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Offlinelonestar2004
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On serious note, Gitmo tactics far from torture
    #4316541 - 06/20/05 12:00 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)



John Kass
On serious note, Gitmo tactics far from torture


Published June 17, 2005


Some readers are angry that I made light of the politics surrounding the treatment of suspected terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay. They're upset that I didn't take it seriously.

OK. I'll take it seriously, particularly statements by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who compared Guantanamo to Hitler's camps, Stalin's gulags and the Cambodian killing fields of the Khmer Rouge.

Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot murdered roughly 50 million people. At Guantanamo, suspected terrorists have been made uncomfortable, including a minion of Osama bin Laden's who was forced to listen to Christina Aguilera tunes. But I haven't heard of anyone being killed there.

Which brings me to those outraged at my lack of outrage. I understand the problem. The suspected terrorists don't wear the uniform of a nation state. An innocent man may be held there simply because a neighbor ratted him out to grab his land.

And there are legitimate legal concerns as to how to treat them under the law. There also are immediate issues--such as finding out what they know in order to protect Americans here and overseas.

But on Thursday, I had some fun with a Time magazine report about the use of Christina Aguilera's music by interrogators to loosen tongues at Gitmo.

Why? Because I thought it was funny. And because most of the debate is calculated, having little to do with the merits and much to do with midterm elections.

By the way, I'd like to thank all those who sent in their favorite songs to be offered as new Guantanamo musical interrogation tools, now to be referred to as "Interro-Tunes."

According to my quick look at the Tribune Web site, the Interro-Tune leader appeared to be "Muskrat Love" by the Captain & Tennille.

But I remain loyal to "Ballerina," and the chorus "Dance, ballerina, dance," as the best musical breaker of terrorist will. Yet I also had hoped to explore the musical stylings of the noted Calypso singers the Rev. Louis Farrakhan and Harry "Shut your mouth, go away; Mama look a Boo-Boo" Belafonte.

Still, some folks thought it was in poor taste, and I got letters warning of a letter-writing campaign. A colleague forwarded the following letter to me, representative of others I received.

"There is nothing funny about torture. Torture is what the bad guys do. Torture negates our common humanity. Torture is what the Nazis did. Torture is what Stalin did. Torture is what Saddam did. Why is the U.S. torturing prisoners?"

Yes, torture is not funny. But I don't consider what is going on at Guantanamo worthy of the Hitler tag. Interestingly, the letter mirrors what Durbin recently said on the Senate floor. He complained that detainees were kept in chairs to soil themselves and subjected to "extremely loud rap music" while chained in a fetal position on the floor. Durbin said:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by the Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

"It is not too late," Durbin said. "I hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course."

We're at war, Senator. How can you possibly justify that statement?

And you know what? We have learned from history. The reason buildings at Guantanamo are full is because there are two big holes in the ground in New York.

Senator, weren't you one of those legitimately complaining that U.S. intelligence dropped the ball and something had to be done so it wouldn't happen again?

It is being done. Much of it isn't polite or civilized and some of it upsets me, like the abuse of the Koran. Suspects have been pushed around, hurt, and enemies have been given propaganda fodder.

Clearly, Americans don't like it when others get hurt. But Americans really don't like it when Americans get hurt.
At any rate, this is not the kind of torture I've heard about. In World War II in Greece, my father was handed over to the Germans on the suspicion he aided downed British airmen. They beat him, day after day, making him dig his own grave. He played dumb to survive and it worked. An uncle was forced into a labor camp. The Nazis didn't use Christina Aguilera music on him, though luckily, he too survived.

Sen. Durbin, in other places, suspected terrorists have their feet flayed with rods, their families raped; they're force-fed a quart of olive oil, then tied, seated, to a block of ice. By your own words, Senator, Guantanamo isn't remotely like that.

You don't have to apologize to the Republicans in the White House. But Senator, you should apologize to the nation.

And if you don't have the stomach for the work, please have the guts not to play partisan politics with what has to be done.

Seriously.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0506170085jun17,0,4134306.column?page=2&coll=chi-ed_opinion_columnists-utl


--------------------
America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: On serious note, Gitmo tactics far from torture [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4317651 - 06/20/05 06:08 PM (12 years, 6 days ago)

of course...its not torture if we do it...


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Offlinelonestar2004
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Re: On serious note, Gitmo tactics far from torture [Re: Annapurna1]
    #4317672 - 06/20/05 06:15 PM (12 years, 6 days ago)


.


--------------------
America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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OfflineRedstorm
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Re: On serious note, Gitmo tactics far from torture [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4317682 - 06/20/05 06:17 PM (12 years, 6 days ago)

:lol: You mean the Nazi's didn't listen to gangster rap and Christina Aguilera?

In all seriousness, what is happening in Guantanamo isn't torture. We shouldn't use torture, but not b/c of ethics. We shoudln't use it b/c it is not effective.


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