Sunday, June 11, 2006

I don't normally "do" politics

but I'm going to make an exception today.

According to the BBC, three detainees at Guantanamo Bay have committed suicide. They weren't the first to attempt to do so, just the first to succeed.

The response of the Camp Commander, Rear Adm Harry Harris, has left me feeling both sickened and shocked.

Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair.

"They are smart. They are creative, they are committed," he said.

"They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."

How on earth do you characterise suicide, in a cell, using bedsheets and clothing, as an act of warfare?

The men had apparently been on hunger strike, and had been force-fed by the US military, before they killed themselves. From what I've read, they must have been desperate: there is no hope of their being brought to trial, no information on what they are accused of, and hence no chance of their being able to defend themselves and either serve their punishment or be freed.

I used to have a great deal of respect for the American Dream, and the people who worked so hard to make it possible. I still think their are lots of good Americans, but my feelings towards America as a political entity are distinctly mixed.

How can you claim to uphold the rule of law, and favour democracy, when your own people are stretching the law to the point of breaking, and apparently only support democracy outwith the USA when the people vote as you want them to?


Blogger Helen said...

I couldn't agree with you more about how shocking and depressing I found his remarks. I find it worrying too that a senior member of the armed forces would make such politically charged comments: it's not his job.

It is shocking and depressing too that our government is doing so little about Guantanamo; I feel quite ashamed.

12/6/06 08:54  
Blogger Jean said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14/6/06 06:16  
Blogger Jean said...

And one of them was 21 -- that could well mean that he had been banged up in that hellhole since he was 17.

(This is the comment deleted above -- there was a bad mis-spelling in the original version.)


14/6/06 06:18  
Blogger fiberfanatic said...

It is frightening that there is no care for civil rights!

Our system is broken.

16/6/06 20:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Civil rights? Should the OKLAHOMA Federal Building bombing perpetrators have civil rights? How about the Iraqi assassins who continue to detonate deadly car bombs and kill American GI's who are trying to free the country of murderers like Saddam and create a democtaric society. Depressing? Ask the families of those Americans who have been beheaded, bombed, and tortured what depressing means to them. Shocking and depressing? Get a life folks, otherwise take a trip to Iraq or Afganistan and tell the indigenous peoples you are there to help them. You too can have the opportunity to get beheaded; then come back as a spirit and then tell us how it was.

18/6/06 13:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you anonymous!!!

18/6/06 20:58  
Blogger Aarlene said...

I tried not to comment 'cause I can't seem to stop but here goes:

What's appalling to me is how easily we have given up the freedoms and protections the United States was founded on.
Yes our Constitution protects even criminals. Those who attacked the Murrah building in OKC did have civil rights and were tried and convicted with every protection for their rights that our justice system and Constitution mandates.
I am a Sooner. I have yet to bring myself to go to the Memorial. The incident was horrific, terrifying and shocking. But I was proud when my fellow Oklahomans and Americans did NOT go off on a witch hunt arresting everyone they thought could have done it.
Nobody disappeared for years or underwent torture either here at home or abroad. If there were incidents it certainly wasn't national policy, as it is now.
Attacking Afghanistan started out with justice in mind. But we didn't use adequate forces nor did we accept the help of the world at large. At that time the entire world was behind us, supporting what we should have done then.
Then Iraq... that should never been allowed to happen.
Lest that coward anonymous think I don't have a dog in this hunt, my husband spent a year in Afghanistan and two years in Iraq. We both have served our country and we swore to protect and defend the Constitution. All of it.
What have these people done to 'support the troops' besides buy a plastic yellow ribbon? Not to mention protecting the Constitution which is our most sacred symbol of our country even more important than our flag.
I see the horror now everyday of the young men and women now facing the lose/lose propositions every day over there. Do they shoot that kid before he activates the ied which will kill and maim the soldier and his/her buddies? IF they do shoot now we are court martialing them.
It so horrific. It will take years for the soldiers to mend their bodies and minds. It will take years for US to mend our standing, to once again be a light for democracy and peace. What a terrible terrible waste. Nothing good has or will come of it.
I have done everything up to running for office myself to try to influence the actions of my government. Those in office do not share my values in spite of all the rhetoric they spew.

20/6/06 19:02  
Blogger Dez Crawford said...

I wish those who posted as "anonymous" had the courage to publish their names. They certainly need not fear retribution from other knitters. This is a forum for discussion of ideas, after all.

If Americans are to "fight for" the ideals of democracy, we must walk our talk. With many family members in the military, I cringe at the notion of how many more generations of my nieces and nephews will continue to be deployed overseas until the world -- including America -- learns to behave itself.

Yes, Islamic reactionaries behead people, and worse. All the more reason NOT to stoop to their level.

26/6/06 18:02  

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