Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Absurd Gulag

I'm listening to your President's press conference. (Honey, he's not MY president.) I'm absolutely taken by his description of Amnesty International's report on Guantanamo Bay as "absurd". Absurd seems to be his administration's favorite word when discussing the travesty of justice known as Guantanamo Bay. "Absurd" says Condie. "Absurd" says the Pentagon. "Absurd" says Dickie Boy.

Let's examine the word "absurd", shall we. 1 : ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous 2 : having no rational or orderly relationship to human life, says my online dictionary.

Hmm. Denouncing the fact that the Supreme Court rules that US courts have the jurisdiction to consider appeals from the detainees yet not a single detainee held there has had the lawfulness of his detention judicially reviewed seems highly reasonable and sound. The Bush administration continues to vehemently fight against a simple judicial review. Why? Why? Why?

If these detainees truly are "highly trained, dangerous members of al-Qaida, its related terrorist networks, and the former Taliban regime", as the government claims, its continued detention of these detainees would certainly stand up to judicial scrutiny. Wouldn't it? A truly just society has faith in its process. It arrests or detains based on solid, credible fact, provable in a court of law. Does the Bush administration have so little faith in its own process that it thinks these "terrorists" will not be convicted in a non-military setting?

But who cares about basic civil rights? Let's talk about basic human rights. The right to not be beaten to death, let's say. There is much credible evidence of abuse and torture, even given how secretive the Bush Administration has been about Guantanamo Bay. Hell, when a US Army criminal investigator takes note of it, shouldn't we?

I've forgotten. These charges are easily dismissed. They are "absurd".

Then there's the attack on Amnesty International's use of the word "gulag".

These Republicans really like to argue about words, apparently. Guess it's perfect avoidance of the facts.

Amnesty said, in an annual review of women's rights "The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law. Trials by military commissions have made a mockery of justice and due process." Dennis Byrne, an incredibly reactionary right-wing nitwit who writes in the op-ed section, attacked Amnesty, calling this a "historical obscenity".

OK. Gulag strictly means "the penal system of the U.S.S.R. consisting of a network of labor camps". So maybe AI should've been a bit more accurate in its word usage. But people are held in the camps (read jails, prisons) without representation, for indefinable amounts of time, and subject to abuse and torture. Sounds a bit gulag-ish to me.

Perhaps right-wing Republicans should learn to read within the context, rather than taking apart sentences word by word. Perhaps right-wing Republicans should stop claiming moral high ground when their administration refuses to honor our country and those fighting for it by taking away basic civil and human rights from those we detain.

Until tomorrow,


Blogger Samsara said...

Liz! How wonderful to find you in this little oasis of sanity. Wonderful work. :-)

10:24 AM  

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