Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Another great post

A great post from the Poorman (via Atrios).

Its hard for me to understand how the average American isn't interested in what is being done in his/her name. To actually use the Geneva Conventions to justify what is going on at Gitmo and other places seems to be more a way to win the argument rather than doing what is right.

For example, the other day on the O'Reilly Factor, Bill harrassed his guest concerning treatment of those at Gitmo . To paraphrase, O'Reilly read the passage to his guest (a lawyer) in which it is stated that the Geneva Conventions only apply to those who wear a uniform or other symbol which is recognized as part of an army. Therefore, those at Gitmo can't be considered POWs.

O'REILLY: All right, and what is the defining thing that you have to have,
if you're captured?
BROOKS: You have to have a fixed symbol, recognizable at
a distance.
O'REILLY: Right, you have to have a uniform.
BROOKS: Yes. Well, it doesn't say uniform, actually.
O'REILLY: Yes, it does. It says...
BROOKS: You got it in front of you? It doesn't say uniform. Uniform
or a fixed symbol recognizable...
O'REILLY: Now you just made a mistake. OK, the members must wear a uniform or other fixed distinctive emblem.
BROOKS: That's absolutely right.
O'REILLY: They have not.
BROOKS: Not necessarily. But that's -- if they're not members of...
O'REILLY: But what? Here is the treaty.
BROOKS: The civilians...
O'REILLY: They didn't do it.
O'REILLY: There's no "but." Here's the treaty. They
didn't do it, you want them to give them the treaty.

Now, O'Reilly is right. He's happy to have won the arguement. But the question I want to ask that jackass is, is he happy that there are people at Gitmo who have been there for upwards of three years, not charged, no contact with family, no lawyers and no access to any of this? Does he find that morally acceptable?
The United States sets the standard around the world for prosecuting crime. Yes, we get it wrong many times. The accused have rights (some crazy guy once said that all people have 'unalienable rights'). Yes, these people are not American citizens (Jose Padilla excluded), but are we as a nation not willing to hold ourselves up to the highest standard of human rights?

Ask yourself this, if these people at Gitmo know anything, wouldn't we have found it out in the three years that have passed? If evidence was procured, wouldn't we be charging and prosecuting them? Wouldn't this make a great story for the Bush administration about what information we have procured from these inmates?

Why aren't Americans pushing for that higher standard? Forget the arguement that it would generate positivity in the Middle East (though I believe that). It is the RIGHT thing to do. If you imprison someone, they should be charged with a crime. Why don't Americans care anymore?

What is more important? Winning the argument or doing the right thing?


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