June 15, 2005

Shut Gitmo

Lets do a thought exercise, because its 3am, and thats what I want to do.

Lets say, you're John the terrorist Doe, and you're sittin in the Sunni triangle right now, just doing the usual, jihading it up. You know, being the fundamentalist equivalent of a sweet and ragey dude, taking potshots at our soldiers, carbombing aid workers, whatever.
You hear that, if captured, you're going to Guantanamo or some equivalent facility. Now, if capture by the infidels means torture, desecration of cultural shit, you know, that whole bag, I guess it'll do one of two things.
1) Not change anything, because in your batshit head, the Americans couldn't be more evil.
2) In your batshit head, you've (possibly rightly) decided that the American government is more evil than previously assumed, and rather than face torture, you're gonna try a little harder to kill some 18-year-old American soldier.

The stories and reports coming out of Guantanamo and other detention centers just adds fuel to the fire that drives an ever growing army of insurgents. The practices at these places, namely the torture, force our allies and potential allies to lose yet more respect for us, and accomplish nothing useful in terms of the War on Terror. At the very least, the DoD, for the sake of the under-equipped soldiers they care so much about, should make its ethically reprehensible actions less high-profile. But really, we should take the moral high ground (actually, its the ground every other first-world nation is on), and abide by the Geneva Conventions.
Can any of you cons offer a cogent argument, that you honestly believe in, not for the sake of being contrary to liberals or international institutions, of how doing so would weaken us in the War on Terror?
And, if any of you actually pony up to the challenge, can you convincingly assert that this is the most important way for America to strengthen its assault on Islamic terrorists? That better military intelligence, better equipped and more numerous deployments....that none of these things are as significant as the right to indefinitely detain low-level fighters?

Come on. If the spokesmen/tools of your party are going to get up on national TV and deny that any of this is occuring, at least you Heritage Center clones who write these policies (or will in the future) can at least explain the underlying rationale.


  1. An 058:13 AM

    Two reasonable arguments about why it would weaken us:

    1. To close the facility would accede to a terrorist demand. Yes, it is also a demand by some of our allies. But who besides an Islamic fundamentalist is really going to get all hot and bothered by the thought of a Christian touching a Koran? Were the US to close it, there's every reason to expect that Islamic fundamentalists will make further demands on us and our behavior, insisting that we further cater our behavior to the intricacies of the religious beliefs of those who want to kill us.

    2. Closing the facility would deprive the United States of a secure prison facility that is neither in hostile territory nor in the continental United States. A prison in Iraq or some other country is fundamentally insecure (consider the various terrorist attacks on Abu Ghraib) while the presence of a few hundred jihadis in Kansas or wherever is also a rather dumb idea.

    The problem with Gitmo is not that it makes us appear worse to our die-hard enemies; what it does is reinforce our image as the ultimate evil anti-Islamists. Then again, nearly everything we do, down to allowing women to drive cars, reinforces that image. It would be lovely to dispel that image, but closing Gitmo will hardly accomplish this.

  2. 1. Nah. Its not really a terrorist demand. They're all caught up in the big picture, you know, stop supporting Israel, stop corrupting our people, blah blah. They don't make policy statements like 'close Gitmo.' So, its really only our allies and Democrats and a token Repub or two.
    I don't think the issue is "a Christian touching a Koran," and if you believe thats the worse thing happening at Gitmo, you might be an idiot. Torture. Rendition (exporting for torture.) Torture.

    2. Maybe. But, we have other territories that aren't in the continental states or in hostile territory. Now, if we have a few hundred jihadis in Kansas, I'm assuming you don't expect them to escape (how could they...they're caged up like most other animals in Kansas). It does create a target in Kansas, but even still, I don't think it would be a large concern. Jihadis trudging across the midwest to liberate their comrades sounds like a bad Afghani sitcom rather than a viable terrorism plot.
    Meanwhile, keeping them so far away from the mainland, I'm starting to think, is more a matter of keeping the Army's unacceptable treatment of these prisoners out of the public eye. If location is the only argument you have, here's what needs to be done to maintain imprisonment at Guantanamo.
    a) Scrap camp X-Ray, build a new prison.
    b) Abide by the Geneva Convention. Set up a Tribunal in Guantanamo.
    c) Scrap plans for Camp 6, the indefinite detention center, until it becomes clearly necessary.
    d) Allow observation by some reputable organization like the Red Cross. By the way, since the administration's been busy calling Amnesty a bunch of terrorist-sympathizing liars, have they taken up issue with similar claims made by the Red Cross?

    3. Right. It reinforces that image. Sure, they hate a lot of what we do. And no, I'm not dumb enough to think they fight because "they hate our freedom." But you've gotta think about the process that leads little Johnny Malcontent to become little Johnny Jihadist. What's going to make America seem more repulsive when he flips on his satellite TV. a)Look at those attractive American women, driving their flashy sports cars, not even wearing burqas!
    b)Look at those American soldiers, torturing Muslims and pissing on our Holy Book, contradicting their own supposed beliefs in equality and justice.

    No, we're not going to change the essential contradictions between American culture and Wahabiism. But, at the very least, we don't have to worry as much that any informed, objective reporting amounts to a recruiting video.
    And besides, like I said, I'm not an idiot. This isn't about them hating our freedom and liberty. At least on the level of the people who organize these terrorist cells, they polemicize about American foreign policy and the actions of our military. This does change that.

    Those aren't reasonable arguments.
    1. Ceasing torture and abiding by our own collective values is not acquiescence or capitulation to the terrorists demands. Fuck, they haven't really made those demands.
    2. Copout. There are alternatives.

  3. "The stories and reports coming out of Guantanamo and other detention centers just adds fuel to the fire that drives an ever growing army of insurgents."

    Yeah, unfounded stories by NW they subsequently had to retract and Amnesty Internationals admitted hype and lies for no purpose other than to get free PR for its fund raising objectives. Which were very successful by their reports.

    Maybe the Euro-weenies and you liberals enjoy the stories for you own political purposes, but I think the throat-slitting Islamists out there are laughing their asses off that you and the press would get excised about infidels mishandling Korans. These thugs use "holy places" as hideouts, forts and ammo dumps. They don't think twice about killing old muslims in line for their support checks. Please.

    "The practices at these places, namely the torture, force our allies and potential allies to lose yet more respect for us, and accomplish nothing useful in terms of the War on Terror."

    Niral, you toss about the word "torture" so irresponsibly. I guess that's your idea of a red flag to incite us bullish cons. I'll repeat what I may have said on this blog before which I'll happily attribute to Bill Whittle. If some asshole is snipping off your fingers one by one with bolt cutters while you're forced to watch your daughters raped, or given the alternative of being led around naked by a leash with panties over your head by a woman, how long is that decision going to take you? Which do you want, severe physical pain and mental anguish [for you Dartmouth students, that's how torture is defined], or abusive embarrassment?

    Gitmo or Abu Ghraib abuses show that we can't hold a candle to Uday and Qusay. I think you guys are just like AI, you're just looking to make 5 cents a hit on your blog ads, because we both know your posts are crap.

    Why don't you go to Chrenkoff's latest "Good News from Iraq" and get somebody other than Howard Dean's perspective on what's happening over there.

  4. Anonymous5:18 PM

    feetballbill is a jerk.

  5. Anonymous11:58 PM

    he's also a shit-eating dumbass, and thats coming from someone who voted for W.

    this shit isn't too complex. torture, by just about anyone's but his own pighead standards, is occurring in guantanamo. he's in the rumsfeld camp, saying that the torture isn't that bad, it could be worse.

    a prisoner subjected to this torture pulled all of his own hair out in agony.

    yeah, newsweek is ruining our reputation abroad. you've got a real solid grasp on the situation buddy.

    maybe things would clear up if you dislodged your head from your ass, feetballbill.

    or maybe you can stay up there with scott mcclellan, and chat it up about how the insurgency is in its last throes.

    fuck you. if you have any respect for our troops and any concern for their safety, acknowledge the reality of this war. its a fucking viscious one, and this torture shit doesn't help in any shape way or form.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Typical Con move...yes Newsweek had to retract their story, but of course it comes out a week later that while the Q'uran was not flushed down a toilet, it was pissed on. So Newsweek's story was pretty much on point.

    It's not Newsweek that's ruining our reputation abroad, its the people and deeds they report on. Don't blame them for doing their job. Blame the corrupt assholes in power.

  8. Anonymous10:11 PM

    not addressing the larger issue..but just an interjection..

    typical "liberal" answer...the actual report states that more inmates actually defaced the koran than guards ... the incident you refer to was actually when a soldier was urinating in another room, and some of the urine went through a vent and hit the koran in an adjacent room...then again...those marine guards have impeccable aim, so they're still probably gulag workers who hate islam and want to anger the world

  9. Anonymous10:12 PM

    p.s that means newsweek and your little claim are bs

  10. pps.
    that doesn't change the fact that the treatment of prisoners in guantanamo is completely unethical and unconscienable.


  11. Niral said
    that doesn't change the fact that the treatment of prisoners in guantanamo is completely unethical and unconscienable"

    Niral, at least you're getting a little more realistic. I consider a move from torture to unethical a positive. But what is unethical about providing captured Islamists with Korans and respecting their food and prayer requirements? I think we're being far more respectful to them than they deserve.

    Cong. Rangel is right, we need to reinstitute the draft. If everyone, including women, had to serve a two or three year hitch, where you had to prepare yourself and fight for this country, you would perhaps appreciate our troops and a President who allows the military to fight battles, not the political crap we had to deal with in Vietnam.

  12. Bill,
    In some ways the detainees are being treated justly.
    In other ways, they are clearly not.
    You still haven't answered my main question. If we abide by the Geneva Conventions, how does that weaken us? What do we have to lose?
    Here's what any questionable treatment, let alone well-founded documentation of abuse, does to us: It makes us look terrible to our allies, and provides fodder for recruitment.
    If the media report on the abuse, they aren't the ones aiding the terrorists - we're doing it, with our idiotic and pointless refusal to adhere to international principle.

    In the meantime (and here's where I refute your idiotic assertion that I don't understand or care about what the troops go through), American soldiers captured as prisoners of war are less likely to be treated decently. I've heard more than one vet, including, I'm pretty sure, McCain, say that part of the reason American troops survived as long as they did in the abusive camps of the North Vietnamese was because American troops were treating their North Vietnamese prisoners humanely.

    Here's how I would feel if we had a draft. I'd be pissed, watching most of my well-to-do friends acquire exemptions or positions in the National Guard. My concern for the well-being of the troops, already high because of a very close family member who will end up on the front lines, would clearly increase. My opposition to an unjust war, and a President who lies to the people, and a DoD that fails to adequately support the troops, would only become more vehement.

    If you want to debate the merits of the welfare state, or something, go for it. But this is black and white. This is fact. The reasons given to the public for invading Iraq were bullshit. 1709 American troops are dead. The insurgency is continuing, despite one report after another of successful offensives. Lets talk about the actual nature of this war. By insisting there is some benefit or right to treat prisoners the way we do, we are at worse putting our soldiers at greater risk, and at very best, distracting focus from what will actually be needed to get us out of this situation.

  13. 1. Enemy combatants, as opposed to uniformed and honorable state-aligned POW's, are not subject to Geneva Convention rules. That said, the only significant abuses I have seen are being investigated and punishment dealt out accordingly.

    2."American troops survived...in the abusive camps of the North Vietnamese was because American troops were treating their North Vietnamese prisoners humanely."

    You read his book and don't think his broken bones and permanently damaged joints were torture? Do you realize a lot of U.S. soldiers DIDN'T return from the Hanoi Hilton? Did you read about the torture suffered by our troops in the first Iraqi war (the ones who made it back, at least one never did)? I don't recall McCain saying this, but if he did, the NVN's enlightenment apparently came too late for him and a lot of others.

    Niral, you are a passionate debater, and I really don't question your love of country or that you care about the troops. If I have implied that I apologize. But you really don't have a clue about what the world is about. Your logic, which is if we will only be nice to them, I'm sure they will reciprocate and be nice to us, might apply between us and our more friendly 'allies', where mutual respect, mutual benefit and rational thought apply. It does not work with irrational religious extremists who have been raised on Wahabism (sp?) garbage bent on anarchy and chaos. Nor does it work with merciless dictators like Hussein, Kim, Khamenei, and eventually we will have to deal with the Saud family. That does not mean that we have to attack them. Constant pressure is required on the diplomatic and economic fronts, but without a credible military force and the political will to use it, those first two fronts often are ineffective, as Saddam proved.

    The "logical" extension of your thinking is that 9/11 was our fault. If we had only done this or that differently, these irrational crazies would not have murdered 2700 innocent American civilians. I'm sorry, but I don't believe irrational crazies whose primary objective in 'life' is to 'die' in their jihad gives one iota about how we treat their prisoners. In fact, I would wager it might have more impact on the crazies if we started sawing their heads off for al Jazeera cameras. They might actually pause for a moment, but thats about how long that would last, and they'd be right back at it again. They are crazies, after all.

    That's why you kill them when you can find them, and do what you can to drain the swamp of hopelessness that breeds them. Freedom and democracy appears to be the best way to change their perspective, and that's what this "unjust" war you despise is all about.

    3. Draining the swamp with freedom and democracy was one of several reasons Bush gave for entering this war. Regime change in Iraq was the policy put in place by Clinton, there have been war plans in place to do this for literally decades, because that's what the War College does, and I believe it was Bush's position after 9/11 was that the overall problem in the ME would have to be addressed through its heart, Iraq,ruled by an unmanageable wild card dictator. Bush #1 screwed up badly, I believe, by not taking him out.

    4. The president lied, you say. I assume you're back to WMD. I believe he was woefully misinformed in that respect, as was the rest of the world, as was Saddam's plan because (says Saddam) he didn't want Iran to know how exposed he was. Unfortunately, Saddam's scam was so effective it backfired on him.

    5. I don't disagree with your draft comments and had to deal with the draft myself in 1969. But the guard could be manned only by ex-veterans of the other services, with all new draftees going into the other services in some lottery fashion. I wish your family member Godspeed and a safe return. It's interesting to see that most of the reporting by troops and even the families of soldiers killed indicate how proud their marine or soldier was and their belief and dedication to what they were doing. Most were not fighting insurgents, they were helping distribute aid, build and rebuild schools and infrastructure and even helping with civic issues. As you know, the biggest killers are IED's and suicide bombers, not combatants.

    6. Let's talk about the nature of the war, as you suggest. Now the suicide bombers are being found with hands strapped to steering wheels, tied in their seats with remote controlled detonators. The insurgent groups are now observed fighting each other, as the old Saddam Baathists are trying to get the foreign jihadists to stop because the Sunni Baathists want to approach the political process. It was announced yesterday that the constitutional drafting is 80% done. That's likely because the TAL was used for much of it, and the last 20% is probably the most difficult issues anyway. But the Iraqi's seem excited about that progress, nevertheless and it bodes well for the fall deadlines. The Sunni leadership is encourgaging its men to join the police and military out of their self interests, not hatred, and those forces are taking a bigger role in their own defense. These, in my neocon way of looking at things, are very positive developments, but I would estimate it will be the end of 2006 before the majority (from its highpoint) of our troops return. Tell you what, I'll bet you ten bucks that our manpower (troops) in Iraq are less that 100,000 by yearend. How bout it?

    The positive ramifications of a Iraqi success story, if it succeeds, [already being seen elsewhere in the ME and eastern asia] cannot be denied. Bush has the political fortitude to finish the job, which was the key to his re-election.

    "But this is black and white. This is fact. The reasons given to the public for invading Iraq were bullshit."

    I'm sorry, Niral, but your normally calm debating tone seems a bit frazzled. I would be happy to go back and pull speeches by the President, the SOS, the SecDef and others presenting exactly why this was necessary. But more importantly, we did it, it's working, and that's what influences our so-called allies and our enemies. Ms. Rice declared to the folks in Cairo and Riyadh this week that the United States will no longer sacrifice freedom and democracy for stability. I think this is just the beginning of tremendous change in the world politik, and I think it's pretty damn exciting.

    Now if we can only get Jeb in place for 2008...will you join me?