Thursday, December 02, 2004

Gitmo - Party Prison

TBogg sent me to a pleasant Linda Chavez column in which she downplays the goings on at the concentration camp we like to call Guantanamo.

She doesn't think that torture is such a big deal, and frankly, the stuff we do down there isn't torture to begin with. I have another post talking about how horrible this all is, but I guess Linda doesn't read the DoG. So let's go over it again, shall we?

She writes:

The only possible way to prevent such horrors is to obtain information that might interrupt future terrorist plots. And some of those who might lead us to other terrorists are now sitting in cells in Guantanamo.

Even if I were to concede that torture works, (it has been shown not to, by the way), most of the people rounded up by our government are guilty of nothing other than being brown skinned. Many aren't even Muslim. Torturing a helpless Sikh cabbie really doesn't keep us safer, does it? And torturing innocent Muslim men only convinces them to take up arms against us once the legal system wakes up and orders them all released - as it did, very recently, in fact.

Would it be unthinkable to force him into uncomfortable physical positions? What about keeping him too warm or too cold in his cell, or blaring loud noises at him while he tries to sleep? Would it be immoral to make him fearful by playing on his phobias, or by depriving him of human contact for days or even months on end?

You're missing the point that whether or not it would be "moral," it's still illegal - both by United States law and international treaty. We can debate the laws within the lawmaking bodies; but we simply cannot take the law into our own hands.

Anyhow, that's not all they're doing down there. Remember the most horrifying part? They have the doctors involved, helping the torturers figure out what would be most painful or incapacitating on a case-by-case basis. I know liberals and conservatives alike cringe when this comparison is made, but that's one of the many really bad things that the Nazis used to do. I know we've been cruising down that road for some time, but jesus, do we have to make it so obvious?

And perhaps most importantly, the Geneva Conventions are here to protect us, when our soldiers are captured, Linda. Think ahead! You think there's no chance that in the next, say, fifty years, we won't have any soldiers captured in battle, ever? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to take the moral high ground and say, "For shame!" when those men and women are tortured? And this might be a little naive, but what if they would have been treated humanely, but the opposing force decides, "Hell, fuck these guys up, that's what they've been doing to us" and in fact, our "torture policy" causes our soldiers more pain? How could we live with ourselves after that happens?

Think, Linda! Think!

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