Guanta-no-more?

Hopefully the incoming US president will follow through on his commitment to shut one of the most shameful acts by the outgoing administration. In recent days Obama has confirmed his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay prison where not only have people (including minors) been detained without trial, the accusations of administration condoned, and even encouraged, torture continue to grow.

The website American Torture has links to many reports that details the abuse that occurred at the prison, including Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights First and the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center. Some of the details are very disturbing and I hope that those who condoned the abuses are held to account. And in my mind this means Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Gonzales. 

But closing the prison does leave the incoming administration with some very difficult problems to solve, including:

  • What to do with the 17 Chinese Uighurs who were detained for over 5 years without any charges or any evidence that they were terrorists, where they subject to brutal treatment – who the US courts have now order to be immediately released? The US Justice Dept is currently appealing the decision saying that they are still being “housed” in the prison for their own good.
  • What to do with those who were demonised by the administration as the “worst of the worst”? You know – how out of 775 brought into the prison, 420 have been released without charge, two trials have been concluded (both guilty) and seventeen are currently facing charges. Their detention is now clouded by the abuses that they have been subject to – rending much of the information gleaned useless. And of course we all know how David Hicks was convicted only after a plea bargain was organised without his counsels knowledge.
  • How can the reputation of the US be repaired? Now any country that deems to have terrorists can now say that they are only following the lead of the US by detaining indefinitely and torturing.

And David Hicks has been in the news today, saying that he hopes that the AFP does not extend his control order when it expires in December. 

Now of course I will be accused of being a terrorist sympathiser, but I believe in the rule of law, and how we do not retroactively create laws to deal with past events. Habeas corpus has stood us in good stead for over 700 years – something which Bush signed away so easily.

If the current laws are not sufficient, then they should be changed. The US, and the Howard government by acceptance, has created a sore that will take a long time to heal.

Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Broyles, one of the defense lawyers at Guantanamo Bay has said in relation to the methods used at the prison:

It speaks about the moral bankruptcy of this whole process; that there’s nothing we can do to these people that is too much, that there are no consequences for our own misconduct.

Let’s hope that those responsible for the abuse are called to defend their actions in a court of law, something that they did not afford those they demonised.

joni

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113 Responses

  1. Well said joni.

    What went on at Guantanamo Bay prison & Abu Graib demonstrates that no matter how much we refer to a society as “civilised” there will always exist a SICKNESS WITHIN when naked profiteering, xenophobia, OCD and religious fanatacism merge and dance, fed by governments, their advisors & sponsors…as that societies members sleep to the drone of an insane media & other ENABLERS…

    once again “civilisation” is proven to be a myth and the shadows of brutal beasts that exist in our genetic memories are unleashed to throw darkness across the land…and it is only the LIIGHT of REASON, EMPATHY & PURSUIT OF PEACE that drives back the SHADOW OF SHAME.

    Humanity shall remain withered & cowed & ashamed until such places are CLOSED…and TRUE JUSTICE is done.

    And HEALING.
    N’

  2. Folks, how long must we beat this drum? Another book by the same old groups making the same old claims backed by no evidence what so ever. Now we are using psychological and medical evidence? What is a travesty is just how flipping distorted and out of control the chanting has become. Please tell me what these quote “experts from UC Berkeley” are using as comparison for the psychological and medical states of these detainees prior to Guantanamo? Kind of hard to insist damage of any kind has been done when you don’t know what you started with? Look, most “rational” people realize that “water-boarding” was most likely performed on some unlucky individuals but to insist to this day that torture continues, or such techniques were widespread without any evidence or even an agreed upon definition of torture is simply loony. Of course Obama will close Guantanamo; he has got to give his electorate something to cheer about and it is an easy fix; much like Rudd and his apologies to end all apologies. Really though guys, a dose of reality is highly needed on this subject. Evidence, not circumstantial hearsay from former inmates would be nice for a change. When you get the hundreds of guards that have been through there defecting and reporting mass abuse then you will get my attention, otherwise it is all more of the same and meant to sell books. So yes, Obama will close Guantanamo and send the detainees, present and future to where? We are now going to afford Constitutional rights upon foreign combatants for the first time in US history because it makes us feel good? I believe some have their hearts in the right place but as usual, their brains are nowhere to be found and the authors know it! I posted these some time back on one of Tim’s posts.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article2169795.ece

    Somehow, I doubt this gentleman got a mention?

  3. And CNN just reported that there are five Algerians locked in Guantanamo because they were “on their way to Afghanistan”!

    Ah yes – thought crimes.

  4. And this morning on the news, I heard about a boatload of people that have been captured off the coast of Australia, and are going to be sent to Christmas Island for “processing”.

    FFS, we’re talking about people here, not fricken canned ham..!

    “processing” how insulting is that?

    Imagine arriving at Kingston Smith airport to be greeted with signs saying “this way for processing”.

    It sounds like F**kin Auschwitz!!

  5. Joni,

    I just heard the same news and we still don’t know what evidence the government had against them but instead a civilian judge made the call based on, and I quote the article below: Judge Leon’s definition of an enemy combatant, which “he said included al Qaeda or Taliban supporters who directly assisted in hostile acts against the United States or its allies”.

    So now a civilian judge gets to determine what is and isn’t an enemy combatant? What a flipping mess.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/20/terror/main4620638.shtml

  6. Reb,

    You cannot be serious; comparing illegal aliens to Nazi Germany’s processing and treatment of Jews? I guess you would say all are welcome in Australia as you all have the infrastructure to support the entire 3rd world or anybody wishing to come? Last time I checked you guys were having difficulty supporting 21 million. Yes they are human beings but sadly there are an infinite number of them all wishing to do the same thing. Laws are in place to protect us from ourselves as well I suppose!

  7. sparta,

    So you will continue to deny the evidence that the articles that American Torture details?

    And you want those who perpetrated the torture to come forward en-masse and confess? Sure.

    These are real people that have been treated appalingly by the current US administration and I will keep on and on about it until those responsible have been brought to defend their actions.

  8. Closing Guantanemo Bay is a good start, but what about all the CIA secret prisons, and policy of outsourcing torture to countries like Egypt?

    As long as the CIA is allowed to continue it’s practise of state sponsored torture activities nothing will really change, just go underground.

    I wonder whether David Hicks will have any grounds to have his ‘conviction’ overturned or nullified?

    From reading Leigh Sales ‘Detainee 002’ it is clear there was no real evidence against him. His guilty plea was clearly obtained by coercion (plead guilty or face indefinate detention in a hellhole) and should not stand.

  9. Tracie

    Totally agree – the failure to mention the CIA Camps and the outsourcing of torture was a bad ommission on my part.

  10. Not only outsourcing torture to other countries but outsourcing interrogation and even the military to private companies so they don’t come under international laws on combat.

    ————————
    Tracie David Hicks had little to do with the plea bargain, from what I understand it was arranged between the prosecution and defence then handed to David as a fait accompli.

  11. Gecko I assume he would have had to agree to it. Do you think Hicks has any chance of appealing this?

    I am pleased the AFP are not going to applly to have Hicks control order continued, but he can hardly get on with life as usual when he hs the stigma of being a convicted terrorist.

  12. Joni, let’s accept that everything written about Guantanamo Bay is true. I think that when David Hicks emerged rather more sveldt than had been reported shows that there is a fair bit of BS, but let’s accept that it’s all true. What exactly should the US do with prisoners it captures on the battlefield? We are where we are now, no amount of weeping will change the past, but what can we do about the future?

  13. Joni,

    First of all let me just say that GW and his joke of an administration have handled this entire thing as incompetently as anybody could. However, what evidence do you speak of? I am not trying to defend G-moron; I am simply asking if there is anything else out there other than prisoner accounts? Especially as we know the SOP of the detainee is to claim abuse. Surely if the abuse is as rampant as many seem to think we would at the very least, have ex-service members coming forward? Why would some like the post I gave be asking to stay if things were such a hell hole? Most in Gitmo live better than they did in their countries of origin.

    Also, where is the evidence that we knowingly fly people to other countries to be “tortured”? Oh yes, that movie called “Rendition”. Hollywood is always right after all and without an agenda. What I have discovered is this whole phenomenon has gotten completely blown out of proportion and now verges on the ridiculous.

    Do I feel we should have the power to hold people indefinitely? No but I also don’t feel that enemy combatants should be entitled to the protections of the Constitution nor do I believe there is systematic torture occurring. We are dealing with an argument between both extremes here. This topic has been so politicized at this point I am frankly surprised so many dive head first into condemning when they clearly have nothing to make their case with? If you have something other than an inmate said this or that I would be more than willing to take a look? In the meantime should Guantanamo be closed, yes but again, what do we do with them? How about sending all these innocent blokes to WA Australia? No real threat, right? Most are just innocent goat herders after all in the wrong place at the wrong time, much like Mr. Hicks? Like Ren says, you don’t even need to “process” them as they are just people.

  14. What they did before Guantanamo and what just about every other civilised country does. Why does America have to be outside the international community?

    And note these actions only apply to foreign nationals whilst US nationals caught fighting US troops on the “battlefield” (misnomer methinks) are treated by the normal US rule of law in US civilian courts, and US nationals caught fighting other Western countries are treated by that country’s civilian or international laws, yet even then the US usually goes in to fight for their justice or to get them repatriated back to the US to face justice in US courts.

    See a double standard here?

  15. sparta,

    So much of what has gone on at Gitmo and the other black sites has been released, and not just that from detainees.

    http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/torturefoia.html

    For example this from the CIA?

    http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/36104res20080724.html

    What more proof do you want?

    Do you want photographic evidence?

    Those responsible must be brought to defend their actions.

  16. Stephen Grey for Frontline

    As Tyler Drumheller, head of the CIA’s European division from 2001 to 2005, says, in my interview for FRONTLINE/World, the assurances obtained from countries like Egypt that prisoners would not be tortured were hardly to be treated as serious. “You can say we asked them not to do it — and they do say that — but you have to be honest with yourself. There’s no way we can guarantee they are going to do that.… And if you know that this is how this country has treated people in the past, you have to be honest that that is going to be a part of (it).”

    How about directly from director of the CIA himself:
    In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on September 7, 2007, CIA director General Michael Hayden said the numbers of renditions, in addition to the 100 sent to black sites, was in the “mid-range two figures.”

  17. And what about the trial in Italy (an ally of the US) where the US is refusing to allow their people to stand trial?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/24/AR2005062400484.html

  18. So this is how the ACLU frames these documents:
    11/19/2008 – Documents Obtained By ACLU Provide Further Evidence That Abuse Of Iraqi Prisoners Was Systemic

    Now here is some of the evidence actually found in this particular memo:

    “Investigation into allegations that 8 Iraqi men captured in a home raid in the Slaikh Alrabee neighborhood”

    Army Criminal Investigation Command, “Headquarters” and USACIDC, determined that there was “sufficient evidence to believe that the assault, cruelty and maltreatment did not occur as alleged.

    “An Iraqi detainee alleged that between June 14th and 20th, 2003 – immediately after his capture by coalition forces – an Egyptian interpreter slapped him with a sandal, punched him, and “mildly mistreated” him at a location called “Kilometer 22″ while several Americans in civilian clothes stood by”

    The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation

    “Allegations were brought forth that a detainee was assaulted while at BIAP. ”

    Investigations did not establish substantial evidence to prove or disprove the allegations brought forth by the detainee.

    “Investigation into allegations of detainee’s abuse and maltreatment. Detainee said that he was severely beaten by American soldiers at FOB Headhunter.”

    The accused were found to be not guilty.

    “The information indicated the victim alleged he was abused by members of the CIA while being held for 16 days in a small room, at an unknown location.”

    The CID investigation memo concludes no evidence of Abuse, Cruelty and Maltreatment or Communication a Threat were found in support of the victim’s allegations of abuse.

    I have read alot of this info at great length and other than incidences of “individual” soldiers acting illegally or committing a crime and a dispute between tactics used by the FBI and that of the Military at Gitmo, which resulted in the governing authorities siding with the DOD I regret to inform you there is little if any evidence pointing to a “policy” of torture. In fact, much like this blog, it appears authorities can’t even agree among themselves on what even constitutes torture so how do we even claim it is being committed? Look, I understand you’re passionate about the “alleged abuses” but have you honestly waded through this stuff by chance? I am not trying to be condescending but as somebody who has I can tell you there isn’t anything I have come across yet? Maybe such evidence will come to light at some point but to keep vehemently condemning the US for committing the egregious human violations many do smacks of something else. Do you not think the way the ACLU framed this “evidence” on their website as such even somewhat alarming in the least?

  19. Sparta. Try waterboarding. Torture is taking a person to the brink, where they are at the cusp of death or believe that they are on the brink, but yet do not die.

    The Bush team have admitted to waterboarding. Case closed.

    Let’s try a different scenario. American servicemen are waterboarded by the Japanese WW2. And so you would consider that these US servicemen were not tortured?

  20. Exactly Joni. The US has only added insult to injury by expecting immunity for its soldiers.

    The Iraqi cabinet has just agreed to a deal to allow US troops to stay in Iraq until 2011 and:

    Iraq had demanded the right to prosecute alleged crimes committed by US troops and foreign contractors, while the US agreed to lift its immunity only for those who committed crimes off-duty and off their bases. Mr Dabbagh said Iraq had also succeeded in securing the right to investigate all cargo going in and out of the country.

    So basically the US thinks their soldiers are above the law when carrying out their duties to the US Govt, anyone who dares resist has been locked up on little or no evidence and left to rot at POTUS’s pleasure where there is evidence they have been tortured AND used as sick entertainment by dehumanised US troops.

    It is exactly this sort of arrogance of the US that has turned so many people around the world against them.

    According to the US it is perfectly OK for their troops to rape, abuse and possibly kill innocent citizens. Wasn’t Saddam Hussein accused of the very same thing?

    Yes it is going to take a whole lot more than simply closing down Gitmo to restore the US’s reputation.

  21. According to the US it is perfectly OK for their troops to rape, abuse and possibly kill innocent citizens. Wasn’t Saddam Hussein accused of the very same thing?

    Sorry that should have said:

    According to the US it is perfectly OK for their troops to rape, abuse and possibly kill innocent citizens while on duty. Wasn’t Saddam Hussein accused of the very same thing?

    It was also my emphasis on the quote in the last comment.

  22. Min,

    Well thanks, now I get it! Great, so I guess we can chalk water-boarding up there with say, pulling out ones finger nails then? You see, herein lies the problem. It is a purely subjective term but one that is thrown out there so often everybody has developed their own opinion and legally there simply isn’t a universal acceptance of any one definition. If it is meant to mean anything that causes discomfort than we might as well throw in having to listen to GW give a press conference!

  23. Just waterboarding eh Sparta?

    The Department of Defense released the autopsy reports in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace.

    One of forty-four U.S. military autopsy reports reads as follows: “Final Autopsy Report: DOD 003164, (Detainee) Died as a result of asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) due to strangulation as evidenced by the recently fractured hyoid bone in the neck and soft tissue hemorrhage extending downward to the level of the right thyroid cartilage. Autopsy revealed bone fracture, rib fractures, contusions in mid abdomen, back and buttocks extending to the left flank, abrasions, lateral buttocks. Contusions, back of legs and knees; abrasions on knees, left fingers and encircling to left wrist. Lacerations and superficial cuts, right 4th and 5th fingers. Also, blunt force injuries, predominately recent contusions (bruises) on the torso and lower extremities. Abrasions on left wrist are consistent with use of restraints. No evidence of defense injuries or natural disease. Manner of death is homicide. Whitehorse Detainment Facility, Nasiriyah, Iraq.”

    Sorry Sparta given the choice of whether to believe the US Govt or civil rights groups I’ll go for the latter.

    I don’t think the US Govt will be getting any awards for honestly in the near future.

  24. Sparta. The US was once a leader against torture. And anyone with any common sense know that this means inflicting pain, mental or physical against other persons.

    WW2, the US of A saw what the Japanese had inflicted on her own troups; the Japanese not being a signatory to the Geneva Convention and thereby became one of the leaders in the fight against torture and were a major supporter of the Geneva Convention.

    Then somewhere along the line the US started pussy-footing and deciding that strategies used by both the Japanese and the Germans WW2 were acceptable as long as there were legal loopholes to be wriggled through.

  25. Sparta..apologies I didn’t address your first issue. All I can say is that I almost drowned as a child and I would not honestly want to inflict this on anyone. Waterboarding is one of the worst forms of torture as one’s most basic instinct is to breathe. Being unable to draw breath instills the person with a feeling of acute panic…just ask any professional diver.

    And now we get to the point, that in 6 years Gitmo has produced a whole TWO convictions. And so who have they been waterboarding?

  26. TracieofFNQ,

    With all due respect Tracie, get a grip. I believe we were originally discussing Gitmo and torture? Perhaps if you were approaching this subject with an open mind you would see the problems in allowing our troops to face “civilian courts” in a country technically still declared a “war zone” while we are fighting an entity that isn’t bound by the Geneva Convention? Furthermore, you might take into consideration that in other countries where this isn’t the case, those same countries agree to such terms at their leisure. I might point to Japan and crimes committed by US soldiers, in which the US regularly turns them over to Japanese courts when there is sufficient evidence. I might also point out that it is a cottage industry to sue the US over any grievances a foreign national has in relation to treatment by its soldiers, real or not. So where you obviously are blinded by the fad of, “American Imperialism” condemnation and cast everything under that guise, you fail to see there is usually a lot more to the story. I mean, some here seem so vested in their worldview that even when I clearly point out an agenda on the part of the ACLU nobody says a word?

    It is one thing to condemn individual soldiers when there is sufficient evidence and quite another to blame the US government or imply such acts are US sanctioned or policy. Again, I thought we were talking about the “horrors” of Gitmo here anyway?

  27. Sparta

    I used the link of the ACLU to show that people inside Gitmo have raised the issue of torture because you challenged the l reports that have come out of American Torture. I freely admit that the ACLU has an agenda – most NGO’s do.

    I personally think that all the pieces of evidence do point to a systematic and deliberate culture of torture approved and encouraged by the current administration. Which is why I cam careful to say that those responsible should be made to defend their actions.

  28. Sparta. It’s not a war zone, and this is why the US have been able to hold people contra to the Geneva Convention (they’re not soldiers/it’s not a war zone) – avoid the rules of War/avoid the rule of law for the US viz habeas corpus.

  29. Min,

    “And so who have they been waterboarding?”

    Kalik Sheikh Mohammed is the only one that I am aware of but I imagine there were probably others? Now if we could just get the World Community to agree on one definition of torture we could start charging those guilty of it! Goodnight Australia!

  30. Good grief Sparta..just do a Google search, I’m sure that you’ll find it.

  31. I’m in a cranky mood this arvo, so forgive me if I let rip a bit. I think the total number of people incarcerated in GB is about 775? Is that right? Most of these people have, at the very least, been captured whilst apparently working with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Is that also correct. A good number have been subjected to various forms of torture. Whilst all this has been going on…….

    Approximately 25,000 young Islamic women have killed for compromising the “honour” of their families.
    Hundreds of thousands of young Islamic women have been subjected to genital mutilation.
    Many young girls have been stoned to death for adultery having been victims of rape.
    Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been ripped apart by terrorist bombings.
    Deity knows just how many people have been killed in various conflicts in Africa.
    There remain hundreds of wrongfully convicted prisoners in Australia alone, victims of a police force and media desperate for a conviction, any conviction, for various crimes. I reckon there’s a good chance we saw another go down today.

    There remain hundreds of Aboriginal, and other, children who are the victims of sexual and physical abuse every year whilst society wrings their hands about the cruelty of breaking up families.

    Yet we go on and on and on about these poor souls in GB, there only because they were captured fighting to defend (I won’t say impose) the very culture that condones those atrocities described above. Waterboarding??? Pffft!! I’ll take that over genital mutilation any day.

    Forgive me while I save my tears for those more deserving.

    As for the Geneva convention? When those planes flew into those buildings, I’m not sure that they were too worried about the Geneva convention. It’s like trying to win a game of football where only the opposition team is allowed to tackle!!

  32. Most of these people have, at the very least, been captured whilst apparently working with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Is that also correct.

    …ummm no. Many were handed in by the warlords in Afghanistan for the hefty reward being offered by the US or for personal gain to get rid of business competitors as the famous story about the Afghani taxi driver who was one of the first incarcerated illustrated. Over the years there were a large number prisoners released from Gitmo without being charged. .

    That form of using the plight of other abused groups throughout the world is a straw man argument and it is exactly allowing so called civilised countries to adopt institutions like Guantanamo to usurp the common law and human rights that leads to the other abuses you mention.

    This is an abuse of the very laws you are saying we should be upholding and making noises about in other areas, but if we don’t attack the usurping of human rights and common law by the leader of democracy in the world then it makes it difficult to successfully criticise others abusing human rights and common law.

  33. Waterboarding??? Pffft!! I’ll take that over genital mutilation any day.
    James it must be a very shitty day for you to say that.
    Besides all torture is thought to be death until it stops. Not to mention the mental scares that will far outweigh your phyiscal ones.

    Its friday James at least you have the weekend ahead .

  34. I really appreciate your alternate perspective on this Sparta but it’s the kind of frightening double standards embodied by US administration support for such legal (deliberate) Black Holes as Guantanamo that really smears your country’s international reputation.
    Despite skirting & trying to plausibly deny the inherent “wrongness” of such places I think most people, particularly outside of the US, see it very clearly for what it is.

    Not the correct way to win hearts & minds, if indeed that is a true objective.

  35. Great posts Gecko (32) and HD (34).

    As long as this sort of hypocrisy is defended by the US, they will have a hard time regaining international respect. They want to detain people with no evidence necessary, while they expect immunity for their soldiers and mercenaries.

    Actions of recent years will come back to bite. Just like the mess we have now is a result of CIA collusion with the Muhajideen in Afghanistan in the ’80’s.

  36. “They want to detain people with no evidence necessary, while they expect immunity for their soldiers and mercenaries.”Tracie ofFNQ

    Yeah, God’s own Country and all that US exclusive rubbish.
    Mentioning mercenaries, Blackwater is truly frightening (virtually no international culpability & filled with hardened killers from many of the last 20 years worst blackspots for US interventions in Sth America etc.) & I wonder what direction such privatisation & outsourcing of US wars will take under a Democrat administration?

    If the US wants to assume the rhetorical moral highground, as it often postures to do, then it must be susceptible to the same legal consequences as it sees fit for the rest of the world.

    Sometimes I think we are treated just like corporate cattle to be fed off of as long as we assimilate the official doctrine. Our own contemporary government(s) are as guilty of furthering this capital harvesting as any.

  37. HD,

    “Our own contemporary governments are as guilty of furthering this capital harvesting as any.”

    Geez, I thought perhaps you had joined Tracie “off the reservation”. Well obviously I don’t share the melodramatic realities a few of you do, but it is quite annoying as an American to have “most” of the world constantly begging for our assistance (financially, militarily etc) and in turn then condemning us for everything that goes astray once we lend that assistance. For heaven’s sake, if any here have a better alternative then Gitmo, fighting “Islamic Fundamentalism”, funding aide to feed the world then put up or shut up! I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if you don’t like the way the US conducts itself around the world then encourage the rest of the world governments to start cleaning up their own backyards! Neither I nor most of my countrymen think we have the moral high ground but as nobody is willing to step up and lead on any front, we simply have no choice! To then criticize the manner in which the help is given seems quite hypocritical. Reminds me of the annoying house guests that ask for a place to stay, you oblige, and then they bitch about the accommodations.

    Nobody here has a clue as to what to do with terrorists captured on the battle field but all beat the drum to close Gitmo. Where shall we send them? I notice nobody is clamoring for us to send them to Australia’s shores (Adrian, joni, Traci, HD, Min). Just goat herders right Adrian, well then you guys take them? Not even the Afghan government wants some of these guys so what now? Let me guess the American Tax payer should give them room and board in some swank Miami hotel until their hearings and also afford them the rights of an American Citizen? I wonder how many would then turn around and ask for asylum in the US to boot? I can imagine most would be looking for a way into Gitmo if that was the end result. In all honesty, I understand the legal ordeal that Gitmo has created but we are simply writing the rules for a new type of warfare were previously there was none, as we fight it.

    Clearly all here are adept at criticizing but that is the easy part. Instead of theorizing or obsessing about a theorized “policy of abuse” at the hands of Uncle Sam, why not confront the real world as James has mentioned? Oh yes, because that would actually require the rest of the world to actually DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN BITCH AND MOAN! If the rest of the world spent even a half of the resources and time they do on trying to go after the bogey man a.k.a. the US, towards real problems, we might get somewhere. Harping on about the US is so old and tiresome. Gitmo will be closed soon enough and the world will rejoice but the real problems James eluded too will still be there and guess who they will be expecting to fix them? Discussing Gitmo seems like a “drop in the ocean” but clearly some find purpose in lamenting on about it; which is of course, anybody’s prerogative.

  38. sparta

    The problem is not Gitmo itself. It is the fact that basic human and legal rights were signed away by the administration. Basic rights that if they were applied to Gitmo we would not have reason to complain.

    Things like:
    – Gevena Convention (the “quaint” convention)
    – Habeas Corpus
    – torture

    If the detainees are the ‘worst of the worst” then provide the evidence and try them in a court of law.

    And your “woe is us” on the fact that the US is the worlds policeman is just boohoohoo. Act with honesty, respect and the rule of law and we would not have grounds for complaining.

    The rest of the world was behind the US after 9/11 – and the Bush administration squandered that goodwill through their actions. And notice I criticise the administration – NOT the US people.

  39. Joni@38 good post. Agree totally

  40. Well America sure knew what to do with US citizens who fought them on the “battlefield”, it just seems they have lots of troubles knowing what to do with the foreigners.

    Bloody hell “terrorists on the battle field.” Just what do you class as a terrorist, someone not in a uniform who fights? Then what about all the US and allied operatives who fight out of uniform and Blackwater, I guess they are also terrorists fighting on the battlefield? Seems to me the US now classes anyone who fights against them for any reason whatsoever as a terrorist whilst it categorises those terrorists who fight on its side (like the warlords of Afghanistan and OBL when he supported the US) as allies and fighters.

    I also notice you indirectly raise the collateral damage argument. Yes there are real terrorists who have been subject to rendition (notice you don’t argue that rendition doesn’t exist anymore) or who have been sent to Gitmo, but there have also been many innocents who have been tortured or who have died, but I guess that’s just the price that has to be paid in fighting America’s never ending “war on terrorism”. Just cast out a big net and crush everyone in it, we’re sure to get one or two real terrorists this way and the others, well they are only Arabs after all, it’s not like they are anything really important like Americans or anything. American terrorists who fight against America must be allowed the full US justice system, it’s the only right thing to do with American citizens. Oh and whilst we’re at it as much as possible do not allow American citizens and companies to come under other country’s laws, only American laws are good enough for Americans.

    Another point is that terrorism was aggravated by the US, a fact the US itself has admitted, so the US is attempting to (badly) handle a problem it exacerbated, and in doing so has mostly alienated the world against it and created more terrorism.

    And finally in comes Sparta with the US saviour of the universe argument yet again, and having to suffer the barbs of criticism for being it. Oh poor hard done by America who all alone is fighting for truth, justice etc. It had to write new rules and laws for a new type of war (that has been going on as long as wars have and actually predated formal warfare), a type of warfare the US supports when it suits it and then uses it again to justify its own usurping of democracy, human rights, illegal invasions and even for political gain for an administration. And ironically a type of war it fully utilised in fighting the British when seeking independence.

    For stuff’s sake Sparta, the US had almost the whole world onside after September 11 2001. Nearly every democracy and many other countries including Arab ones were saying that all their resources were there to help the US and they would do whatever they could. What did the US do with that outpouring of sympathy and genuine offerings of assistance, it spurned the world, said it was their way or no way, with us or against us and then illegally invaded a country that had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks upon the US whilst still supporting those countries that were the source.

    Now you come in with this outrage about others doing nothing and poor America having to go it alone, oh please. The first problem with America is that it never wants to work with others unless those others do it its way. There is no equal partnerships with America, it’s America first and everyone else fall in line a long way behind. It mostly does business the same way and doesn’t care who it crushes in its greed.

    The next problem I see with America is its blatant hypocrisy and double standards. Of all the things I observed about Americans when I lived there, with most being very good, hypocrisy was the one that stood out as the biggest negative. They had no problem reconciling the fact they expected others to do what America wanted whilst doing the opposite themselves, as long as that benefited America. Do as we say not as we do. We see it with the torture argument, where torture or violence against Americans is harshly condemned and unbridled outrage expressed world wide across every media outlet possible. Yet they have no trouble reconciling they conduct torture or at the least sanction it themselves.

    I think you would have a more valid point Sparta if America itself did what it often expects the rest of the world to do instead of always trying to dictate to it whilst ignoring those dictates.

  41. what happened to the gecko?

  42. I was just thinking the same thing… I think we now have a bearded dragon.

  43. Sparta some information that may interest you.

    While the amount of aid from some countries such as the US might look very generous in sheer dollar terms (ignoring the percentage issue for the moment), the World Bank also points out that at the World Economic Forum in New York, February 2002, “[US Senator Patrick] Leahy noted that two-thirds of US government aid goes to only two countries: Israel and Egypt. Much of the remaining third is used to promote US exports or to fight a war against drugs that could only be won by tackling drug abuse in the United States.”

    And as Saradha Lyer, of Malaysia-based Third World Network notes, instead of promoting investment in health, education, and infrastructure development in the third world, this money has been channelled to the North, either because of debt servicing arrangements, asymmetries and imbalances in the trade system or because of inappropriate liberalisation and privatisation measures imposed upon them by the international financial and trading system.

    My emphasis.

  44. HD happened to Gecko, he made me feel self conscious, if there is such a thing on an anonymous blog.

    Since others here had pics of faces (I guess their own), I thought I would as well as this is a fairly open and honest community. I found an oldish pic of me after I grew my hair on getting out of the Navy (I had a beard for a lot of my Navy career) but still looks a lot different to what I do now. Currently I’m a respectable short haired beardless businessman (still riding motorbikes) as I have to give presentations around the world.

    So my flirtation with a gecko was very short lived and Adrian is back for good for that’s who I am, Adrian of Nowra.

  45. Adrian (40) excellent post.

    Seems to me the US now classes anyone who fights against them for any reason whatsoever as a terrorist whilst it categorises those terrorists who fight on its side (like the warlords of Afghanistan and OBL when he supported the US) as allies and fighters.

    Freedom fighter or terrorist? Depends whether the US likes you today or not.

    Given the unglorious history of US interventions, the US is arguably the biggest terrorist state on the planet.

    Note also many ‘interventions’ were economically motivated – new ‘free markets’ anyone? Spreading capitalism in the guise of democracy.

  46. Very glad to see you here Legion!

  47. Legion @ 46… I think I missed the point?!

  48. Adrian,

    “Sparta with the US saviour of the universe argument yet again, and having to suffer the barbs of criticism for being it”

    Come on Adrian, I don’t proclaim the US to be the Global savior but given are commitments around the world you cannot be serious? I realize you’re at pains to acknowledge any US achievements where as I regularly acknowledge US failings but your predictable US bashing takes the cake this time. If you are unable to see the difference between supporting guerilla tactics against “uniformed” combatants or terrorists and those who simply murder civilians for political gain then you’re not as enlightened as I had thought. I can’t say that I remember any British civilians being murdered or Tories for that matter at the hands of any US colonial collective, uniformed or not, but perhaps you could point me in that direction? However, I would agree that the definition of what is and isn’t a terrorist does get rather confusing. Now days, anybody who decides to pick up a weapon and fire on Coalition troops is Taliban or in the case of Iraq, Al-Qaeda. With that kind of definition we will never be able to declare victory. Perhaps that is what some in Washington had in mind to begin with?

    I do find it hilarious that your excuse for most of the rest of the world not doing their share on most fronts is due to US policy post 9/11. I would ask, what is your excuse prior to 9/11 then? The old argument that we have made more terrorist is even more hilarious. We are talking some 10 million hardliners to begin with if we stick to the old 1% of the Muslim world estimate. I guess we should just continue to let the Middles East ferment and delude ourselves that diplomacy will make any progress; seems to have worked real well prior to 9/11 wouldn’t you say? HD mentioned hearts and minds but how does one change hearts and minds without offering an alternative? Without intervening before the next generation has been brain washed? Palestine ring any bells? Anyhow, I so wish America would enter into some good old early 20th century isolationism for a bit, at least then individuals such as yourself might actually begin to find real solutions instead of the old faithful, the US is to blame crutch. Much like living off the dole most of your life and then being cut off suddenly I would think? It is not always interesting to read the same old left wing dissertation, which has been regurgitated on countless blogs before but your animosity is especially entertaining!

  49. Just to put it in a nutshell. Guantanamo Bay was establish so as to avoid American Law, to avoid the rule of law that has governed countries for last several hundred years, which included habeas corpus. America along with England and Australia is a Common Law country.

    The question in my mind has always been, If America is the leading world Democracy, why don’t they trust their own legal system to deliver justice to terrorists? Why the need to set up Guantanamo in order to avoid their own legal system?

  50. min – absolutely. All this guff about world police and the expectation of the US etc is just hot air.

    Gitmo was deliberately set up to be outside the jurisdiction of the US courts so that the administration could do what they want. If it had the oversight of the US courts we would not have any problems. That is the point that I think sparta misses in his desire to paint us as lefties.

  51. Tracie,

    I find that there are plenty of articles/papers out their looking to expose the myth of “US Aide” and in all of them the one number that is constantly hailed as the end all be all is the percentage of GDP. When looking at aide in those terms, the US ranks somewhere around number 8 but hands down, when looking at the total amount given by not only the US government but American philanthropic efforts, it is upwards of almost a trillion a year. This isn’t including relief efforts from natural disasters etc. Why focus on Isreal or Egypt I would ask? I would ask you to take a look at the “Hudson Institute”. I should warn you that it is a conservative think tank but they have put together one of the most comprehensive accounts of US global aide distribution that I have seen to date. Instead of fixating on percentage of GDP or military aide in which many like to highlight, Hudson has compiled quite a comprehensive account. The “Index of Global Philanthropy” I believe is the piece. To be fair, given the size of other countries, many are quite generous but without question, given the size of the US, we give fare more than most of the top contributors combined. The numbers are simply staggering. I would also add, to be fair, that American charities give almost 4 times the amount of foreign aide that the US government does per year. Anyhow, not bad for an imperialist country wouldn’t you say?

  52. “why don’t they trust their own legal system to deliver justice to terrorists? Why the need to set up Guantanamo in order to avoid their own legal system?”

    It isn’t a matter of trust there Min, we simply have no precedent for such an action. Kind of hard to have a trial that risks exposing classified information in a forum that by law becomes public record. We once detained large numbers of Germans and Italian prisoners after WWII on our soil but they too never received access to our courts as foreign combatants but their detainment and treatment was dictated by the Geneva Conventions. However, they also wore uniforms, represented a nation state and had a country we could return them too. Currently, there simply exists no guideline in which to follow, hence, the debacle known as Gitmo. This is further complicated by the fact that many risk uncertain futures if returned to their country of origins and many more simply don’t want their own citizens back.

  53. Sparta the point was that two thirds of US aid goes to Israel and Egypt, and most US aid comes with political strings attached.

    Not only this but the aid is a drop in the ocean compared to the returns.

    I think many parts of the world would be better off is the US kept both its aid and economic agenda to itself.

  54. Sparta (33). Well that’s the Bushie spin anyway. Fact is the US system can and has dealt with accused terrorist before. It is also a fact that the US sees other peoples of the world as ‘second class’.

    Why else would attrocities committed by their people be treated differently than attrocities carries out by a person of any other nationallity?

    Why are you suprised that the rest of the world doesn’t see it like that. If any other country had done one tenth of the things the US Govt has done in the last 8 years the UN would have declared war on them.

    The security council members should not be allowed the power to veto decisions – the US’s constant veto’s re matters pertaining to Israel and Palestine have caused them the most problems in the ME.

    But then there is always ‘Aid’ to buy friends.

  55. Its almost torture in itself litsening to gitmo get justified. Obama wants it closed and condems all torture, smart man. Now how about this gutless war in Iraq, lets end it.

  56. Ill say this once, so i hope everyones sleeping or out to dinner.
    I wont correct my mistakes as i make a lot of them and well you know what i mean.

  57. “Gitmo was deliberately set up to be outside the jurisdiction of the US courts so that the administration could do what they want. If it had the oversight of the US courts we would not have any problems.”

    No offense there Joni, but spoken like a true believer. Administrations come and go Joni so I hardly think it was just for their benefit but they certainly have botched things. The US legal system has difficulty interpreting current law correctly; can you imagine the prospects of Judges doing so with law as it is being written? It would be a complete mess. Basically it would come down to ideological interpretation. Much like the judge who recently ordered the release of the 5 Algerians based on his definition of what an “enemy combatant” is. Can you imagine the chaos that would follow with hundreds of such judges trying to reinvent the wheel with every new trial?

    “That is the point that I think sparta misses in his desire to paint us as lefties.”

    Not trying to paint you as a lefty and do get where your coming from I just simply disagree. You are a “lefty” by the way and I am a traditionalist but there is certainly nothing wrong with either, in my opinion. I visit this site because it is an opportunity to read and exchange ideas. There are plenty of other sites I could visit if I was looking to preach to the choir but I choose to come here and Tim’s blog before because you folks are well rounded. In the end it is my belief we are trying to achieve many of the same ends, we just have a difference in opinion in which is the best way in which to achieve them. Please note, that I consider some of my best friend’s lefties and I hardly see the term as derogatory.

  58. Hi Sparta, it’s good to see you over here…I’m not really in a position to opine this thread as I have yet to be convinced by the apparent facts.

    As a side topic how is the population in your locale travelling?

    I’d be interested how lurkers see their area travelling in this thingy.

  59. sparta…. thanks for the respect that you do show in these threads, and I hope that we show you respect too.

  60. The US legal system has difficulty interpreting current law correctly; can you imagine the prospects of Judges doing so with law as it is being written?

    That is a pretty big assertion to make. On what basis do you make it? Who do you think can interpret the legal system better than those who have trained and spent decades doing so.

    You can’t obfuscate your way around the fact that the US Govt want one law for their citizens and to make it up as they go along denying basic human rights for everyone else.

    Until they recognise and reconcile to this they can’t claim any credibility as the world’s moral adjudicator.

  61. Sparta you always give back what you cop. Its all good.

  62. Hexx…are you a member yet?

  63. Well Scaper i was going to and then i realised i had no photos. the last photo i had taken was 8 years ago at our wedding. No, hopefully soon

  64. #48. joni | November 22, 2008 at 2:22 pm
    Legion @ 46… I think I missed the point?!

    …in that John Yoo (the man who authored the torture memos, and the memos allowing for Guantanamo, and extraordinary rendition programs, and the Unitary Executive memos giving the Bushistas carte blanche in the domestic destruction of civil rights and putative law-breaking by the Executive under the aegis of the Commander-in-Chief) is in the happy circumstance of being tenured at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall for updates on the impacts of his legal handiworks from his fellow law faculty members comprising Berkeley’s Human Rights Center.

  65. Ah… that is what I thought.

  66. Boy

    reading all of these blogs it appears that poor sparta is getting torture from the blogocrats.

    This is a very interesting subject and I have changed my mind many times over torture.

    The biggest thing is once again there is no level playing field, we have one side that does not repsect any laws and another that tries to act within the law but sometimes outside OUR interpretation of the law.

    If someone is coming at you to hurt you and your family do you get out the rule book and say it is against the law. No you take matters into your own hands to protect those you love. While this may sound simple it is what it all boils down to.

    We can become spiteful and hateful by believing only one side of a story and calling anything that rules against our opinion a coverup.

    I have no doubt there are cover ups and illegal action by the US. I also have no doubt that some in the human rights campaings are only blinded by their hatred of the USA.

    Somewhere in the middle is the truth but I do’t believe either side and unless you are a person who has experienced war and torture I believe you are entitled to your opinion, only the thing is your opinion is based on others stories which may or may not be correct.

  67. The biggest thing is once again there is no level playing field, we have one side that does not repsect any laws and another that tries to act within the law but sometimes outside OUR interpretation of the law.

    If someone is coming at you to hurt you and your family do you get out the rule book and say it is against the law. No you take matters into your own hands to protect those you love. While this may sound simple it is what it all boils down to.

    The point is Shane we are the ones who claim a moral high ground in foreign policy. Saddam Hussein was rightfully condemned for his human rights abuses (allowing prisoners to be tortured and raped, held without evidence indefinately etc). After the WMD lie was exposed the Coalition seized upon Saddam’s human rights abuses in an attempt to justify the invasion which was against international law.

    It would be reprehensible to now allow Iraqis (and anyone else) to suffer similar abuses at the hands of the so called ‘liberatiors’.

    Does it make a difference if the invaders claim the people they hold are ALL terrorists? I would say not, or it should not. I dare say Saddam would have said that those who suffered his abuses were ‘terrorists’ as well.

    “If someone is coming at you to hurt you and your family do you get out the rule book and say it is against the law?”

    Could that same statement not justify the actions of the ‘terrorists’ in Iraq and Afghanistan? They would have much more cause than any of us to claim they are protecting their own. They are the ones under occupation by a power who believes they should be immune to the law.

    Except according to the right wing view these people have no right to fight back. Bush called them ‘illegal combatants’. Is it now illegal to defend you and your own unless you are ‘one of us’?

    Decades of interference in the ME has resulted in any resistance today. The CIA installed Saddam in the first place, and had OBL on their payroll? Yet still we blame the victims.

  68. Tracie

    I see faults on both sides and refuse to simply believe what others write. After all we all know that articles are written and construed by many in such a way as to achieve their own ideology.

  69. I see faults on both sides too. The difference is we are apparently justified in achieving our agenda by whatever means possible, where as those who are unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of our actions are apparently criminals for resisting.

    I am still awaiting a satisfactory answer as to why Saddam was evil for his human rights abuses, but US soldiers and contractors are apparently justified.

    Maybe if one is dehumanised to the point one does not see the ‘enemy’ as people just like us, and unworthy of the rights we would claim for ourselves is is easy to ignore the hypocrisy.

  70. “Decades of interference in the ME has resulted in any resistance today. The CIA installed Saddam in the first place, and had OBL on their payroll? Yet still we blame the victims”TracieofFNQ

    Much of the root of modern “resistance” (or “terrorism” to use the US lexicon) stems from the US’s (through the CIA) intervention in Iran to overthrow the democratically elected Mossadegh all those years ago.
    This directly resulted in the installation of the brutal (but western compliant) Mohammed Shah Reza who reigned tyranny upon his people until in turn being overthrown by the Islamic fundamentalists who we are now supposed to cower from as part of the “Axis of Evil”.
    Cause & effect, historical fact & pertinent to why we (as invaders) have no intellectually defensible right to take the moral highground & impose our double standards on sovereign nations like Iraq. Particularly when we conveniently consolidate (or try to) our strategic imperatives in the ME by doing so.

    As stated above, dehumanising the enemy goes a long way towards cultivating aquiescence from our safely removed home countries when it comes to conducting illegal invasions.

  71. Tracie,

    “I am still awaiting a satisfactory answer as to why Saddam was evil for his human rights abuses, but US soldiers and contractors are apparently justified.”

    With all due respect my dear, such a statement is clearly indicative of a mind that will never be able to see the difference, so why would anybody bother. Try to unplug for a bit and approach the world from a historical perspective, not just the past 40 years. The whole “America the evil imperialist” is to blame for everything mantra should be reserved for campus and those who will undoubtedly fail you should you decide to propose a novel thought.

  72. sparta – we can do without the sexism, but tracie is correct. We are most certainly NOT blaming the US for all of the ills in the work, but the fact remains – the current administration signed away rights and conventions on human rights.

    Why are some human rights abuses evil and others not evil?

  73. While I was against the Iraqi war (as I belive it was a George Bush Jnr revenge for the plotting to kill his father) it has happened.

    The biggest mistake George Bush Jnr did was to ousource all of the rebuilding to american companies instead of hiring Iraqis to do the job. It would have been much better to pay hundreds of Iraqis a weekly wage to use shovels to did large holes than fly in equipment from the US and pay large sums of money to the US companies. This is what I think was the worst mistake of all, not involving as many Iraqis as possible in rebuildiing their country and paying them a wage.

  74. “The biggest mistake George Bush Jnr did was to ousource all of the rebuilding to american companies instead of hiring Iraqis to do the job.”

    But Shane, that was one of the main objectives of the war – to award the rebuilding contracts to American companies.

    Going to war usually yields significant economic benefits for those perpetrating the aggression.

    Unfortunately, on this occasion, the war has taken far longer than anticipated, and cost a helluva lot more.

    So much so, that the US has no more money left..

    It’s all rather karma-like if you ask me…

  75. reb

    I do not want to be as cynical as yourself regarding the objectives of the war. A war, mind you, that I disagree with and have done so from the start.

    I still maintain that if they engaged the working class Iraqis in the rebuilding it would have saved them billions of dollars and created immense goodwill and even sufficient determination in the community to protect what they built from attack.

  76. As stated above, dehumanising the enemy goes a long way towards cultivating aquiescence from our safely removed home countries when it comes to conducting illegal invasions.

    I would add that I think we are also dehumanised in the process. If we cannot recognise the basic humanity in others, haven’t we become less than human ourselves?

    Agree with the rest of your post, HD.

  77. Sorry Toiletboss (not HD).

  78. You hit on one of the major stuff ups with Iraq Shane, if not the major one.

    Letting out no contest contracts exclusively to US companies (some who subcontracted a few things to non-US companies) as a reward for the US “liberating” Iraq is the number one cause for just about all the strife in Iraq, because as is their SOP these companies put profit and greed ahead of all other considerations and the Bush administration allowed them to. I know I’m going to get some angry retorts to that statement.

    First thing these companies did was hire outside cheap labour from all over the world, completely ignoring the Iraqis. So there were hundreds of thousands, if not over a million, disaffected Iraqi youth (remember Iraq’s population skews young) looking for work yet were denied it. An ideal insurgent and terrorist recruiting base, one which could have been nipped in the bud from day one. Says a hell of a lot about the Bush administration that to this day it still allows US companies to ship into Iraq cheap foreign labour in preference to Iraqis purely because this is more profitable for these companies.

    Second huge stuff up these companies caused was to hire private security in massive numbers. In the early stages of the Iraq occupation (first couple of years or so) private security was the second biggest armed force in Iraq outside of the US military, reaching double the size of the Iraqi military and police.

    This private security was hardly answerable to anyone and were the main instigators of racial problems between Iraqis and Westerners. They treated the Iraqis like shit and there were many incidents of them killing and injuring innocent Iraqis. Though they have come under stricter control now they are still a problem.

    Third was the US companies delivering very substandard products and services, or in some cases nothing at all, to the Iraqi people for the huge amounts of money they received. There was a report that showed one of the major contractors work on about a dozen hospitals in Iraq. Charity built hospitals built on a shoestring budget would have been a quantum leap better than the substandard crap produced by this company for the hundreds of millions they were given to do the job. The Iraqi doctors who had to work in them were scathing and bitter, many quit. One brand new operating theatre had sewage leaking into it.

    Another part of that was the massive overcharging to the Iraqis and US taxpayers for products and services. Once incident I saw was plywood sheets, where local Iraqi suppliers could sell them for example at $10 per sheet, Haliburton was charging $100 per sheet, but contractors and sub-contractors were told they had to buy from Haliburton. This was also the case for supplying goods and services to the US military.

    Fourth was the privatisation of previous public goods and services, contracted out exclusively to US companies. Some Iraqis suddenly found themselves paying exorbitant fees for things like electricity and water. This aspect will get worse once Iraq fully stabilises as US firms like Bechtel have a history of screwing to the wall third world customers once they have gotten hold of their country’s services.

    An enquiry into the behaviour and corruption of US contractors was put before the Senate but was almost unanimously voted down with almost the full support of the Democrats. American politicians of all persuasions will always put those who give them campaign funds and political donations ahead of any other social or humane consideration. Greed and America are synonymous.

  79. Sparta what an obvious example of evading the original question. No I can’t see the difference. Explain it to me.

    Please understand that not looking through the prism of US hegemony as the natural order makes it difficult for me to fathom your logic.

    Inhumane acts are inhumane acts, no matter who is the perpetrator. I don’t suppose it makes much difference to those being abused whether the abusers wear a US uniform or not.

  80. “I belive it was a George Bush Jnr revenge for the plotting to kill his father”shane

    No offence intended mate but there was/is a lot more to the invasion than that. In fact I’d suggest that “revenge” is probably one of the few base human characteristics that the Bush/Cheney Neo-cons didn’t espouse in their haste to manufacture consent for the agenda to invade.
    The litany of bullshit reasons & justifications is long & indistinguished.

  81. This is what I think was the worst mistake of all, not involving as many Iraqis as possible in rebuildiing their country and paying them a wage.

    Shane that is the whole point. The invasion of Iraq was never about enabling the Iraqi people, it was about enabling rorts opportunites for American companies Reconstruction is the new imperialism. Smash a country to pieces and then create heaps of opportunities for corporations such as Haliburton.

    These companies make heaps while the Iraqi people suffer many still without clean water and electricity.

  82. Toilet

    Agree there are probably many more manufactures as well, I just think that was one of them.

  83. Cheers shane. Wow, it sure is different being known as toilet rather than HD…I like it, LOL.

  84. Toilet

    LOL happy to call you toilet, not sure if I want to call you Toiletboss as that may imply you are boss of my toilet which is my own throne where I can let it all hang out 🙂

  85. Erm Shane, too much information. 🙂

  86. Tracie

    Better to have too much information than not enough, or so they say 🙂

  87. “Reconstruction is the new imperialism. Smash a country to pieces and then create heaps of opportunities for corporations such as Haliburton.”

    Now that is hilarious. I keep forgetting how good the Iraqi’s had it prior and how easily most here dismiss the atrocities committed under the old tyrant Saddam. I’ve discovered that death at the hands of such tyrants just doesn’t seem to bring out the same kind of venom that seems reserved for the West/USA. But who really gave a damn about an Iraqi until the US showed up anyhow and now suddenly everybody develops a conscience? I can’t imagine why?

    Let me ask you this folks, just who else is going to “fix” it if not us? Is there some parallel universe out there where you can get a deal on rebuilding a country or perhaps a two for one package, hence Afghanistan? I wonder why nobody commences to bashing that conflict. Oh yes, because most likely being true to form many here supported that war. Very imperialist indeed to rebuild the homes of former enemies, I wonder how much we made off of rebuilding Germany, Holland, Austria, France; hell most of Europe, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Italy, Indonesia following the Tsunami, Iraq and Afghanistan. I would love to get the totals and I am sure there is some wacky website out there that just happens to have the sums. Just one thing, would you say that those countries I mentioned, say for the ones still in transition, are worse off then they where 60 years ago? Again, get some perspective for heaven’s sake. You guys really need to stop trolling the “Far-Left” websites and take a deep breath of reality.

  88. sparta

    You really have to stop going back to the “but Saddam was worse and you didn’t say anything about him” line.

    This is about the US government and how they signed away long standing rights and convention for their own ends.

  89. Sparta

    I was supporting you but now you seem to be getting a bit hysterical. No one supports Saddam or his atrocities. However ask the Christians (who were actually protected by Saddam who for all his atrocities actually allowed freedom of religion) how they are going now. Their churches destroyed and having to go undergrouind or flee. There are always good and bad points.

    Cuba a communist country and I do not support communism, yet it has free education and medical for all where as in the US if you do not have private health insurance you are on the scrap heap. Good and bad in all.

  90. “I keep forgetting how good the Iraqi’s had it prior and how easily most here dismiss the atrocities committed under the old tyrant Saddam.”sparta

    I realise that this will likely provoke equivocation but when Saddam was committing his worst attrocities against his own people during the 80’s he was happily championed by the US & its allies. I believe that they even took him OFF of the “terrorist list” to make it legally possible to give him aid & arms. Of course he was conveniently at war with another US favourite enemy Iran at the time.
    I don’t think too many cared for his persecutions then, in fact a blind eye of complicity was willingly turned, he was our favourite tyrant.
    To then suggest that we must, a decade & a half later, invade Iraq to (after the fact, WMD’s didn’t quite gel as we’d hoped) depose Saddam is intellectually bankrupt & convenient ignorance to say the least. There were many reasons for the invasion, those that champion(ed) it rarely site the honest ones though.
    Freeing Iraqis certainly wasn’t an imperative or the invasion should have taken place 20 years ago while he was our buddy.

    For the record, the invasion of Afghanistan, while it got widespread support from much of the world post 911, never got my support. It too was undertaken with woeful disregard for accepted international conventions & a “with us or against us mentality” that did more damage to the average Afghan citizen than the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Perfectly in line with most of the US unilateralism conducted in the last half a century.

  91. Sparta it would help if you could actually see the comments people make for what they are rather than spinning them to suit yourself.

    What part of….

    The point is Shane we are the ones who claim a moral high ground in foreign policy. Saddam Hussein was rightfully condemned for his human rights abuses (allowing prisoners to be tortured and raped, held without evidence indefinately etc). After the WMD lie was exposed the Coalition seized upon Saddam’s human rights abuses in an attempt to justify the invasion which was against international law.

    It would be reprehensible to now allow Iraqis (and anyone else) to suffer similar abuses at the hands of the so called ‘liberatiors’.

    … don’t you understand? Saddams treatment of his people was deeply abhorrent to many people. That behaviour does not become ‘a solutlion’ just because traditional allies are engaging in it.

    And just for the record I wish the US would stop trying to fix things rearranging the world to suit it’s economic purposes. Afghanistan is yet another example of what Naomi Klein calls ‘Disaster Capitalism’.

    Such policies are bound to exacerbate not nullify the suspicions of those not enamoured with heavy handed, military US domination and subjugation of weaker countries.

    Not only this but the new doctrine of ‘pre-emptive strike’ has set a dangerous new precedent as we go on.

    GWB and his supporters saw him as a ‘sherrif’, I see him as an outlaw operating outside of and irrespective of the law. Unfortunately his actions are also the actions of the US. Until thing radically improve the US is just another (more dangerous) rogue state.

  92. Joni,

    “we can do without the sexism”

    You have to be kidding me joni? Now I am a sexist for, god forbid, saying “my dear”? So endearment along with rationale is now dead? I just love this brave new world, like walking on egg shells here.

    “You really have to stop going back to the “but Saddam was worse and you didn’t say anything about him” line.”

    I would love “not going back” for the 300th time Joni but I certainly didn’t take the conversation here, others did. If we are going to moderate fine but let’s not choose the opportunity to do so when it is a statement we do not agree with. Where is Tim when you need him? “Stay on topic folks, or move on”. Never fails, once you start talking about Guantanamo the conversation always evolves into the same old tirade about US imperialism, illegal invasion, lies that nobody to date has been able to confirm.

    “This is about the US government and how they signed away long standing rights and convention for their own ends.”

    I am not sure what you’re referring to here? I hope you weren’t referring to the Geneva Conventions? Again, what rights/rules were in place for this “new combatant” or this kind of war that have been waved? I would agree the whole question was handled quite poorly and arrogantly at times, but the long standing rights you refer too?

  93. Shane,

    “I was supporting you but now you seem to be getting a bit hysterical”

    I appreciate the support mate but I would prefer you just think for yourself. It is easy to get backed into a corner when those you are engaging; a) never answer your questions and b) when you respond to there’s they respond with yet again another question or claim. It kind of reminds me of trying to talk to a bunch of protestors outside a university forum. Anyhow, if I seem “hysterical” then how do the comments below come across to you?

    “policy of outsourcing torture to countries like Egypt”
    “he can hardly get on with life as usual when he hs the stigma of being a convicted terrorist.”

    “So basically the US thinks their soldiers are above the law”

    “anyone who dares resist has been locked up on little or no evidence and left to rot at POTUS’s pleasure where there is evidence they have been tortured AND used as sick entertainment by dehumanised US troops”.

    “According to the US it is perfectly OK for their troops to rape, abuse and possibly kill innocent citizens while on duty. Wasn’t Saddam Hussein accused of the very same thing?”

    “They want to detain people with no evidence necessary, while they expect immunity for their soldiers and mercenaries.”

    “Yeah, God’s own Country and all that US exclusive rubbish”

    “type of warfare the US supports when it suits it and then uses it again to justify its own usurping of democracy, human rights, illegal invasions and even for political gain for an administration. And ironically a type of war it fully utilised in fighting the British when seeking independence.”

    “Given the unglorious history of US interventions, the US is arguably the biggest terrorist state on the planet.”

    “Note also many ‘interventions’ were economically motivated – new ‘free markets’ anyone? Spreading capitalism in the guise of democracy.”

    “I think many parts of the world would be better off is the US kept both its aid and economic agenda to itself.”

    “Well that’s the Bushie spin anyway. Fact is the US system can and has dealt with accused terrorist before. It is also a fact that the US sees other peoples of the world as ’second class’.”

    “Why else would attrocities committed by their people be treated differently than attrocities carries out by a person of any other nationallity?”

    “If any other country had done one tenth of the things the US Govt has done in the last 8 years the UN would have declared war on them.”

    “Saddam Hussein was rightfully condemned for his human rights abuses (allowing prisoners to be tortured and raped, held without evidence indefinately etc). After the WMD lie was exposed the Coalition seized upon Saddam’s human rights abuses in an attempt to justify the invasion which was against international law.”

    “Does it make a difference if the invaders claim the people they hold are ALL terrorists? I would say not, or it should not. I dare say Saddam would have said that those who suffered his abuses were ‘terrorists’ as well.”

    “Could that same statement not justify the actions of the ‘terrorists’ in Iraq and Afghanistan? They would have much more cause than any of us to claim they are protecting their own. They are the ones under occupation by a power who believes they should be immune to the law.”

    “am still awaiting a satisfactory answer as to why Saddam was evil for his human rights abuses, but US soldiers and contractors are apparently justified”

    “Greed and America are synonymous”
    “The invasion of Iraq was never about enabling the Iraqi people, it was about enabling rorts opportunites for American companies Reconstruction is the new imperialism. Smash a country to pieces and then create heaps of opportunities for corporations such as Haliburton.”
    “Sparta it would help if you could actually see the comments people make for what they are rather than spinning them to suit yourself”
    Thanks there Tracie and Shane, I guess I just needed to step back a bit and get the bigger picture! Oh and my personal favorite, which pretty much sums up the theme of those I am trying to engage in “rational” dialogue with.
    “Until thing radically improve the US is just another (more dangerous) rogue state.”
    I cannot even begin to tell you how disconnected from reality this statement really is…..

  94. Sparta

    Completely agree many seem to be hysterical in their opposition and accusations using others comments without balancing the whole argument, however you seemed to be implying that we all supported Saddam Hussein @ 88 and the wonderful life ( sarcasm) Iraqis had before the war. Many things were better before the war. they had electricity and jobs and income and freedom of reiligion. Sure if they stepped out of line they disappeared and this was horrific. Not everything was bad under Saddam. He was a criminal and murdered his own people.

    What the US seems to think is that it goes in and liberates people wihtout looking at the history or tribal cusatoms of a country. They think that everyone wants to live the US style capitalist democracy. Problem is most countries do not live this style of democracy.

    If it is up to the US to support human rights and invade a countyr to uphold rights and democracy why have they not invaded China, or Zimbabwe, or North Korea. The US has supported many dictators ina number of countries simply to ensure Communism did not take over a country however if the poeple wote for a socialist or communist government then that is their right as a country.

  95. Thanks, HD of BL, and now Toiletboss. Was just dropping by and figured John Yoo’s name needed to be on that list. While C-students from y4le like to steal elections and the limelight, and know what they want to do, it takes an ambitious A-student from y4le to show them how to do it, and to truly screw up international and domestic norms and laws, and to plunge the US into Godwin’s law and Carl Schmitt territory when securing and monetising moral suasion in faraway places. On other matters, I could highlight the various ethical stances and inconsistencies at play here, and in terms of the things themselves, deprivation of liberty and torts against persons – egoism, utilitarianism, and categorical imperitavism – but i won’t, in the interests of ‘maintaining’ the natural and value-free ‘balance’, where tip-toeing and goose-stepping down the path of utilitarianism is de rigeur as a starting point for episodes of ’24’ and Baudrillard’s armchair wars alike. Otherwise, take good care blogocrats, and remember: be good to each other, because you’re really all part of one very big, extended family, and the lines in the sand and the flags waving over them are the convenient fictions.

  96. Shane,

    “you seemed to be implying that we all supported Saddam Hussein @ 88 and the wonderful life ( sarcasm) Iraqis had before the war”

    Of course I wasn’t implying that Shane but what I was implying is that I don’t recall one story or a blog post for that matter which looked into the average Iraqi’s welfare regularly during the Baath Party’s reign and expressed the same venom for them as some do for the US. Do you? Suddenly the US is there and everybody is worried about their standard of living etc. Germans and the Japanese suffered far more devastation to culture and country yet recovered with much less help, in less time. Look at them now? What many feel is not politically correct to mention but is obviously in play here is the cultural differences or adaptability of some compared to the next. Darwinism at its worse I am afraid, not always the big bad US.

    “Many things were better before the war. they had electricity and jobs and income and freedom of reiligion.”

    Really, I seemed to remember UN sanctions that made things pretty difficult for the average Iraqi; at least that’s what many here would probably say. Oil for food ring any bells? Prior to that there was a protracted war with Iran, invasion into Kuwait, ongoing conflict with the Kurds. The problem is Shane, we really don’t know “just how good” the average Iraqi had it and comparing life before with life after is like apples and oranges. Hell, most of the world, despite the rhetoric of some here, believed the man had WMD’s not just the US. The average Iraqi when polled simply reflects on his current situation which is usually one of survival; can you blame him? What industry was there that we took away exactly? Oil exports, they are up and running quite well. I believe if you were a Sunni, politician, or military man you lived pretty well but what utopia do you speak of? Of course the violence wasn’t there because there was this little thing call “free-will” missing from the equation. You messed up; they killed you and your family. Or like you said, you simple disappeared. Unfortunately we didn’t have any progress being made until the Iraqi’s finally wised up and realized that they were going to have to get it done themselves if they wanted improvement; a concept completely foreign to them prior to the intervention. We, despite comments from others, don’t employ the same tactics that seems historically to be the only way to keep things calm in that neck of the woods; rule by the sword. You had people being electrocuted, thrown from roof tops, limbs removed, beheaded, shot, hung and thrown in mass graves daily etc yet some here want to morally equivocate. It is absolute rubbish.
    On that note, Iraq in some ways, reminds me a lot of what your government has been doing since Australia’s founding, with the Aboriginal community but without the threat of violence or the historical complication of religion. Would you say the Aboriginal is worse off or better? It never occurs to some, much like GW, that perhaps not everybody is ready or wants to live like a “white-fella”, so in that regard I agree with you. We are talking about the Middle East here so I apologize for digressing.

    The truth is, the Iraqi’s may indeed elect a strict Islamist regime that turns out to be oppressive and we had best accept that possibility. However, I figure it will at least have been their destiny to choose. Whatever they decide to do with their freedom, it will be on them. Many just have a hard time accepting this reality and find understanding by blaming other entities, the US for example. I guarantee, should this occur many of the same people here will be blaming the US for the actions of that elected government as well. In my opinion, the war is over and we should get the hell out now because we are never going to win against and enemy that is defined as: anybody who picks up a rifle and fires at a Coalition solider, or kills themselves and others in the name of Allah. They have been doing it for centuries and I imagine they will be doing it long after you and I are gone.

    “If it is up to the US to support human rights and invade a country to uphold rights and democracy why have they not invaded China, or Zimbabwe, or North Korea.”

    Why is it up to the US to free the world? We do the only thing you can do without invading, sanctions for instance, “backing the wrong party” and people bitch. We go in and people bitch. Simply, you are always going to have people that do nothing but bitch! Why hasn’t Rudd done more on the China front?

    “The US has supported many dictators ina number of countries simply to ensure Communism did not take over a country however if the poeple wote for a socialist or communist government then that is their right as a country”

    Yes we have and that is the unfortunate business of geopolitics but find me a country that hasn’t backed the wrong horse at some point? Isn’t Australia still trading with China currently despite their human rights violations? Besides, supporting an “ally” militarily or financially is not synonymous with supporting every policy they conduct or action they take then or in the future; that “fee-will” argument once again.
    Since we trade with China are both our governments in agreement with every policy China has? If we at some point down the line find ourselves at war with them will you look back and say we are as guilty for their treatment of Tibet? Context and perspective are severely lacking in many of these discussions.

  97. Again, what rights/rules were in place for this “new combatant” or this kind of war that have been waved? I would agree the whole question was handled quite poorly and arrogantly at times, but the long standing rights you refer too?

    The same rights and rules that have always been there Sparta. It was the US Govt that needed to redefine these people to suit their dubious endss.

    Defend this behaviour all you want. Your view is not the majority view in your country going by the election results.

    Americans who have withstood the dehumanisation process know that becoming terrorists is not the way to defeat terrorism. Nor the way to win friends and influence people.

    Western leaders speak out against Guantanemo because it is an ‘in your face’ example of how the US (with their complicity) flaunt the very laws and morality they claim to uphold.

    As long as they can bury their heads in the sand and ‘see no evil’ they can keep up the pretense that ‘we’ are the ‘good guys’. Guantanemo is simply too blatant. At least with extraordinary rendition they can claim ignorance.

    Fortunately ordinary citizens generally are good people, and that is why the US’s reputation has taken such a battering.

  98. Sparta please spare me the US Govt as benign philanthropists line.

    The only purpose US interventions really serve is to create new markets for capitalism. Sometimes they remove a despotic dictator, but ultimately the people are the ones who get the short straw.

    They are continuing the imperialism of their British forefathers, with the twist of installing a ‘US friendly Govt’ rather than going to the trouble and expense of colonising. There is also the added benefit of all that profitable reconstruction work. A new ‘break it and build it’ economy.

  99. sparta

    I still do not understand why is was necessary to brush away so many fundamental laws of the US, such as torture, habeas corpus, the use of hearsay, indefinite detention. etc.

  100. From the preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives report which was written by the Major General who was appointed to lead the investigation into Abu Grahib:

    This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors.

    The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted—both on America’s institutions and our nation’s founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.

    In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect.

    After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

    The former detainees in this report, each of whom is fighting a lonely and difficult battle to rebuild his life, require reparations for what they endured, comprehensive psycho-social and medical assistance, and even an official apology from our government.

    But most of all, these men deserve justice as required under the tenets of international law and the United States Constitution.

    And so do the American people.

    But of course, some will dismiss this.

    I will not.

  101. Tracie,

    “Sparta please spare me the US Govt as benign philanthropists line.”

    I am pretty sure I said nothing of the sort but of course you’re not really reading what I am posting anyway. Nor are you interested in trying to understand where I am coming from. I have done my best to ignore your rather condescending and insulting statements based on nothing more than some warped view of the US but really, why do you carry on? It is very simple, you feel with all your heart that the US is the “problem” in the world, fine; you’re entitled to that opinion. I on the other hand feel that although flawed and certainly guilty of mistakes, we are mostly a good people and a good country. Here’s a reality check, so do the overwhelming majority of my countrymen, Democrat and Republicans alike.

    “The only purpose US interventions really serve is to create new markets for capitalism.”

    Can you spare me the usual “Marxist” dribble for heaven’s sake! All we need is another “revolution” to once again demonstrate the failures of communism. For the sake of argument I will play along and ask, is it just a coincidence than that those countries with the highest standard of living just happen to be “market economies”? Is it a just a coincidence that millions risk life and limb to get into those evil “market economies”?

    “They are continuing the imperialism of their British forefathers, with the twist of installing a ‘US friendly Govt’ rather than going to the trouble and expense of colonising.”

    Do you have any idea how idiotic that sounds? Do you even know what “imperialism” entails or do you normally just regurgitate this same line over and over? One of the hallmarks of “imperialism” was that it maximized gain for the European powers without concern for the populous they were subjugating; the environment etcetera and classically turned them on each other, again to their benefit. I hardly see the comparison in the Middle East but perhaps you can expand beyond the rhetoric and explain it to me? What about the successes of former countries we have purposively invaded in the name of markets? No, nothing? Ignore all you like, still doesn’t change reality or the fact you would rather bury your head in the sand then acknowledge any US success.

    “There is also the added benefit of all that profitable reconstruction work. A new ‘break it and build it’ economy.”

    Profits, markets, evils of capitalism; you have to be a recent graduate. Ok, I will bite, once again. Would you say freedom benefits Iraqi’s, or harms them? Totalitarianism is a better system in your opinion or works better how?

  102. spare me.

  103. With all due respect my dear, such a statement is clearly indicative of a mind that will never be able to see the difference, so why would anybody bother. Try to unplug for a bit and approach the world from a historical perspective, not just the past 40 years. The whole “America the evil imperialist” is to blame for everything mantra should be reserved for campus and those who will undoubtedly fail you should you decide to propose a novel thought.

    I have done my best to ignore your rather condescending and insulting statements based on nothing more than some warped view of the US but really, why do you carry on? It is very simple, you feel with all your heart that the US is the “problem” in the world, fine; you’re entitled to that opinion.

    Wow and you’ve got the cheek to call me ‘condescending’.

    Sparta you have to stop taking criiicism of the US Govt and US policy as personal criticism.

    As you say the people are generally good people, after all they threw the republicans out 🙂

    Most people given the facts are not as sanguine as yourself, in fact many of your fellow countrymen and women oppose Bush and all that he stood for. They recognise the dangers of the Patriot Acts, and unfettered Govt power and hae and are opposing it. Therefore the not so subltle ‘anti-American’ slur will not stick this time.

    Did you read the Naomi Klein piece on ‘Disaster Capitalism’? IMO true patriots stand up against tyranny NOT support it.

  104. I…
    he…
    WTF…
    I mean…

    I just tried to read Henderson’s column in the SMH about Hicks (with lots of swearing whilst reading), and again he misses the whole effing point. We do not condone what Hicks did, it is the manner in which his “trial” was conducted and how the Howard government was complicit in allowing an Australian citizen to be denied his rights.

    Again – Gerard is trying to put words into others mouths. The legal system in Gitmo is a travesty. Had Hicks been charged under a proper legal framework then – let me make this in bold – we would not have an issue!

    Bloody hell – I am almost as angry at the moment as Nasking (no offence intended Nasking).

  105. Joni how can we condone or condemn anything Hick’s did without actually knowing what it was he actually did.

    He was eventually charged with providing material support to a terrorist group, which could be anything from driving a car for them or selling them hilal lamb.

    From Harper’s Magazine online:

    The only evidence available against Hicks consisted of his own testimony and that of other Guantánamo inmates, all of which would have been subject to challenge on the grounds that it was coerced. Military procedure requires a court presented with a plea bargain to find that evidence establishing each element of the crime charged exists. Therefore implementing the plea bargain, Hicks stated that the testimony was not coerced and accepted it.

    Because of the gag order imposed on Hick’s we have yet to hear his uncoerced version of events.

    What we do know is that the US Govt were paying a bounty of approx $US1000 for every ‘illegal combatant’ their Afghani freedom fighters/terrorists handed over to them.

    One wonders whether they went to any particular effort to determine who was Taliban and who wasn’t.

    Besides this, and what many forget is that until 9/11 it was not a crime to fight for the Taliban. The US Govt were themselves giving the Taliban sustantial funding, and were one of the few Western Govts to recognise the ‘legitimacy’ of the Taliban Govt (as long as it suited them).

    As you say his ‘trial’ was a farce and can no way be considered due legal process.

    Why should Hick’s have to wear the label of ‘terrorist’ for the rest of his life due to such a widely maligned and discredited process?

    joni: last line tidied up, T.

  106. Joni,

    Now you bring up a point I can agree with. What went on at Abu Grahib was certainly a travesty and reflected poorly on the US. It was truly one of my countries low points. I would bear in mind though that the perpetrators were prosecuted and sentenced. This also holds true for most incidences of abuse that have been reported and proven. However, this is not Watergate and there is not always some “Wizard of Oz” pulling the strings behind the scenes. Yes, conspiracy theories abound, books, articles and talking points as well. Has this administration handled things poorly, undeniable yes. Have they purposely made it a matter of policy to harm and abuse detainees; that I cannot be sure of nor will I make assumptions to that effect.

    If you truly believe in the rule of law, as I believe you do, than why not apply the same standards to the administration you want for detainees? Guilty until proven innocent comes to mind. I have no doubt that if there was sufficient evidence to charge members of the administration for the accusations many here hold to be true, the democratically controlled Congress that has been in office for the past two years would have done so by now. No, I am not defending the administration simply suggesting that if there is such an obvious pattern of abuse, with brighter people then you or I delving into this matter day and night, why are they still unable to prove anything? So much like the administration has primarily circumstantial evidence against many of the detainees only; they too are only suspected not guilty of anything yet, but the double standards many here rail against seem to be coming from them as well. Yes, undoubtedly some with no guilt what so ever have been swept up in this thing but tortured?

    So what do we do with those we have “circumstantial” evidence against and openly suggest they will kill Coalition soldiers if returned to their countries of origin? Release them and hope for the best? Some detainees have gone on to kill soldiers/and civilians after being released, as they said they would. So, what should we do with such people? I don’t like the idea of indefinite detainment either but aren’t we just as culpable if we release an individual that later does go on to kill?
    Where I believe the admin did screw up was treating this matter so lightly and taking their sweet ass time. Arrogance, and disregard for the rights (which again are not as clear cut as they are for the average citizen) of suspected radicals is clouded in legal ambiguity but the explicit intent to “torture” is an accusation I cannot support and legally, either does any real “evidence” thus far. Again, the same rule of law you would like applied to all, combatant or not, you simply do not seem willing to apply towards those “you suspect” of wrong doing. Many here have obviously made up their minds on the matter with the aid of the media and special interest groups. I can openly admit I haven’t. I reserve my judgment for the evidence when and if it is ever presented in a court of law. Media trials, in my opinion, are hardly worth the time. Close Guantanamo, yes but again and for the last time, WHAT DO WE DO WITH THEM? Especially when many of their own countries will not take them back? Some if returned, face uncertain fates, again, what do we do even if tried in the US under civil law and found innocent? Clearly, it is not as simple as some here would suggest. Unless Rudd has volunteered to take in all the other “goat herders” in the wrong place at the wrong time, like Hicks for example, some of the suggestions here have bearing in the theoretical only.

  107. Tracie,

    I do appreciate a good joust but individuals of your ilk and mine are never going to find common ground. Morally equivocating the US with some of the worst offenders in history, is not only absurd but highly irrational. I will not commence to bashing my country or the very same system of commerce that you enjoy and has brought more of the 3rd world out of poverty than any other system, unlike the failure you elude too, communism. I am willing to admit the errors of my country but I simply do not share your world view which is very myopic. Nor I am asking you to abandon your offensive rhetoric but perhaps acknowledge its contradictions and obvious hypocrisy, something reminiscent of the current administration, not the US or its policies in general.

  108. Some fair points sparta.

  109. sparta,

    the report that i linked to was not just about Abu Grahib, but was about the abuses at Gitmo too, and it seems that you are still wanting to say that the report is biased. You asked for someone in the military to come forward and I supplied that.

    Now you keep asking me what to do with the detainees that are innocent. Well, I do not know. But maybe the people who took them there should have thought of that first.

    You ask that I afford those responsible the presumption of innocence. Um, that is why I why I have continually said that they should be made to defend themselves.

  110. I would bear in mind though that the perpetrators were prosecuted and sentenced. This also holds true for most incidences of abuse that have been reported and proven.

    Sparta what has happened is that individual soldiers have been scapegoated. Those responsible for creating the culture which allowed these abuses to flourish (all the way to Bush) are not likely to have to answer for their part.

    How can you say these events were limited to the few that have been convicted of offenses, when the US Govt is consistantly putting it’s soldiers and private mercenaries above the law?

    If you truly believe in the rule of law, as I believe you do, than why not apply the same standards to the administration you want for detainees? Guilty until proven innocent comes to mind. I have no doubt that if there was sufficient evidence to charge members of the administration for the accusations many here hold to be true, the democratically controlled Congress that has been in office for the past two years would have done so by now

    ROFLMAO. Tell you what Sparta how about we apply the same due process to the Bush Administration as has been appliled to Gitmo inmates?

    Or maybe we should simply afford the detainees the same due process that any of us would expect for ourselves.

    Oh and BTW greater minds than mine are already working on indicting Bush and his cronies. Another one of them is former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

    So what do we do with those we have “circumstantial” evidence against and openly suggest they will kill Coalition soldiers if returned to their countries of origin?

    If there is enough ‘circumstantial evidence’ to build a case we try them in a legitimate court of law as quickly as possible. If not we set them free. The law is a bitch sometimes, but it protects us all. It is up to the accusers to prove guilt, not the accused to prove innocence. Innocent until proven guilty – remember? Otherwise we are no better than Saddam Hussein and his ilk.

    And yes it is that ‘simple’. Our laws are the foundation of our freedom and should not be negated under any circumstance. Otherwise no one is safe. Today it is the Muslims, who will be next?

    As to what will be done, I guess we will have to wait and see what Obama has in mind.

  111. Morally equivocating the US with some of the worst offenders in history, is not only absurd but highly irrational.

    As per my previous post Sparta others ‘greater than you or I’ do not think it is so irrational. Time will tell.

    I will not commence to bashing my country or the very same system of commerce that you enjoy and has brought more of the 3rd world out of poverty than any other system, unlike the failure you elude too, communism.

    LOL. So now we are attempting the ‘communist’ smear are we. I am neither for capitalism (in it’s current form) or communism. It may be news to you but there are more than two choices.

    Something in between that found a more equitable balance in the current distribution of wealth would be a good beginning.

    I am willing to admit the errors of my country but I simply do not share your world view which is very myopic. Nor I am asking you to abandon your offensive rhetoric but perhaps acknowledge its contradictions and obvious hypocrisy, something reminiscent of the current administration, not the US or its policies in general.

    Wow priceless piece of double speak there Sparta. Your main bone of contention with me is my valid criticism of your Govt/s foreign and economic policies.

    I suggest that you are projecting and a review of your comments may clear up for you just who is being ‘contradictory, hypocritical and myopic’ My criticism is reserved for US Govts, past and present.

    Far from criticising your country, I applaud your fellow Americans who are doing all they can to ensure the numerous warcrimes of the Bush Administration do not go unpunished.

    Sorry if you find my comments offensive. I do not find yours so, perhaps a little naive…

  112. One of the candidates for next director of the CIA has withdrawn his nomination in a letter to Barack Obama. John O. Brennan has ties to the current administrations policies such as water-boarding and the CIA’s secret detention program.

    The NY times says:

    The opposition to Mr. Brennan had been largely confined to liberal blogs…

    This is why some of us will keep up the pressure on those responsible for these abuses (and I am not saying the blogocrats have anything to do with it at all).

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