Thursday, February 16, 2006

What's wrong at Gitmo? Everything.

Dahlia Lithwick ties together the recent news from Guantanamo for a picture that is so damning, one has to wonder why it's not given more attention in the media.
Guantanamo Bay currently holds over 400 prisoners. The Bush administration has repeatedly described these men as "the worst of the worst." Ten have been formally charged with crimes and will someday face military tribunals. The rest wait to learn what they have done wrong. Two major studies conclude that most of them have done very little wrong. A third says they are being tortured while they wait.
So what gives here? Why are we keeping these people locked up (at great monetary cost, not to mention the harm done to America's public image)? Lithwick again:
The only real justification for the continued disgrace that is Guantanamo is that the government refuses to admit it's made a mistake. Releasing hundreds of prisoners after holding them for four years without charges would be big news. Better, a Guantanamo at which nothing has happened in four years. Better to drain the camp slowly, releasing handfuls of prisoners at a time.
I'd be embarassed too, if I were the Bush administration. But if the government is completely ignoring human rights - instead of protecting them - what do we really need them for? Anarchy or overt tyranny would serve these guys just as well. When the Bush administration isn't screwing things up for the American people, it's useless to them. They may have been able to win friends amongst voters, but this is not the way to keep them.

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