The government with the help of the ever prostrating press has sanitized the countless human rights violations in the War on Terror, especially with regards to torture and detention, by claiming that the detainees are the “worst of the worst”, enemy combatants, and too dangerous to set foot in our supermax prisons.
We now know that many of the detainees were not in fact captured on the battle field but were picked up off the streets in other countries, and that even the stories of those released only to return to the battlefield were pure fabrications; just another case of the press pushing the CIA company line by publishing unsubstantiated leaks. Then there were the Uyghurs (who we only kept in Guantanamo as part of a deal to gain China’s support for our War on Terror), those captured by head hunters without discrimination, and even a foreign journalist from Al Jazeera who was finally released after five years in a cage for doing much less than the two American women who now about to stand trial in North Korea. At least these women got pardoned by North Korea.
A good illustration of just how far we, as a nation, have strayed, take the recent example of Mohamed Jawad, as discussed by Glenn Greenwald,
As I noted last Friday, Mohamed Jawad became the latest Guantanamo detainee ordered released by a federal judge on the ground that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the accusations against him. Jawad was shipped from his native Afghanistan halfway around the world to the American prison in 2002, when he was no older then 15 and possibly as young as 12, accused of throwing a grenade at two American soldiers in his country. The evidence against him consisted almost entirely of a “confession” he made after Afghan soldiers threatened to kill both him and his family if he did not confess — threats issued shortly after two innocent Afghans detainees were killed by American soldiers in Bagram prison. I previously wrote in detail about Jawad’s case here.
. . . even if the accusations against Jawad were true — and a federal judge just ruled there was little or no credible evidence that they are — it would mean that he did nothing more than throw a grenade at two soldiers who were part of a foreign army that had invaded his country. Not even the Bush administration ever claimed he had anything to do with Al Qaeda, or was a high-level member of the Taliban, or had anything to do with any Terrorist plots. Independent of whether the American invasion of Afghanistan was or was not justified, how could an act like that — an attack by a native citizen against soldiers of an invading army — possibly make someone a Terrorist or a war criminal, let alone justify shipping them thousands of miles away to a camp for Terrorists (or, more bizarrely still, trying them in an American criminal court under American criminal law)?
It’s as though we’ve interpreted the laws of war so that it’s perfectly legal for the U.S. to invade, occupy and bomb other countries, but it’s illegal and criminal — it turns someone into a Terrorist — if any of the citizens of those countries fight back against our army. When one adds to all of that Jawad’s very young age at the time of his detention, the fact that he was repeatedly tortured, and the fact that he’s now been kept in a cage for seven years, thousands of miles from his country, without any charges at all, his ongoing detention should horrify any decent person.
Take away the cleaned up versions, and it is hard to accept our government’s actions or the fact that we are so eager to endorse the abuse. Or are we just a very, very vindictive people.