A Different Kind of War/Habeas Corpus

Here is an episode of This American Life you should listen to. People in Gitmo for 3 years for printing a joke. Held indefinitely even when classified documents say that they are no threat to the United States.

These are not people ‘plucked from the battlefield’. They are plucked fromtheir homes. Only 5% were taken by American troops on the battlefield – or fighting anywhere. And only 8% are classified as Al-Qaeda members.

Tell me again why we need to do this. I must be dense, but I’m still not getting why this is anything but evil. Evil, and possibly, like almost everything Bush or his administration has done, stupid. But the stupid part doesn’t excuse the evil part. Not by a long shot.

Here is a quote that made me stop what I was doing and listen again. This is how a detainee described his treatment. His crime? At some point in history, he was “present at Tora Bora.”

“…Americans forced him to the ground and urinated on him. We put out our cigarettes on him. We shocked him with an electric device. We spat on him. We poured a hot cup of tea on his head. We told him that “We brought you here to kill you”. We beat him until he vomited blood. We threatened to have him raped. We dressed him in shorts and left him in a frigid, air-conditioned room. We abandoned him in another room with no water. We invited him to drink from his toilet bowl, which he did. We wrapped him in an Israeli flag. We told him that we would hold him forever. We told him that we would send him to Egypt to be tortured. On a different day, we chained him to the floor and cut off his clothes while a female MP entered the room. We dripped what we said was menstrual blood on his body. When he spat at us, we smeared this blood on his face. We kissed the crosses around our necks and said “This is a gift from Christ for you Muslims.” We videotaped the entire episode.”

All techniques described by other prisoners, by officials at Guantanamo. While the above description of treatment cannot be proven, since the one it was supposedly inflicted upon is in an unprecedented legal black hole we have created, still…it is quite plausible. None of it is worse than what we know is already going on there.

The person described above later tried to hang himself in his cell. It wasn’t his first suicide attempt. His concern was that, if he died and only our military knew about it, then people would never learn what was happening to him and to others held in our illegal, immoral and unconscionable prison at Guantanamo.

And this is what John McCain wants to last for a thousand years. This is what Bush wants his legacy to be. The destruction of habeas corpus, which has been at the core of Western law for 800 years, which is in Article 1 of our Constitution, which is a reason that we fought the Revolutionary War in the first place.

This is Bush’s legacy. This is the legacy of the Republican party that supports his policies. This is the legacy of the Democratic party which lacks the conviction or backbone to fight back. This is our legacy as we pay our taxes, taxes that pay for people to be killed and tortured. Is it because they are Al-Qaeda? Nope. Because they were engaged in combat? No. Because we have proof they are terrorists? No. Because it is just? No. Because it is legal? No. Because it will make us safer? No.


3 thoughts on “A Different Kind of War/Habeas Corpus

  1. Wow, Presbyman, what a clever comment. If only it had some value of some kind.Look, if this wasn’t true, I wouldn’t need a fantasy life to stay sane. I’d much prefer damsels on railroad tracks to what Republicans who are currently in power are actually doing, what spineless Democrats are allowing them to do. Or do you think torturing someone isn’t a big deal? Because I think it actually matters. If you think what we’re doing is justifiable, you’re the one in the fantasy land. Which is too bad for the people we’re torturing.


  2. You also might have noticed, if you weren’t so eager to defend the Republican party and had read the post, that I mentioned Republicans and Democrats equally as the sources of this hideous legacy.In fact, I think its pretty clear in this post that we’re all wearing black hats in this case.So next time, how about if you read the post and respond to it in some substantive way?


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