Saturday, May 03, 2008
There is apparently a souvenir shop at Gitmo. I am not sure which I find more entertaining -- the souvenirs themselves, or that the NGOs are so batshit with rage over them.
The fundamental problem here is that our country has started imprisoning people without giving them a fair trial. No matter what people are accused of, we're supposed to have fair trials to figure out whether they're innocent or guilty. That's sort of a basic point of justice, and one of the ways we tell a good regime from an evil one is whether they abide by it.
When something that awful is happening, it's kind of crass to build a souvenir shop around it.
What a bunch of nonsense.
The souvenirs are for the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, America's oldest overseas naval base. Yes, the base has the detention area. But, as the article notes, the 45-square-mile base also has a KFC, a Pizza Hut, a bowling alley, and a McDonald's with Happy Meals. More than 9,300 U.S. sailors and Marines work there. Most of them don't guard prisoners.
Many American military installations offer logo items (just like Porsche, Google, and TigerHawk have logo items). Military personnel buy the items for their kids and other family members back home.
Actually Gitmo is a "5-star resort" compared to some of the hellholes I've seen in other countries.
Some folks need to join the Navy and see the world.
Of course, Neil, one of the situations in which we imprison people without giving them any trial is war. That the enemy has made that a slightly more problematic exercise than in wars past by not wearing uniforms is the enemy's fault, not ours. Arguably, we have made up for that by making the facilities down there just about the most comfortable POW camp in history.
No matter what the enemy has done, I'm going to be interested in making sure that the people we imprison for the rest of their lives are actually guilty, and aren't just innocent people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I can see how you hold POWs without trial, but that's because it's completely obvious that they were at war against you. Here we have a situation where we don't know who was an al-Qaeda member and who wasn't, and that's a situation where you need to have real trials so that you're not imprisoning noncombatants. Or allies.
On that last point, take a look at this:
"Abdul Razzaq Hekmati was regarded here as a war hero, famous for his resistance to the Russian occupation in the 1980s and later for a daring prison break he organized for three opponents of the Taliban government in 1999.
But in 2003, Mr. Hekmati was arrested by American forces in southern Afghanistan when, senior Afghan officials here contend, he was falsely accused by his enemies of being a Taliban commander himself. For the next five years he was held at the American military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he died of cancer on Dec. 30. (...)
Several high-ranking officials in President Hamid Karzai’s government say Mr. Hekmati’s detention at Guantánamo was a gross mistake. They were mentioned by Mr. Hekmati in his hearings and could have vouched for him. Records from the hearings show that only a cursory effort was made to reach them."
Now, I don't know for sure what happened in this case -- none of us do. The reason we have trials is so that we can make sure we're punishing the bad guys and not the good guys.
I left this comment at the paper's site:
There are many factual errors in this article. In fact the writer gets more things wrong than he gets right. There is no Wal-Mart, there is an NEX like any naval base. If you are not an assigned military member to GTMO, then there is no vacation there. (Other than the occasional naval vessel in town for refueling.) There are no "mock flights" to Egypt. The picture shown was of Camp X-Ray which has been shut for 6 years. Yes, they sell all those souvenirs, I saw them with my own eyes. But they are simply sarcastic t-shirts and mugs. I worked as a linguist down there and if you believe the detainees are nice men, then you are a fool. The only torture I saw was the torture the detainees put the American guards through. Like throwing around feces, for example. . .
FROM VICTOR DAVIS HANSON:
We hear that Guantamo is a Stalag or Gulag; but the real disaster is the rising number of early released killers—so unlike the fate of our enemies caught out of uniform in WWII—who have gone on to kill the innocent, such as the former Gitmo murderer who blew himself and seven Iraqis in Mosul recently. The essence of modern liberalism: agitate to eliminate the theoretical and distant wrong to find alleviation of guilt, then absence of any contrition when in the here and now the innocent are killed for that magnanimity. The ultra liberal always feels good at someone else’s expense.
You may this for what it is worth: anecdotal second-hand information from one of my closest friends was an MP in Gitmo from 2002-2003. The souveniers he brought back were specific to that experience. He was part of an Exreme Reaction Force (ERF) team and they have T-shirts, too. He refers to ERFing the "Carrots", so called for their orange jump suits. He also has mercenary David Hick's ID card.
He had faeces thrown at him as well. I'm not sure which came first, but he confirms that part of ERFing detainees involved shoving their heads in toilets. My friend says ERFing was ordered not just to deal with unruly detainees but to soften them up before interrogation.
Such determinations are *supposed* to be made by a trial. A military trial. It's called a military tribunal. You know, the process that was decried as militaristic nonsense by, oh, the entire left wing of the country back in the early days of the war.
Unfortunately, that's the only kind of trial that the laws of war have for such 'unconventional' prisoners. (also known as unlawful combatants)
So, the people responsible for denying these POWs a trial are... the Democrats.
And given that they can't be given trials, they are held until the end of hostilities like any other POW in any other war. And again, unfortunately, the ones whom we have released early after they promised to be good have done things like lead attacks in Afghanistan, raise money for jihad in Pakistan, (where they are local celebrities for having been to 'the evil gulag Gitmo' and living to tell the tale) and committed suicide attacks in Iraq. Which sort of discourages up from releasing any more.
But the Republicans are the bad guys.
Isn't it a wacky world?
Terrorists are not criminals. You don't have Soldiers running around reading terrorists their Miranda Rights. That's ten kinds of stupid, and what got us about thirty years of "Law Enforcement" to terrorism from the Seventies to 9/11.
How about a few nukes to flatten a few US cities?
You deter terrorism by killing people. Terrorists first, and then their enablers. There are NO RULES. None whatsoever.
The people at Gitmo ought to be wrung out, and then when no longer useful, shot publicly in front of the other prisoners. Or perhaps hung. Either way is acceptable.
Since most people value US lives over terrorists caught on foreign battlefields.
Once Dems (and idiot McCain) close down Gitmo, all these terrorists will have to be let go since not a single soldier read them their Miranda Rights. This includes KSM, the engineer of 9/11.
We'll just have to let him go.
Here's the stupidity of the Liberals -- they care more about moralizing and how people abroad "like us" than killing terrorists to deter future attacks. Letting KSM go (which will happen when we close Gitmo and bring him to the US and civilian criminal justice ala OJ) guarantees a wave of future attacks.