what happens to a Koran?

    Koran abuse would normally be about the last thing on the mind of Guantanamo detainees, American leftists, or international dogooders, except insofar as it serves their political needs.

    The deaths of the two detainees, on the other hand is a real issue, but it’s already being dealt with aggressively by the military, so their complaints in that case are too little too late.

    But AI needs to get press and they need to keep donations rolling in, so they have to throw around words like ‘gulag’ and beat up America so they can stay legit, no matter how ridiculous they sound to any informed person who actually thinks about what Khan actually said.

    Dave

  • SFC SKI

    There are actually quite a lot of rules US military personnel must follow in handling detainees. Some do not, and when they are found, they are tried and punished. The terrorists have far fewer rules, and ignore them, opting almost everytime for the use of beheading theri prisoners. I notice that very few are up in arms about it, and the media refrains from airing the foootage of these actions, or reporting on them too extensively for fear of upsetting its American readership. Maybe we should be upset.

    michael, I believ that you catch more flies with honey, but we do have to draw the line at letting world opinion dictate our national security policy. If you don’t want to call the practices of some nations against terrorists ineffectual or obstructionist against the US, I’d hope you realize that people wo characterize the US as a bigger threat than Bin Laden are not likely to support us no matter what we do.

  • Michael

    Once again: the issue of Koran mishandling is not in the AI report, nor is the gulag comparison. The Koran info comes from the military itself. Both of these are ancillary issues which it is much more convenient for the Administration to talk about than the real human rights abuses that are occuring. Nobody but the appologists of this Aministration are talking about Korans or gulags. Real critics are talking of torture, lack of due process, and murder.

    And there may be rules of how to handle prisoners, but they are often not followed because JAG lawyers no longer have oversight of the interrogation process. Lacking such minimal oversight, the likihood of improper or abusive practices increases greatly. This situation is US POLICY. This Administration has orchestrated this situation and made intelligence gathering a higher priority than observing human rights. This isn’t ‘rogue soldiers’ being ‘rambuctous’, it’s soldiers being told what to do by CIA contractors and then taking the rap for it. This is outrageous not just because of the prisoners, for whom I personally have no strong feelings, but for the poor soldiers hung out to dry for the decisions of their superiors.

    And SCF SKI, you are mistake, before Bush, the US was considered an ally and friend and force for peace by many of those who NOW consider us more dangerous than Bin Laden. Bush’s policies did that, not some mysterious antipathy of the world for America. And frankly, considering how armed to the teeth and angry we are, we ARE more of a threat to world peace than bin Laden. Bin Laden can’t start a war in Syria, or Iran, or N. Korea as we are constantly rattling our sabres about doing.

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