Wednesday, June 1, 2005


DENY AND SHIFT THE FOCUS. I am just wondering: What does the President, and now Donald Rumsfeld, hope to gain by not only denying prisoner abuse by Americans at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but by vilifying Amnesty International for comparing the prison camp to a Soviet-era "gulag" and calling for it to be shut down? Interesting tactic: deny the emerging truth and shift the focus of scrutiny to the non-profit organization that has, over decades, consistently and credibly monitored international human rights and identified specific abuses. Interesting, indeed.

A GULAG IS AS A GULAG DOES. Amnesty International's response to the President's comments at yesterday's press conference seem level-headed and resolute. The organization maintains confidence in its findings, explains why Guantanamo can legitimately be compared to a "gulag," calls for the prison camp to be dismantled, and for the U.S. Administration to dramatically change its policies on prisoner and detainee treatment in its "war on terror."

LET'S GET AT THE TRUTH. It seems to me that everyone would be helped--not the least prisoners who are reported as being mistreated--if the President would call for an independent investigation of allegations of abuse and charges of internationally unacceptable conditions at Guantanamo and other U.S. military prisons. The Administration's tough words and insistent denial in the face of mounting domestic and international concern no longer hold water. An independent investigation might also stave off further reduction in the confidence Americans have in the President (his approval rating is at an all-time low). Let's ask an impartial investigator to find out how folks are really being treated in these prisons over which the American flag waves, signaling "liberty and justice for all." If there are abuses or activities which do not reflect the decency of people who hold democratic values, change course and make it right.

1 comment:

  1. GULAG OR NOT? Amnesty International has been scolded by the Bush Administratation for comparing Guantanamo to a Soviet-era "gulag." There are differences, to be sure, but many likenesses. Amnesty International used the reference very intentionally, to draw international and the American public's attention to what is going on under American auspices on the island of Cuba.

    "GUANTANAMO." It is now possible, it seems to me, to discontinue using the world "gulag." It appears that the Bush Administration has managed, through its remonstance in the face of glaring facts, to create a new reference to the actions of a hegemonic empire to detain, abuse, hold without charges, trial, or rights, a large number of suspected enemy combatants. The new reality: "Guantanamo."


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