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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 6, 2008 1:55 AM. The previous post in this blog was Is this your wallet?. The next post in this blog is A great place to get scrod. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of torture

Portland federal public defender Steven Wax is making a splash with this new book about the disgrace that is the American prison camp in Guantánamo, Cuba. If ever there were a reason to vote out the party in power, that awful abridgement of human rights is it.

There have been many disgraces for our nation under Cheney and Bush, but that one is right up there at the top. I still can't believe we're doing it.

Comments (18)

There have been many disgraces for our nation under Cheney and Bush, but that one is right up there at the top.


I hope we can hang onto Guantánamo so that we can have a place to retire Bush and Cheney in due course.

Ok its a bad place, but Im curious. What should we do with these guys we have in there? I dont think giving them lawyers and a day in court is the answer...they're prisoners of war. I couldnt have imagined doing that for all the prisoners we captured during WWII.

Maybe a little more torture and it will all come clear, Jon. But congratulations. You've put your finger on the idiocy of the "war" paradigm for these inmates. With no enemy state, no military objective and no way to identify an end to the "war" being fought, the only choices for these inmates are to let them go, keep them until they die, or kill them. If you're comfortable doing any of those things without lawyers and impartial judges, then I'd say you don't deserve your citizenship in this country.

Just out of interest, if they do get trials and are cleared as 'not guilty', will they then have the ability to sue? Should not those abused of their basic human rights be compensated? I would think the amount of time held would be a determinant, as well.

Could a new president shut down Guantanamo? Shut down the entire "extraordinary rendition" program? What sort of resistance would there be? From what quarter?

Jon did hit the problem square on the head, what do we do with them?

1. Let them go? Well, good chance they'll be right back to trying to kill our troops.

2. Lawyers and trials? Try them in the US and they'll all most likely walk (see #1). Little thing called Habeus Corpus will see to that. Proving they committed a crime will be a bit hard. If we try them all in a military trial and find them guilty do we lock them up for life or kill them? Both those options are not so hot either since US haters will say they were found guilty of trumped up charges.

3. Kill them? Should of been done on the field of war if it was going to be done. Doing so now without a trial will create a huge backlash around the world.

So, what would you do with these prisoners? I honestly want to know what a good plan is because I also think it's wrong to hold onto them like we are but don't see what else to do with them.

I also think it's wrong to hold onto them like we are but don't see what else to do with them.

Exactly. Were we not entitled to a government that would have thought through at least to this point before going down this path?

The only reason to hold them at GB is to subject them isolated interrogation for an extended period of time. I don't see any reason why war can only be waged against countries. They are enemy combatants. If they have been guilty of crimes in violation of the Geneva convention then give them attorneys, try them before a military tribunal, and if need be hang them.

If that isn't the law then it ought to be.

Greg C

Greg, from my understanding of the Geneva Convention they are non-uniformed enemy combatants and as such can be killed on the spot. If that was going to be done it should of been done at the time they were caught. To do it now would be disastrous.

they are non-uniformed enemy combatants

Says who?

the only choices for these inmates are to let them go, keep them until they die, or kill them. If you're comfortable doing any of those things without lawyers and impartial judges, then I'd say you don't deserve your citizenship in this country.

You really think at this point there is an impartial judge out there when it comes to these prisoners? Because I dont have that kind of faith in the system.

I say let them go. Then when they end up on the battefield again, (and they will, whether the battlefield is in the middle east or on US soil) hopefully they will be taken care of at that point.

Darrin writes: "I also think it's wrong to hold onto them like we are but don't see what else to do with them.":

Allan L. replies: "Exactly. Were we not entitled to a government that would have thought through at least to this point before going down this path?"

Maybe Allan could try and answer the big question of the future administration, instead of continuing to complain about the pathetic current administration.

Let me try again:

Assume that Obama or Hillary wins and in just over half a year, they are in office come Jan 09. Also assume, as I have, that you are an intelligent, educated (perhaps even in law?) person providing an intelligent and educated reply.

What do you advise the Prez to do:

1) with the existing residents of Guantánamo?

2) any new POWs (or people who our military claim are POWs) captured and brought to Guantánamo from our military ops in Iraq or Afghanistan?

"I say let them go. Then when they end up on the battefield again, (and they will, whether the battlefield is in the middle east or on US soil) hopefully they will be taken care of at that point."

Also known as catch and release. Works in fishing, and it is fun sport. Except for the fact that rarely do fish kill the fisherman.

But maybe Jon doesn't mind a bit of extra military deaths on the battlefield to preserve the rights of these individuals, only to ... "hopefully they will be taken care of at that point." by what? killed on the battlefield? or giving them a lawyer after they are again caught in the act?

I guess I am confused about the "what next" part after the catch ard release part. More catch and release so that we catch and release again ad infinitum?

Jimbo, do you consider dressing like a civilian a military uniform? In my book a uniform is what our military and other countries militaries wear. In war it allows you to designate between civilian from military and friend from foe.

Darrin, I think Jimbo's question goes more to the issue of whether individuals who were turned over to the US authorities by Afghani in exchange for bounties are in fact "enemy combatants", not so much to their attire.

Mike: I think what has to be done is to put the remaining inmates through some kind of trial process that our courts will approve. Those who are not convicted would have to be released on some terms (like a good many of the other inmates have been already). If any are convicted, they can be sentenced and imprisoned in the U.S. The idea that our justice system is not robust enough or impartial enough for this purpose is flawed.

I'm a little dismayed at the reactionary tone in many of the comments here. I think the government's established practice of simply releasing detainees after a period of years suggests that many of them were, at best, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nor does the evidence of investigatory practices laden with hearsay and out and out bribery of "informants" lend much legitimacy to the process either.

But maybe Jon doesn't mind a bit of extra military deaths on the battlefield to preserve the rights of these individuals

Actually, I do. One could be my brother, who is there right now. A convoy commander in the Air Force.
I guess I should have used my sarcasm tag.
And yes, in hindsight I think they should have been killed on the battlefield.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
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