Guantanamo "Detainees" Speak - Update

Here's an amazing story of what's being done in our name in these camps.

The Supreme Court has determined that Guantanamo detainees must be allowed to face their accusers. Now a question may get answered: "Is Guantanamo a camp full of terrorists, or a camp full of mistakes?" This question is asked in an excellent "This American Life" radio episode (clicking the photo below will play it). The answer doesn't look good for anyone.

This radio segment is something that may reach even the most diehard NASCAR-watching, Ann Coulter-smitten, megachurch-drugged Southern Republican. It's the story of a government unhinged, doing great damage to the world and to America's reputation.

Our tax dollars!

Most (but clearly not all) "detainees" were picked up for bounty money paid to warlords or disgruntled neighbors, not "swept up from the battlefield" (another of the many Dick Cheney lies we've been subjected to), and then not allowed to challenge their detainment.

This right to challenge (habeas corpus) is a very old (from the Magna Carta, signed in 1215A.D.) and extremely basic right in international law. It is included in the Geneva Conventions, which all civilized countries have long (beginning 1863) signed on to. But it had been rejected by the Bush Administration, one of many regressive, un-American directives of the past 6 years . The blind arrogance of Alberto Gonzalez and the Bush circle in disallowing this right and perpetuating the shame of the Guantanamo prison camp has hurt America and will haunt us for a generation or more on the battlefield and at home.

In this radio show, two former prisoners interviewed in the third segment talk about their experience and forgive their captors at Guantanamo. It's the best part of this award-winning three-part episode (if you don't have an hour to listen, you can skip directly to 41:35 to hear part 3, which runs 20 minutes). They are two good men caught up in a nightmare, and I wonder if I could ever be so magnanimous and forgiving.
Their perspectives and generosity are moving and amazing to me. (transcript and episode description)

I feel ashamed (as an American) of being associated with George Bush and his crowd--his bad decisions, his sophomoric black-and-white reasoning. I'm sad that our country and culture are being run into the ground by such inept warmongers, and frustrated that so many Americans have been so stubbornly and willfully boneheaded and oblivious for so long, despite all the available evidence. With their votes and their voices they have allowed our country to backslide into darker, more regressive times, and so have enabled narrow-minded, fake-patriotic war profiteers and liars (such as Dick Cheney) over the past six years.

It's so easy to follow leaders who wave the flag and preach fear, and that is the sad reality of so many Americans who crave a simple, uncomplicated answer to 9-11. The unrealistic answer the neocons have offered have deadly long-term effects.

Take this report of incompetence and arrogance on the part of people working for and in the name of our country. I wonder how many young Muslims around the world become outraged by this kind of story who wouldn't otherwise hate the U.S. for these kinds of tactics in the "War on Terror" to protect "the Homeland"?

This report describes one small incident out of thousands that are eroding the spirit of America and its goodwill around the world, as reflected by many polls and surveys over the past two years. Fair-minded people all over the world have soured on America after reading accounts and seeing images of the American government's use of self-righteous, unnecessary overwhelming force. It's not irresponsible to publish these reports and pictures of U.S. abuse and deceit, as Dick Cheney claims. It is un-American not to.

The point of bringing our leaders mistakes to light is not that "we're as bad as the terrorists"
(as pseudo-patriots on the Right want to portray dissent). People all over the world almost universally agree that we're nowhere as bad as these deluded, medieval religious fanatics in the Arab world and Iran. The point (which is so incredibly difficult for many American conservatives to grasp) is that when we give in to those among us who are motivated by vengeance instead of justice, who are willing to let our standards slip, and who condone torture and ignore basic human rights--then we begin to become the thing we're fighting against.

As Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said recently "It‘s not whether they deserve it or not. It‘s how we conduct ourselves. It has to do where if we say that our opponent can cause us not to follow the rules anymore, then we‘ve lost who we are. We‘re the good guys. We‘re the guys who follow the rule and the people we fight are the bad guys and we show that every day when we follow the rules, regardless of what they do. It‘s what sets us apart. It‘s what makes us great and in my mind, it‘s what makes us undefeatable, ultimately".

Update: Lt. Swift was recently denied promotion, which, in effect, forced him out of the JAG Corps and the Navy. I hope that after the worst president we've ever had leaves office, the next president will offer Lt. Swift his job back. We need truth-tellers like him to protect the most important thing we have: the rule of law.

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At 5:04 AM, November 19, 2006, Anonymous Edger said...

Great commenting saturday on Talkleft, Viajero!

I hope we see more of you there. :-)

At 8:48 AM, November 19, 2006, Anonymous Edger said...

btw, jimakaPPJ is the resident pet troll over there. Incapable of coherent debate, he is only there to bait. ;-)

At 10:02 PM, January 06, 2007, Blogger Editor said...

This comment is about your comment on quickedit pencil dissappearing in blogger- I thought you might still want to solve the problem: (sorry for being off topic)

I was in the same boat as the bloggers above, but managed to get back my quickedit pencil after a few days of trying. Symptoms were: quickedit pencil visible at work but not at my laptop.
It turned out that Norton antivirus (I am using NAV 2006) was the culprit, so the following steps restored my pencil!

1- Open Norton Antivirus
2- Goto Norton Internet Security Tab
3- Click "Privacy Control" then click "configure"
4- Click "Advanced", then "Add site"
5- insert"" as a new site and change its default setting as in step 6 below
6- in the box "Information about visited sites" unclick "use defaulf stting" and change it to "permit"
7- Save your new settings. That was All. Try it and may be it will work for you too

At 8:51 PM, April 24, 2012, Anonymous sunny said...

hi great blog and it's the change to other tell me the some blog tips i'm new and check out my blog and plz tell me and tell me about the muslim like 9/11 case it was already pre plan and american hate the muslims but i like the american coz i'm never thinking bad about the american


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