Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Defining torture down, Part 238

The Boston Globe is raising the banner of triumph over Monday's court decision that the Guantanamo prisoners. And boy oh boy, are they ever giddy:

The Bush administration created the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as its version of Devil's Island, where jailers' edicts would prevail in place of civil law. A federal district judge took a sledgehammer to this imprisonment on Monday by declaring that the rights of 11 inmates were being abridged in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Wow, a sledgehammer! Sounds impressive! Just how much of an impact did this ruling make? Umm, well...

Judge Joyce Hens Green's ruling is at odds with one issued by another federal district judge, which said in effect that the inmates had no rights to violate. A higher court will have to work out which view prevails.

Well, this is certainly a letdown -- it's an already-conflicted ruling, which will require other rulings! Not exactly sledgehammer stuff here. It's not as though we didn't expect the prisoners' attorneys to appeal if the case didn't go their way. The impact of this case is exactly zero, and I certainly don't recall this much noise being made over the earlier court decision. But let's get past the Globe's hyperbole, and get into vacuous conjecture:

Green's reasoning jibes better with a Supreme Court ruling last June. Abuse at the prison is well known, as are cases of unjustified detention.

Number of examples given by the Globe? Zero.

There is little reason for the high court to give inmates the power to sue unless it expected that some of their cases would prevail.

It's hard to pick out the single most asinine claim in this article, but the preceding is a good contender. The Supreme Court's decision to let some Guantanamo prisoners sue is in no way an indicator that they might have a case. It's simply a legal position that says enemy combatants are not automatically excluded from judicial review. But forget this lawyerly stuff, let's get to the meat and potatoes -- or, rather, the very watery broth:

If the courts won't interfere, who will stop the torture cited by Green in her decision -

Torture? Surely some examples are coming! Cigarette burns, nails pulled out, flesh carvings, sodomization, that kind of thing?

- inmates chained hand and feet in a fetal position for 18 to 24 hours, air-conditioning turned off or jacked up to near freezing levels?

...Wait, that's it? The prisoners were made uncomfortable? They were made to feel hot (My God! No air conditioning! In the Caribbean! Who can withstand such horrors?), cold (No, please, don't crank up the A/C now!), and stiff from holding the same pose for a day? How does the Globe think information is extracted, by saying "pretty please" a lot? But, hold on, the full horror of a Guantanamo imprisonment is yet to come:

And, while it did not figure in Green's decision, the recent report that a woman interrogator was using fake menstrual fluid to frighten inmates also illustrates the abuses encouraged by Guantámano's lawless status.

Yep, that's right. Menstrual fluid. The prisoners were "abused" by having some liquid put on them. Mind you, it wasn't even real blood, but they were told that it was. Who wrote these definitions of "abuse" and "torture" -- preteen girls? Ewww! Get away from me, you unclean menstruating infidel! By the power of Allah and Mohammed his messenger, that is, like, totally grrosss! I now fully expect the next batch of released jihadis to breathlessly claim that their American jailers theatened them with a permanent infection of cooties. Zionist cooties.

To call this "torture" is to belittle everyone who has ever suffered the real thing -- much of it at the hands of dictators shielded by the "progressives" of their day, which the Globe dimwits who wrote this tripe no doubt consider themselves.

In comparison to the preceding alarmist idiocy, the closing paragraph is an improvement, as it is merely inane and pointless:

Green criticized the tribunals set up to handle prisoner appeals, but did not specify a better system. Bush should establish one that fairly processes appeals, then release inmates that pose no threat, transfer the others to a military prison in the United States, and close the Guantánamo detention camp. If he won't do that, U.S. judges need to keep reminding him that battling terrorism is not an open-ended invitation to violate human rights.

Brilliant. We will capture all these people on the field of battle, then try them each individually, while giving each one a private room at the Waldorf-Astoria, where they need never be in the presense of an "unclean" menstruating woman, lest they should be made uncomfortable. And we will magically figure out which inmates "pose no threat" and have no useful information. We can do no less: just because we're trying to keep Islamic nuts from killing our citizens by the dozens does not mean we have "an open-ended invitation to violate human rights." Thank you, oh the enlightened souls at the Boston Globe -- you truly are members of a banality-based community.


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