Sunday, June 11, 2006

War rhetoric running on empty

Three Guantanamo Bay detainees hanged themselves using nooses made of sheets and clothes, the commander of the detention centre said, in the first reported deaths among hundreds of men held at the base.

The suicides, which military officials said were coordinated, triggered further condemnation of the isolated detention centre, which holds some 460 men, including Australian David Hicks, on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Only 10 have been charged with crimes and there has been growing international pressure on the US to close the prison.

Two men from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen were found dead shortly after midnight today in separate cells, said the Miami-based US Southern Command, which has jurisdiction over the prison. Attempts were made to revive them, but they failed.

"They hung themselves with fabricated nooses made out of clothes and bed sheets," base commander Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris told reporters in a conference call from the US base in southeastern Cuba.

"They have no regard for human life," he said. "Neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us."

Military officials said the men, whose names were not released, had been held in Guantanamo Bay for about four years. All three detainees had engaged in a hunger strike to protest their indefinite incarceration and had been force-fed before quitting their protest, base commander Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris said in a conference call from Guantanamo Bay.

I can't remember where I saw it, but yesterday I read something about how the word "war" has been devalued lately. I think the proof is right here. Our government held these nameless, faceless men incommunicado, without charges, right to counsel or any form of recourse whatsoever, for four years. What our government has done is widely regarded as a flagrant human rights violation. Our goverment has, through forced feedings, not to mention torture, abuse and other violations, taken away even the most basic physical self-dtermination from these men who have never been charged with any crime. Our goverment has signalled that this situation is expected to be permanent -- a life sentence without a trial.

Perhaps you will recall another, equally aggresive act of war against our puppets in Saigon from 42 years ago:

(Wingnut disclaimer: I am not of course, equating a pacifist Buddhist monk with Al Qaeda. I am equating setting oneself on fire as protest with hanging oneself as protest. I am equating Vietnam with Iraq. And as for a government that tosses its own humanity overboard the instant it hits stormy seas-- well, I leave it to you to choose the appropriate antecedent.)

And so every act that blackens the eye of our Adminstration, no matter how personal, is an act of war.

It would be melodramatic in the extreme for me to define my humble blog as an act of war. Yet I suspect the time is approaching when my government will define it so -- such is the current rate of inflation. The return to Hobbes' Bellum omnium contra omnes may well be Bush's real legacy.


Post a Comment

<< Home

see web stats