"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Guantanamo Bay

Two bloggers I follow closely - and usually agree with - Richard (of Sicilian Notes) and Scott Burgess (of Daily Ablution) have written in recent days about Guantanamo. Richard argues that the narrative of Guantanamo portrayed by media and other critics and opponents of America and the war against terrorism is "running aground". The pieces he cites certainly indicate that the wilder criticisms, comparing Camp Delta to one of the Soviet Union's Gulags, are reprehensible. Such commentary belittles the treatment handed out in the Gulags and unjustly besmirches the reputation of a great democracy. The prisoners in Guantanamo have been described, Richard notes, as treated better than Belgian prisoners. Scott Burgess' piece illustrates, similarly, that the prisoners seem well-treated. A few even seem quite appreciative of how well they are treated. Some of the complaints they have made border on the ridiculous. So it appears the general treatment of prisoners, whether regarding food, provision of Qu'rans or visits by the Red Cross, there is humane - which is what one would expect. (One recalls Andrew Sullivan's description, in 2002, of Camp Delta as Camp Holiday Inn. I leave aside for now the recent reports of force-feeding.)

But my problem with Guantanamo is on a different point: indefinite detention without trial. I can't support such an absolute policy. Quite simply, it goes against the principles of justice on which America was founded. US commanders argue that, if released, there is a strong chance some prisoners will resume their previous activities. At least one - there are probably more - prior Guantanamo resident returned to Afghanistan and was killed fighting American forces. But the evidence on which such assumptions of recidivism are based can surely equally be used to convict and sentence such individuals. Over four years after the this war began, it is time to apply due process for once and for all. As George Perkovich argues in the July/August 2005 edition of Foreign Affairs, justice must be given its due. The fact that proponents of America's strategy of spreading democracy have gone quiet on the "battle for hearts and minds" suggests the ground to be made up. I say all of this a strong advocate of the view that the world needs engaged and enlightened leadership and that the United States of America is best placed to provide it.


Blogger SgtTeddyGrijalva said...

As one who was actually there...and not firing from the hip as it seems the media was prone to do,.I can honestly say that treatment was of the highest caliber....prayer times were honored,meals and fasts were respected,as are all Holiday's,especially Ramaden...Red Cross was there twice monthly,Medical corpsmen are there,twice a day.Because of tours and visits by Dignitaries,the Gaurds were doing their job,at times with one hand tied behind their back,Di I think(as I was asked by several detainees)that I thought if it was fair that they were there?I would reply "No,they were there at the wrong place and the wrong time,My job was to keep them fed and clean and when We do finally get the right witness in there to either say yea or nay,We can finally all get on with our lives,the trouble and problem is finding the right people to clear them and to come to GTMO.There have been quite a few who have been released ,only to end up dying or captured and brought back from jihad.Do I think they are all guilty?No,but some's actions would have me to believe otherwise,I got along with about 90% of them,it was there fervent Religious that We have the most problems with,which by the Way is a good example of separation of church and state,because we have our own who believe it's Gods will for all the wrongdoing(ie:abortion doctor hitmen,Pat Robertson,Falwell etc.)

Wed Mar 15, 08:30:00 PM GMT  

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