June 22, 2007
Devil’s Island (Bob Franken)
@ 12:10 pm
I have been to Guantanamo Bay a lot since they brought the first prisoners, uh, “detainees.”After an outcry from reporters the military decided it was better to let us in rather than face questioning over what they were hiding.
So they came up with a tightly controlled tour of the facility. Journalists call it “The Dog and Pony Show.”
I mean TIGHTLY controlled. We had to sign restrictive agreements about what we could say and show. And we weren’t really allowed to see much anyway that departed from the propaganda that these detainees were being “treated in humane fashion”
Well, all that did was fuel more relentless questions about what they were hiding.
No detainee has escaped, of course, but inevitably, teeny morsels of the truth did. In the name of fighting the War on Terror, U.S. interrogators were oftentimes engaging in treatment that could hardly be described as “humane.”
Guantanamo has been an international embarrassment. So much so that there is a debate within the administration over whether it should be shut down.
But that’s really complex. If these detainees are brought to the United States they would have habeas corpus rights.
For a government that refused to even extend them Geneva Convention protections, this would be like poison.
The administration argues that such niceties are distractions in the fight against global terrorism.
But even with all that the word of mistreatment oozed out and Guantanamo is an embarrassment. So too is the effort to conceal what was going on all this time.
So our national security leaders have painted themselves, and us, into a corner. Democracy can sure be inconvenient.
Speaking of their disdain for the public’s right to know what goes on in this fight to protect our way of life, a friend once remarked, “Never have so many fought so hard for freedoms they despise.”