Thursday, August 18, 2005

John Cole notes another conviction of an abusive soldier.

John thinks this has to be indicative of something sinister at higher levels, perhaps even as high as the civilians in the Bush admin. I can understand his suspicion, but I tend to disagree on the grounds this kind of thing has been proven to be human nature.

The experiment very quickly got out of hand. Prisoners suffered — and accepted — sadistic and humiliating treatment at the hands of the guards, and by the end many showed severe emotional disturbance.
Prisoner “counts”, which had initially been devised to help prisoners get acquainted with their identity numbers, devolved into hours-long ordeals, in which guards tormented the prisoners and imposed physical punishments including long bouts of forced exercise.
And that wasn’t even a real prison.

Of course, the perpetrators need to be punished, and if anyone can provide a scrap of evidence that this was ordered or condoned by anyone higher-up, those people should be punished too.

One of the great ironies of the whole Gitmo debate: even as we’re accused of violating people’s rights, we are releasing terrorists, some of whom have been killed or captured fighting us again in Afghanistan.

We can’t lock people up just because we think they’re terrorists—nor should we. If they take a vow to not fight us again, some are being released.

It’s not a perfect system. It’s not a perfect world, either. We’re doing the best we can.

Transparency and accountability. That’s all we can ask.


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