My Beautiful Wickedness


Guantanamo
April 12, 2007, 8:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

There are many reasons that I want Gitmo closed. First, well duh, it’s a violation of Cuban sovereignty to have a US military installation on their territory..but that’s another rant for another day.

The indefinite detention of nearly 400 foreign nationals as inmates in this military prison is beyond the scope of American law. (Again, well duh. If we had any legal right to hold them on American soil, they wouldn’t be stuck in Cuba, eh?) Gitmo’s continued operation allows the US government to detain without due process foreign nationals in contravention of international law and good diplomatic practice. Despite the ruling that the Geneva Conventions DO apply to these men (why was that ever in doubt? Good lord….), the last 5 years have indicated that our current administration has little intention of extending either mercy or justice to these men.

Yes, 5 years. Imagine being held for five years without hope of release, without independent verification of your status, without clear protections from torture (the allegations are hair-curling, y’all), without consistent news from your family, without knowing for sure if anything you’re being told is true, without consistent access to your religious texts or worship opportunities, in an atmosphere so psychologically distressing that your peers kill themselves or starve themselves rather than to continue on. Getting right to the moral point, I believe that Americans are perpetuating the kind of human rights abuses that I’ve worked against all my adult life. NOTHING can justify this sort of behavior. (Those who know me know I’m more of a pragmatist than a pacifist or an idealist, but on this point, I indulge myself in some moral absolutism.) I don’t want my country to roll this way. Although I know full well the history of imperial occupation, military subordination, racism, and xenophobia that got us here, I also know that people — and countries — can change. This is a heart-change that must happen.

If you don’t know much about what’s going on in Guantanamo (being paid for by your taxes and conducted in your name), you can go here or here or you can Google. And if you feel moved to do something, you can join with Virginia Senator Jim Webb (who is rapidly becoming a Gary Cooper-esque voice of American common sense) and request that the US Government close this painshop.

I remember when we were writing letters to Burma and Turkey and Iraq…and some asshat Texas Governor named Bush. Little did I think then that the whole nation would wind up being run by the same gang who believed the Texas penal system insufficiently zealous.

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