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Tilting at Windmills

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June 18, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

GITMO....LA Times correspondent Carol Williams, who was one of the reporters kicked out of Guantanamo last week, tells us what it's like there:

Those of us cleared to cover the prison and war-crimes tribunal learned long ago that there will be a hard-fought battle for every factlet. When unexpected news breaks, like the suicides, the Pentagon's knee-jerk reflex to thwart coverage reminds me of how Communist officials used to organize Cold War-era propaganda trips for Moscow correspondents but then pull the plug when embarrassing realities intruded.

That should be good for a couple hundred spittle-flecked screeds from the remaining Bush dead-enders in Southern California. But good for her anyway. It's an apt comparison, and for the folks who scored poorly on the analogy portion of their SATs, no, she isn't saying that Bush is as bad as Stalin. She's saying that Bush and the Pentagon have acted disgracefully and permanently sullied our reputation. And she's right.

Kevin Drum 1:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (81)

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Shame on her for trying to report the facts anyway.

Posted by: TomStewart on June 18, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Williams has the right to talk about Gitmo as much as she wants. She doesn't have the RIGHT to visit, any more than you or I do; it was a privilege extended to her by the government. Her whining about having to deal with security measures and face the possibility of getting a free flight to Miami (horrors!) if the privilege is revoked shows just how whiny and entitled 'reporters' are.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 18, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

What the Bush dead-enders need is a Potemkin Gitmo.

Something, you know, to revitalize their faith.

Posted by: koreyel on June 18, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

obviously anyone trying to report the facts as she sees them must hate america.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 18, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

ah: it was a privilege extended to her by the government

when they wanted good press...

and when actual events turns their narrative to crap...

its only natural to "unextend" the privilege..

the only thing worse than facts..

are inconvenient facts..

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 18, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

She's saying that Bush and the Pentagon have acted disgracefully and permanently sullied our reputation.

LIAR. The prisoners at Gitmo are treated very well. Unlike you, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News actually visited Gitmo and can confirm how well the prisoners are treated.

Link

"Although some have called Gitmo a place where torture is practiced, there is no proof of that on the record."
"the detainees at Gitmo have been treated humanely, the military says. They have access to the International Red Cross and civilian lawyers."
"Many live in air conditioned cells. The average detainee has gained 18 pounds since entering Gitmo. And the USA spends three times as much on their food as on military food."

Posted by: Al on June 18, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:
I believe you may have missed the money quote from the original story:

"Only during the mass hangings".

Posted by: RickG on June 18, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK


the only thing i'd take bill o'reilly's word on is..

loofah's...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 18, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "she isn't saying that Bush is as bad as Stalin. She's saying that Bush and the Pentagon have acted disgracefully and permanently sullied our reputation..."

Note that this article didn't allege prisoner mistreatment. No claims of abuse. The aritcle merely complains that at present reporters aren't allowed in, while acknowledging that reporters had previously been allowed into Gitmo. The article leaves the impression that reporters will again be allowed into Gitmo in the future.

It seems hyperbolic to assert that a temporary suspension of reporters' privilege from Gitmo is a disgraceful act that will permantently sully America's reputation. Maybe Kevin is referring to other accusations about Gitmo. However, as far as I can see, nothing in the cited article justifies such heated rhetoric.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 18, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

She doesn't have the RIGHT to visit, any more than you or I do; it was a privilege extended to her by the government.

It's our government.

If there is no national security at risk, there's no reason that she shouldn't be able to report on what our government is doing. An informed citizenry is a pretty basic prerequisite of a democracy. And that is what we're supposedly promoting over there in Iraq...

Posted by: JJ on June 18, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

The facts about Gitmo are MUCH worse than Al and American Hawk will admit. Take a look at this. As I blogged, the slogan over the gate of Gitmo should be "All hope abandon, ye who enter here."

Posted by: LeisureGuy on June 18, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

AH: and face the possibility of getting a free flight to Miami (horrors!)

Sign up for the guard and you might get a free trip (or three) to a desert paradise. You can join my cousin at his unit's oasis and stuff yourself with dates.

Al: spends three times as much on their food as on military food

I'm shocked it's that low. Prescribed enteral feeding via nasogastric tubes costs in excess of 200 dollars/day in the states. Not to mention the cost of having trained staff insert the tube repeatedly.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 18, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

JJ: If there is no national security at risk, there's no reason that she shouldn't be able to report on what our government is doing. An informed citizenry is a pretty basic prerequisite of a democracy. And that is what we're supposedly promoting over there in Iraq...

If that's how you feel, then write your congressman and have the law changed. If you feel there's constitutional implications, feel free to encourage the reporter to file a suit. As it stands now, though, the government acted within the bounds of the law and the constitution, as much as the reporters whine.

What kills me is that when some of the terrorists tried to kill themselves by starving themselves to death, we stepped in and gave them a life-saving medical procedure... and she STILL bitches abou it. Classic.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 18, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I know it's wrong to feed the trolls, but I can't really help but point out that both have responded with non-sequitors:

Hawk said that she has no right to expect unhindered access, when there is not evidence that she did so, only that (as Kevin pointed out) cutting short access that has been granted once there is bad news to report on is embarassing and ultimately not a helpful strategy.

Al doesn't even refer to the issue at hand, and says instead that it's Club Med over there, because the military and that paragon of verity Bill O'Reilly say so.

Although it's not relevant to the topic of how the military is handling press contacts, I am intrigued by Al's claim that there is "no proof [of torture] on the record." There are certainly activities on the military's own record that fit some detentions of torture (from physical stress down to detention without fair trial, known term of sentence, or reasonable hope of release). Of course, there is testimony from former inmates that they were tortured, which is "on the record" though of course it could be slander. Closer to the point of Kevin's post, the military is saying they're doing no wrong but don't want coverage of their activities; this makes it hard to defend them against accusations no matter how false.

Posted by: Warren Terra on June 18, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Nowhere in this stupid piece does she actually explain the reason for the expulsion, if indeed there was one. She claims that Rumsfeld's office said it was to be "fair and impartial to the rest of the media." Well, how does she know that's not true? I guess we are supposed to believe that because it came from the Pentagon it must obviously be false. On the other hand, we're supposed to swallow everything she says hook line and sinker. Then she uses the whole rest of the piece to impute nefarious motives to unseen and all-powerful forces whose sole purpose in her mind seems to be to thwart her efforts to "shed light into the dark corners of the antiterrorism campaign". Sure. Guess that's why they let her and many other reporters on the island in the first place. I for one sure as hell hope there are many dark corners of the anti-terrorism campaign. I realize reporters think that it's always and everywhere about them, but not everything has to be shown to these idiots.

Posted by: Homer on June 18, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk,

Human scum like yourself will be defending concentration camps for the rest of your life. You probably take righteous pride in doubting the accuracy of the Holocaust.

Shitfleck.

Posted by: John Wilkerson on June 18, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hawk said that she has no right to expect unhindered access, when there is not evidence that she did so, only that (as Kevin pointed out) cutting short access that has been granted once there is bad news to report on is embarassing and ultimately not a helpful strategy.

She has no right to any access whatsoever. She can be GRANTED conditional access, but it's not a right.

Sign up for the guard and you might get a free trip (or three) to a desert paradise. You can join my cousin at his unit's oasis and stuff yourself with dates.

Or, I could go Carol's route, and sign up for the guard, then complain when I'm forced to go to a military base. How dare they!!!


American Hawk,

Human scum like yourself will be defending concentration camps for the rest of your life. You probably take righteous pride in doubting the accuracy of the Holocaust.

Shitfleck.

As usual, the left can't make an actual argument, and relies on invective. Of course the Holocaust occured.... and, of course, it was stopped with aMerican military might. If the left of today had its way, we would have pursued seventeen UN resolutions and the crisis would have ended when all the jews were dead.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 18, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Not to get personal, but psychopaths like American Hawk really shouldn't be tolerated in a society that has any standards of morality at all.

Posted by: matt on June 18, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

AH,

You are a fucking jackass.

Do you proudly display a twisted cross?

Posted by: angryspittle on June 18, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

AH,

Aren't you forgetting that it was the Russians who hammered the Nazis?

Posted by: angryspittle on June 18, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

If her even being there was unfair and partial to the rest of the media, then why was she granted access in the first place? The wanting to be "fair and unpartial" after the suicides inconveniently happened seems a bit disengenious. What a surprise, though.

What she reports is so very much more than the headline. Especially the part about a mass suicide attempt in 2003 involving torn bedsheets for nooses and the forced feedings.

And thanks, LiesureGuy for the link above. Connecting dots and putting the jigsaw puzzle together year after year is making the picture clearer and clearer as those years go by.

After all this, I understand why there exists a belief that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld will have war crimes charges brought against them someday. I bet none of them do much travelling abroad later on.

Posted by: the atom bomb of courteous debate on June 18, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing that the most of the left can't engage in debate, but resorts to insults. ANd the sad part is that this is one of the more civilized lefty blogs; it's not like dailykos where anybody to the right of Kucinich is trollrated.

Angryspittle-- True, but the Russians couldn't have done it alone. The American military was a but for cause of defeating the Nazis; were it not for its intervention, I doubt the same would have occured. I think the same is true of the Russians; I'm honestly not sure they could have been defeated without the sheer numbers of the Red Army. Ultimately, it's an unanswerable question, of course..

Posted by: American Hawk on June 18, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hawkie, dear, considering the calibre of the "debate" that you have offered thus far, it's not exactly a surprise that you're not getting much in return. You posted a blatant troll post, designed to elicit precisely the response that you got, and then you triumphantly pretend that this "proves" something.

Since your original post was a fact-free, complete non sequitur, and since you have not yet provided any substantive argument on anything the reporter said or that Kevin said, why should you expect a substantive response?

That's a rhetorical question, dear; please don't bother to answer.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

But hey, Hawkie, let's take a closer look at your original response, since you think that it's somehow worthy of a reply. You wrote: "Williams has the right to talk about Gitmo as much as she wants."

Yes, she does, nor has she or anyone else claimed otherwise. A non sequitur and a strawman argument.

"She doesn't have the RIGHT to visit, any more than you or I do;"

Correct; she does not, nor has she or anyone else claimed otherwise. Another non sequitur and strawman argument. You are 0 for 2, Hawkie.

"Her whining about having to deal with security measures and face the possibility of getting a free flight to Miami (horrors!) if the privilege is revoked shows just how whiny and entitled 'reporters' are."

Since she was not "whining" about security measures or about the flight to Miami, this is simply another non sequitur and another strawman argument.

In short, your entire post was a complete waste of time, addressing none of the substantive points that the reporter raised or that Kevin raised. No logic, no facts, no rational argument, nothing, Hawkie. And you expect us to take you seriously? Now, care to actually address the real topic under discussion? Or would you prefer to continue avoiding it and continue trolling?

For the record, that was another rhetorical question, Hawkie, dear; we already know the answer.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

atom bomb -- Islamic terrorists have a penchant for mass suicide. Fortunately, this time they weren't able to take 3000 innocent people with them

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 18, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

And another idiot enters the fray with a complete non sequitur. What is it with these idiots that they simply cannot face the truth and deal with it appropriately?

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

So, what is the truth, PaulB?

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 18, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and I forgot to mention that dear little Hawkie is guilty of ad hominem attacks against the reporter and against other posters here. Not exactly the hallmark of someone interested in real debate.

Now what was that he was saying about people who couldn't debate but had to resort to insults?

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

There are two points, ex-liberal:

1. Read the article and respond to what the reporter actually said instead of engaging in knee-jerk, mindless partisanship. There is a point to this discussion, much though people like you and Hawkie would very much like to avoid facing that point.

2. We do not know the full truth about Guantanamo, nor are we likely to learn the full truth until we get a Democratic Congress and/or president. What we do know, revealed in small dribs and drabs, is horrifying, particularly in light of this country's ideals.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

A stern piece of advice for Democrats:

It is time to attack the Bush Administration- relentless, viciously and unceasingly - between now and November. Why? Karl Rove is off the hook in Plamegate and he will immediately launch his usual attacks on the Democrats, questioning their patriotism, etc. It started last week with that totally bogus vote on the Iraq occupation (remember, it is NOT a war, it is an illegal occupation).

We must borrow a page from Rove and attack Bush and the GOP on their supposed strengths - question their patriotism at every opportunity (e.g. Bush's grandpa and dad committed treason, the GOP sell-out to the Saudis), show how weak Bush is on terror (e.g. My Pet Goat, the August 6th, 2001 PDB, cutting and running at Tora Bora) and continue to bring up Bush's personal corruption and immoral behavior (e.e. buddies with Ken Lay and Abramoff, Bush going AWOL from the National Guard, his cocaine abuse, bisexuality and paying for an abortion for a 15 yr. old in 1972).

If we don't, Rove is going to hand the Dems their heads again in November and we are going to spend two years wondering why.

Go after these corrupt, incompetent bastards today and every day from now through November!!!!

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on June 18, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

The brilliance, albeit the evil brilliance, of those working behind the scenes in the GWB administration lies in their realization that it is not necessary to have a Stalinist heavy handed regime to achieve the same totalitarian objectives. Rather than committing the dissidents to a mental asylum on the diagnosis of state appointed toady psychiatrists, for example, it is enough to have the media swift boating machine portray a Cindy Sheehan or the activist wife of an American killed in WTC or a Jack Murtha as a deranged person. Rather than owning the Pravda and the Izvestia, it is enough to co-opt the opinion makers at the NYTimes and Washington Post. This is all very clean, and the approach has the added benefit it is very easy to laugh off the detractors as paranoids, conspiracy mongers, border line psychotics, or traitors.

Posted by: nut on June 18, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't know what I'm talking about but I will keep posting vigorously anyway.

Posted by: Latvian Pigeon on June 18, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib:

So do people heavily medicated with pharmaceuticals designed for anxiety and depression ailments. [And those are people who are not in captivity.] Read the fucking article and connect it to real life. Human beings have real human physiological reactions to chemicals and their environment.

And by the way, exactly how many of the inhabitants are truly terrorists? Is it only the terrorists in the camp that are attempting suicide? You don't fucking know. So read the whole article [and people's posts] instead of cherry picking what you want to focus on, or just shut the fuck up.

Posted by: the atom bomb of courteous debate on June 18, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Islamic terrorists have a penchant for mass suicide. Fortunately, this time they weren't able to take 3000 innocent people with them"

There is not one atom of evidence that anyone held at Gitmo is a terrorist. But in your feeble "mind," ex-liberal, all muslims are terrorists.

Moron.

Posted by: Joel on June 18, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

'So, what is the truth, PaulB?'
--ex-liberal

Spoken just like another conservative - Pontius Pilate - who cynically asked Christ "What is truth?" Conservatives think they can make their own truth because they control the sword. They are wrong.

Christ said in another part of the New Testament that "the truth vindicates itself". Bush and his cronies have not vindicated themselves because they speak only lies. They are on the wrong side of almost every issue because they are motivated by greed, selfishness and prideful arrogance. They are wrong, dead wrong and history will vindicate that assessment....

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 18, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB - All the news I found in the article was that the reporter was pissed off at being kicked out of Gitmo. If you found other significant news, by all means point it out.

Regarding your belief that we do not know the full truth about Guantanamo, we can't debate what we don't know. Obviously you can't tell us what you don't know, let alone prove it, and I can't refute accusations that haven't been made.

I think your belief is a result of an anti-Gitmo propaganda campaign that has been waged ever since it opened. Now any mention of Gitmo causes an emotional reaction for some.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 18, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

" . . . an anti-Gitmo propaganda campaign that has been waged ever since it opened."

Uh, no. There has been a pro-Gitmo propaganda campaign waged ever since it was opened. The administration propaganda is that there are terrorists being held at Gitmo. But they are afraid to try those being held, or even let reporters in, because their propaganda will be exposed. You're a dupe, ex-lib.

Posted by: Joel on June 18, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Joel, I don't think it's quite that strong. There may well be evidence that some handful of those men genuinely is what the U.S. government says they are. We simply do not know. But that's precisely the point: we don't know.

Some thing we do know:

1. The Pentagon has admitted that as many as 30% of the detainees in Guantanamo are entirely innocent. And that's just what they have admitted to.

2. Many of the detainees were not captured on the battlefield and were not even captured in Afghanistan but were handed over in other countries by bounty hunters eager for the rewards that the Americans were offering.

3. The sole evidence against many of these men consists of a bounty hunter or some other figure saying that the man was a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer.

4. Most of the men held at Guantanamo have never had the opportunity to confront their accusers or even to hear the accusations against them, much less respond to them in an impartial hearing.

5. The Bush administration has done everything in its power to prevent any scrutiny of Guantanamo or its inmates.

6. The Bush administration has done everything in its power to prevent any of of these inmates even so much as an impartial hearing and review of the evidence against them.

7. The "War on Terror" will not end in my lifetime, nor in theirs. The Bush administration has essentially committed to holding these men, including those who are innocent, until they die.

8. An attorney for one of the inmates, an inmate that the U.S. government has publicly and openly admitted is innocent, was prevented from giving this inmate pictures of his family because the pictures were "contraband."

I could go on but there's no point. You either accept and understand that this violates everything this country stands for or you don't.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Gitmo'ing Our Principles."

Just one of the many entries in the "What Does 'GOP' Stand For?" Contest.

Posted by: AvengingAngel on June 18, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "PaulB - All the news I found in the article was that the reporter was pissed off at being kicked out of Gitmo. If you found other significant news, by all means point it out."

Why should I bother? If you could not even read the very plain English in that article and see the point that the reporter raised and Kevin reiterated, why should I assume that you will read and comprehend my restatement of that point?

"Regarding your belief that we do not know the full truth about Guantanamo, we can't debate what we don't know."

Well, that's one of the points, Sherlock.

"I think your belief is a result of an anti-Gitmo propaganda campaign that has been waged ever since it opened. Now any mention of Gitmo causes an emotional reaction for some."

Well, personally, I think you're full of shit. But that's probably just my "belief," which is a "result of an anti [ex-liberal] propaganda campaign."

Sheesh... can we get some smarter monkeys, please? Ones who know how to read? how to think? how to debate?

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

AH wrote:
What kills me is that when some of the terrorists tried to kill themselves by starving themselves to death, we stepped in and gave them a life-saving medical procedure... and she STILL bitches abou it. Classic.

How do you know they are terrorists? You do not know that, and yet you piss and moan when someone tries to find out a small piece of the truth. Classic.

Posted by: josef on June 18, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Joel wrote: "There has been a pro-Gitmo propaganda campaign waged ever since it was opened. The administration propaganda is that there are terrorists being held at Gitmo."

Precisely. Every debate about Guantanamo starts with the premise from those on the right that it is full of terrorists. And every faux debate point they raise is about how "liberals" are more concerned about the civil rights of those "terrorists," want to free those "terrorists" to attack us, want to endanger American security, and on and on and on, ad nauseam. The two simple facts that the Pentagon has openly admitted that a sizable percentage are completely innocent and that of the remainder we have seen absolutely no evidence of their guilt seems to have escaped these guys.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Some more facts about Guantanamo:

1. 55% of the detainees were not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the U.S.

2. Only 8% of the detainees have been characterized as al Qaida fighters.

3. Many of the detainees are being held solely on the basis of a supposed affiliation with certain groups, but these groups are not on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist watchlist.

4. Only 5% of the detainees were captured by U.S. forces.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

And yet another fact: The U.S. has filed charges against just 10 detainees. The Bush administration has stated that it will file charges against an additional two dozen detainees in the coming months.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

And yet another fact: The military has changed the definition of "suicide" to avoid reporting how many suicide attempts have taken place at Guantanamo. Now, these are routinely defined as "self-injurious manipulative behavior," not as "suicide."

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

And yet another fact: After the suicides, the Pentagon characterized one of them, Shaman Allabardi Al Otaibi, as a "committed terrorist" and a recruiter for al Qaida. However, it has now come to light that Otaibi was actually on a list of detainees scheduled to be released, a fact of which he was unaware.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB. I don't think we disagree. I merely posted that there is not one atom of evidence that any of those held at Gitmo are terrorists. Have you seen any evidence that there are terrorists being held there? I haven't. Even if the allegation that 8% were al Qaeda fighters, that doesn't make them terrorists.

Where is the evidence? Why won't the administration put these men on trial or release them?

Posted by: Joel on June 18, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

TalkLeft has an important update for those interested in the facts about the situation at Guantanomo.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on June 18, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Some more facts about Guantanamo:

1. The Combatant Status Review Tribunals allow hearsay, coerced testimony, and they presume that the accused is an enemy combatant unless he can prove otherwise.

2. The accused are not entitled to attorneys at these proceedings.

3. The accused are often prohibited from seeing the evidence against them because it's classified.

4. The Republican Congress, in response to this information, has acted to strip these detainees, innocent and guilty alike, from all access to the U.S. courts, to strip them of their basic, fundamental habeas corpus right, a right that precedes even the Magna Carta.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Joel wrote: "PaulB. I don't think we disagree."

We don't; I was being pedantic. You asserted that there is no evidence. I would simply add the disclaimer "that we have seen." It's a small distinction but I think it's a critical one.

And of course your final question is rhetorical. The Bush administration won't put these men on trial for the simple reason that they know that, for the overwhelming majority of them, they simply do not have evidence that would stand up in an impartial review, much less a U.S. court of law.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

Go back to a neutral corner. This fight should be stopped.

TKO to PaulB. American Hawk, and ex-lib, bloody and stupified on the canvas. Of course, they are always pretty mich stupified.

Posted by: brewmn on June 18, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

AH: If that's how you feel, then write your congressman and have the law changed.

The point is, what is the justification for the secrecy? If they have none, then why are you defending them?

When people are being held without any due process, one of the cornerstones of our legal system, then at the very least you should make things transparent to the outside world.

Sure, it might be that you can throw lawyers at the problem and parse the law in such a way saying that the government's actions pass muster blah blah blah. But whether this is legal or not, is this satisfying for our government here in the U.S.? Kevin is right that this has probably done permanent damage to our reputation.

Posted by: JJ on June 18, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk wrote: "Williams ... doesn't have the RIGHT to visit [Gitmo], it was a privilege extended to her by the government."

Well, depends on the point of view of the rights evaluator. How about these:

What country has a right to determine what happens in Guantánamo? Cuba, because Guantánamo is part of Cuba, illegally occupied by the United States military.

What prisoner has a right to be promptly informed what charges he/she is accused of? All prisoners.

What country has a right to hold prisoners without charge for four and a half years, without access to legal counsel, without being informed of the charges against them? No country.

U.S. Constitution, Amendent I: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; . . ." Therefore journalists have a right to cover what our government is doing, and our government does not have a right to prevent a journalist from covering what it is doing, especially when what our government is doing is committing crimes against humanity.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on June 18, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

And, of course, there's the little matter that there's no law to change. These are Bush administration policies, not legal issues.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

In late 2001 and early 2002, the Bush administration may have had reason to ask for forbearance on issues such as this. Now, four years later, with the war in Afghanistan long over, we should no longer grant that forbearance, particularly in light of what we known now, not only about the detainees at Guantanamo but also in light of its behavior in the Jose Padilla case.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

brewmn wrote: "TKO to PaulB."

No, no; I'm sure that I've just been brainwashed by all this propaganda I've been fed. Alas, poor me. Whatever shall I do?

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is no Stalin. The right wing would really get behind a guy like Stalin, someone who'd not be afraid to kill off tens of millions of US citizens in order to preserve ideological purity. Oh, we might not like his actual ideology, but we would praise his steely resolve and willingness to ruthlessly break the country to his will, and shut up about the details.

George Bush couldn't even get a gay marriage amendment passed, with our own party in power. And then he just shrugs like "whadayagonna do?". Poser.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 18, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Um, guys, the real Hawkie is bad enough; we really don't need faux Hawkie's to make him look bad.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Um, guys, the real Hawkie is bad enough; we really don't need faux Hawkie's to make him look bad.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 5:05 PM
Quite true, both about how stupid and unAmerican AH looks on his own and on the desire to not see any fakes trying to make him look even worse.

The proliferation of fake Al's, fake Tbrosz's and of multiple posting IDs by some of our worse trolls like Charlie/Cheney/etc have threatened to make the Washington Monthly comment threads unreadable.

P.S. Congratulations, PaulB, on an excellent and thorough refutation of AH and ex-lib's pathetic attempts to derail this thread with their troll comments.

Posted by: Tanj on June 18, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

LeisureGuy --
surely the appropriate gate slogan should be:

"DETENTION MAKES YOU FREE!"

Gitmo is an abhomination. Those who think that there has been no torture or mistreatment of the prisoners are simply ignoring every shred of evidence to the contrary, including from the IRC -- or what we have heard as their reports to the US government are essentially private. Further, the suspension of all human rights beyond any reason is beyond denial, even admitted by this administration, and is a blot on the constitution, this country, and, indeed the whole "civilzed" West.

Shouldn't we be asking for more information on the mass hanging, or did I miss that one? Isn't forced feeding illegal under international human rights treaties?

Guantanamo Bay is indefensible. What has happened there includes crimes. No wonder Rumsfeld doesn't want the truth to come out.

Posted by: notthere on June 18, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

You know, it occurs to me that I may have been unfair to Bush by calling him the Worst President Ever. On reflection, you could say that Dick Cheney is the Worst President Ever - Bush is just the most disinterested.

Posted by: craigie on June 18, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Unlike you, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News actually visited Gitmo and can confirm how well the prisoners are treated.

And they let him back out?! What the fuck am I paying taxes for if I can't get someone like O'Liely imprisoned and tortured?

Now I'm really pissed off... mutter mutter

Posted by: craigie on June 18, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is hysterical. The left is becoming more and more desperate as each day, and GOP victory passes. They don't even stand a chance in '06, let alone '08. If Bilbray can win a seat on the heels of Cunninghams felonies, the left may as well kiss it all goodbye.

They've painted themselves into a corner on so many issues, have pandered far too much to the lunatic left fringe that they couldn't possibly put together a platform that won't divide the party. They lack vision, they lack leadership, they lack sense and they lack unity. But they don't lack the ability to whine and moan about the same topics ad nauseum. That really is the best role for them, just sit home and complain about shit and let the grown ups take care of business.

Posted by: Jay on June 18, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Pointing out that throwing people in prison without charges is not democratic, and that denying press access to where they're being held is "whining"?

Well then, I guess the people who wrote the constitution were whiners too.

Posted by: jj on June 18, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, that is not democratic jj, I agree completely. Who's doing that?

Posted by: Jay on June 18, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Who's doing that?

Your government.

Most of the Gitmo detainees have not been formally charged. Not even in military courts.

A very small number have been charged:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4416682.stm

And there's a good chance some are innocent. We don't know. Most of them don't get a trial. Take this guy, for instance:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story/0,13743,1540752,00.html

I mean, probably most of these guys are terrorists. But it's a black eye on us that we don't care about the rights of the people who may be innocent, or guilty of minor crimes, especially if their treatment is tantamount to torture (see the Guardian article).

We're one of the countries that basically invented the idea human rights. It's really sad...

Posted by: jj on June 18, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

...We're one of the countries that basically invented the idea human rights. It's really sad...

Posted by: jj on June 18, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, yes! It's really sad.
Human rights has been around since the age of chivalry and before. It has always been executed selectively. Maybe now more than earlier.

For 60 years we showed one color and hid the other. We (mostly) suported the UN, world peace, world unification (UN, IMF, WB, OECD, NATO, SEATO, etc., etc.). We also interfered with every government we found objectionable to the degree of assassination or revolution.

We WERE totally behind the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations (having failed to support the League of Nations following WWI) and suffered the repurcussions, but then ignored the lessons to be learned.

It's taken us 5 years to dismantle 60 years of progess.

Well done George W. Bush. Well done the Republican Party. Well done you right wing trolls that have no world view. Well done in dropping 70 years of wisdom for an idealoguic sound bite. Well done in undoing 40 years of nuclear, chemical and biological arms control.

Geniei every one of you.

Arse holes every one. Ignorant to the extreme.

Posted by: notthere on June 19, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

This is hysterical. The right is becoming more and more desperate each day.As Iraq sinks ever deeper into civil war. They don't stand a chance in '06, let alone '08. If Bilbray can win a seat on the heels of Cunninghams felonies,after the right spends billions to do it we may as well kiss it all goodbye.

We painted themselves into a corner on so many issues, have pandered far too much to the lunatic religous fringe that they couldn't possibly put together a platform that won't divide the party. We lack vision, have no leadership,no sense and no unity. But we don't lack the ability to whine and moan about the same topics ad nauseum. That really is the best role for us, just sit home and complain about shit and let the grown ups take care of business. I hope the Dems save us soon.

Posted by: Jay on June 19, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

The trolls made the WM comments boards unreadable a long time ago. The propensity of people to feed the trolls here makes it worse.

Simply ignoring them would be the ideal solution. Failing that, everybody using their handles would be the funny solution.

Everyone could be Jay or American Hawk or Al for the day. Just drink to the edge of incoherence and irrational thought before typing. It couldn't be any worse than the normal hijackings.

Posted by: Mysticdog on June 19, 2006 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

She's saying that Bush and the Pentagon have acted disgracefully and permanently sullied our reputation.

The American prison at Guantanamo Bay is by far the most humanely run prison in Cuba. Among other amenities, it is the only one that provides religious texts to the inmates and religiously sensitive food. How does that sully anyone's reputation, anyone other than the Cubans?

The prisons and practices that should be compared to the USSR's during the Cold War are those of the Cuban government.

Posted by: republicrat on June 19, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

Mudwall Jackson: obviously anyone trying to report the facts as she sees them must hate america.

She isn't tryng to report the facts, she's trying to report the shortcomings of America. Anyone trying to report the facts, would aim for a systematic report on good and bad in all the prisons.

Posted by: republicrat on June 19, 2006 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

That should be good for a couple hundred spittle-flecked screeds from the remaining Bush dead-enders in Southern California.

Sometimes I wonder whether you have any judgement at all. The EU inspector reported that the Guantanamo Bay prison was more humane than the prisons in his home nation of Belgium. I posted the link at the time (BBC online, IIRC). Do you really not understand how much better off the prisoners are at Gitmo than at almost any other prison? Except for the violence of the prisoners, it is almost as nice as a "country club" federal prison.

Posted by: republicrat on June 19, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

The American prison at Guantanamo Bay is by far the most humanely run prison in Cuba....

Posted by: republicrat on June 19, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

...Except for the violence of the prisoners, it is almost as nice as a "country club" federal prison.

Posted by: republicrat on June 19, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, how are the Cuban prisons these days? I don't remember them ranking with Greece or Turkey in the 70s. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't remember torture featuring as part of US anti-Cuban propaganda. Maybe I'm wrong.

What arse-hole ignorant comments. At present, the prison might be "nicer" than any prison in Cuba, Turkey, Uzbekistan or Iraq.

By our own standards this is not much of a recommendation and doesn't say anything about the past treatment or present day lack of common rights: habeas corpus, representation, reasonable procedure of justice. We know there has been torture, and mistreatment that continues. Morally, the US administration is no better than the worst of S. American military juntas.

Hooyah! Go USA!

It's so nice, why, republicrat, declare yourself an al-Qaeda terrorist and have SOoo much fun living in your country club for free at tax-payers expense. I'll meet you 7 a.m. at the first tee!

Ass!

P.S. All the people who have come back with a view that Guantanamo Bay Prison is A-OK (O'Reilly, too. Wow!) have had a very limited, controlled, USArmy-guided tour. Ask the prisoners . . . sorry, hotel residents. Somehow they have a completely contradictory view although we all know the vaste majority of them have never been active anti-US terrorists.

The evidence is out. The Administration has not been able to refute it. "State Secrets in the way, sorry." The US looks like shit and you, Republicrat, can share the guilt.

Posted by: notthere on June 19, 2006 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

First of all the detainees at Git mo are not prisoners, they're enemy combatants having been plucked off the field of battle in Aghanistan. We have the right to retain them for the remainder of the conflict if necessary. Secondly, many have already been outright released and/or sent to their country of origin.

The disdain for this country demonstrated by the brain damage that is notthere and jj is classic left wing fringe and IS the reason the Democrats will not be winning any election anytime soon. I find it interesting that they argue about the toruture (never proven) and conditions of Gitmo, yet turn their head when it somes to other prison consitions say in Cuba, China, etc. If you are soooooo concerned about prisoners human rights, why is not more widespread?

Two of your brain damaged compatriots recently stated that they felt the US military should only be deployed at the direction of the UN and under international law. PLEEEEAAAASSSEEEE tell everyone that and make that a plank of the '08 platform. It will go over well, I promise.

Posted by: Jay on June 19, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

America Chickensquawk: . . . it was a privilege extended to her by the government.

See, I told you that the Right didn't believe in the Constitution.

Now they are saying that the freedoms our founders considered inalienable and something not granted by the government, but owned by the people inherently, are "privileges" to be granted or taken away by the government at its whim.

No wonder they don't object to Bush's initiatives to destroy constitutional rights in this country.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Jay the Liar: First of all the detainees at Git mo are not prisoners, they're enemy combatants having been plucked off the field of battle in Aghanistan.

prisoner
noun

1. Someone who is under arrest or confined in prison.

Thesaurus: convict, con (slang), captive, inmate, jailbird (slang), detainee, internee.

2. A captive, especially in war.

See, I told you conservatives have their own dictionary in which they give words bizarre definitions in order to support their inane arguments which hold no water unless those words are redefined into distorted meanings.

In other words: they LIE about the meanings of words in order to justify their self-serving claims that can't be justified without using these bizarre and false definitions.

Jay the Liar: I find it interesting that they argue about the toruture (never proven) and conditions of Gitmo, yet turn their head when it somes to other prison consitions say in Cuba, China, etc.

The second part is an outright lie, not to mention it is the GOP and conservatives that are making nice with China so they can profit.

In any event, the US controls Gitmo and criticism of the administration's human rights abuses there can possibly have an effect on those abuses; obsessing about Cuba and China (but only when conservatives aren't profitting from under the table dealings with those countries) is preaching to the choir about something which cannot be changed, since Bush refuses to invade either of these countries, despite his claims that they are so horrible, as horrible as Saddam.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

the detainees at Git mo are not prisoners, they're enemy combatants

So the Bush admin lawyers tell us, after copious meetings with their legal teams and a thesaurus.

We have the right to retain them for the remainder of the conflict if necessary.

Which conflict--the War on Terror? the War in Iraq? the Long War? (the War on Eurasia?)

I find it interesting that they argue about the toruture (never proven) and conditions of Gitmo, yet turn their head when it somes to other prison consitions say in Cuba, China, etc.

That would make a great national tagline: "America: Our human rights sucks less than China, Cuba, etc."

Hey, I would be all for cracking down on human rights in China. But unfortunately they own all our debt. So I doubt the Bushies are going to bother them much...

Posted by: JJ on June 19, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

JJ: So the Bush admin lawyers tell us . . .

No, they tell us the detainees at Gitmo aren't "prisoners of war", which is not the same as merely "prisoner", the term Jay used.

As usual, and like his fellow conservatives, Jay is grossly imprecise with his language (which gives one insight into why they are so imprecise and incorrect in their intellectual analysis of important issues) and never seems to say what he means or mean what he says.

Invariable, Jay also ends up contradicting what he's said earlier because he can't keep track of all of his lies and various misdefinitions of words, conveniently redefined time and again to fit the particular argument he is trying to use to rationalize some inane Bush policy decision or his own equally inane commentary on a particular issue.

Jay: clueless, dishonest, and irrational.

Jay the Liar.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: Secondly, many have already been outright released and/or sent to their country of origin.

Meaning there either was insufficient evidence of their guilt or they were innocent.

Contrary to what the administration and its supporters have claimed, that only real terrorists need have any fear from administration tactics.

Liars.

The proof is in the release of these and other prisoners.

BTW, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended the holding of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba on Wednesday, saying some of those who had been released had returned to fight against the United States.

If the administration believes it can hold these people indefinitely and they also claim that they know these people are enemies of America, then why did they release these known enemies?

Are they incompetent?

Well, yes.

Do they hate America and our troops and want to ensure fresh enemy troops available to fight against our own troops?

Apparently!

Were these perhaps people who had not previously been fighting against American, people who were in fact innocent which is why they were released, but became our enemy because of their incarceration and treatment at Gitmo?

A very good possibility, especially if the first two possibilities, incompetence and hatred for America and our troops, are rejected.

No matter which answer above is correct, they all point to an administration out of control that is putting innocent life at risk, both innocent foreigners and our own troops, by either creating more enemy combatants or improperly releasing them (based on their own stated criteria), and creating more terrorists then they are destroying.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is not as bad as Stalin. Bush is more like Kosigyn. Cheney is the Breshnev.

Posted by: Hostile on June 19, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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