Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Airbrushing the truth on Gitmo

Reader cheesehead wanted to know my comments on this article a "first person" account of what somebody witnessed at Gitmo.

Now I saw last night on "Fox News" [sic] another one of these "I was there at Gitmo and look at all the food they got and look at their comfy digs" puff pieces.

Reader cheesehead has pointed to what used to be an exclusively right wing affair: a story would be published in a dubious outlet like "Frontpagemag" and then gets echoed in something like the Washington Times (Moonies), and then echoed in Fox News.

Or the Chicago Sun Times. Bill O'Reilly did the same meme yesterday, too.

Clearly the right has been actively pushing the "Gitmo isn't only not bad, it's cushy for those who cooperate" meme.

My radar always goes off when I see things like this; it's not like there isn't anything there that is overtly false, but what is left out? What does Fox News want in the memory hole? What do conservatives want airbrushed out of our consciousness? What, in the struggle of memory against forgetting needs to be remembered?

Well, let me get to that in a second, so I can issue a disclaimer: look, there are bad guys at Gitmo. This is obvious. Some are al Qaeda. And increasingly, it seems that the military has improved its treatment of even the worst prisoners- away from the idiotic, sadistic, and counterproductive "torture-lite" techniques (geez- these guys want to be martyrs what was Rumsfeld not thinking?) to "cognitive dissonance" - building a relationship. That's good, and will ultimately be far more effective.

BUT there have also been manifestly innocent people at Guantanamo, such as Mamdouh Habib. There have been 13 year old kids at Guantanamo. There has been multiple allegations of torture. Here's the latest.

That's one aspect of the dirt behind the daydream Fox and Horowtiz don't want you to see.

Want more?

How about this: Law enforcement officials say the idiocy of Guantanamo, and the "enemy combatant status" and "rendition" have pretty much screwed up any possiblity of giving any of these really bad terrorists enough due process to ensure that innocent people don't get abused, and that means, of course, that this idiocy is only creating more terrorists.

And all the rosy stories about how "they don't all wear orange jumpsuits" isn't going to change that.

I have one last comment on this spate of articles: I don’t think it’s useful to dispute that at least as of recently, inmates at Guantanamo are being treated better. Why would that be?

Could it be for the same reason that China eases up on dissidents in response to an international outcry?
Could it be that Amnesty International works?
I'd say, yeah, it does.

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