I'm talking about the values we exhibit in our treatment of others, not the values that we like to think we represent on the 4th of July. One of the more disgusting and alarming views of our moral underbelly is this account of how we treat detainees at Gitmo -- and particularly Fadhel Hussein Saleh Hentif, one of those kids who was picked up in Afghanistan without clear cause. Here he is now, some ten years later.
On April 13, with the hunger strike spreading, the military raided the prison and put the detainees back in solitary. It says it has done so because the detainees are more likely to eat if they are not surrounded by other hunger strikers. If so, it isn’t working; there are more detainees refusing food today than before the April 13 raid. To force food into them, the military now shoves a tube down their nose, in an extremely painful procedure it called “enteral feeding.”
Are there terrorists at Guantánamo? Yes. The government knows who they are and keeps them away from the other detainees. But the hunger strike is a vivid reminder that Guantánamo remains exactly what it has always been: a stain on our country.
On April 13, Hentif was returning from morning prayers when the raid began. He was pushed up against a fence and shot with rubber bullets at such close range that five of them penetrated the skin. He was handcuffed and taken to the clinic. Now back in solitary confinement, he is worried that one of his wounds is becoming infected. Given their concerns about hunger strikers, the military medical staff haven’t been able to pay him much attention.
Thus it was that one more time, Fadhel Hussein Saleh Hentif was in the wrong place at the wrong time. ...Joe Nocera, NYT
Much of this came from the Bush administration. But we can't duck the fact that now, six years later, we have done nothing to stop Bush/Cheney's deliberate brutality. Nothing has changed.
About the same time -- couple of weeks ago -- when the military raided the prison, the nonpartisan Constitution Project came out with its assessment of the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo.
WASHINGTON — A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.
The sweeping, 600-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning. ...Lawfare
It's significant that at least one commenter defended the use of the torture.
It is easy to condemn torture until your life, or the life of a loved one, is on the line. When torture is condemned I often think of a very old "Dirty Harry" movie; the one where an insane person has an 8 year old child buried alive and if they do not find her quickly she will die.
Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood, captures the perpetrator and tortures him resulting in the little girls life being saved. After 911 I was cheering for Dirty Harry. It is easy to be against torture until it gets personal. I was not a fan of Dick Cheney and George Bush but in the case of 911 they did what they had to do.
As time passes torture is needed less, however it may rise again. Remember, after World War II all of the individuals charged with crimes against humanity were on the losing side of the war. Just think if we would have lost to Japan. ...Banicki,Michigan
Dirty Harry. Fiction. We live in a looking-glass America where the flag pins are real and where torture and Guantanamo are just stories.