Modia Minotaur

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Monday, June 12, 2006

The Guantanamo Suicides

I was pretty appalled (as were the good folks at Polemica) when I heard Rear Admiral Harry Harris describe that the suicides of three Guantanamo Bay detainees as `an act of war'.

But that was before another senior US official, one Colleen Graffy, go one step further and suggest that the suicides were `a PR stunt' designed to rally support for detainees and `the jihadi cause'.

Well, for crying out loud. Let's look at this.

Firstly, America (allegedly) values the notion of `innocent until proven guilty'. That is, all allegations against a person are theoretical until they have been proven by a court of law. Perhaps the men who committed suicide were jihadis - we'll never know, because there is now no chance that they will be tried, and they should not have been held in the inhumane conditions at Guantanamo while they awaited far longer than they should have for this democratic right to trial. It is just as likely that, as with many of the people who have been released after long detentions in the facility, that they were not guilty.

One thing some people seem to find particularly difficult about human rights is that they apply to everyone. They don't get rescinded if you do something bad. Treating even a criminal inhumanely is to lower ourselves to their level. Regardless of whether these men were guilty or not, the Guantanamo Bay facility is a fundamental infraction of the right to trial, as well as an appalling way to treat people while they are awaiting the verdict on whether they are guilty or not.

The fight for democracy goes on ...

8 Comments:

At 2:59 pm, Anonymous Babko said...

Though you might be interested in this: http://weekbyweek7.blogspot.com/2006/06/guantanamo-is-forced-feeding-torture.html#links

 
At 4:39 pm, Blogger Armagnac Esq. said...

I agree my friend I agree. Dabbled in some vitriol over this issue at mine as well.

There really is NO spin that is TOO ridiculous for these failing and frantic halfwits to put their names to.

 
At 8:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: Colleen.Graffy@pepperdine.edu

Dear Ms. Graffy:

I am writing to you to remark upon the incredibly ignorant statement you made regarding the three recent suicides at Gitmo. The lack of knowledge about the causes of suicide which you demonstrated in your profoundly stupid remarks leaves me breathless for the sheer lack of understanding of an issue which is the 11th leading cause of death among Americans. (Anderson RN, Smith BL. Deaths: leading causes for 2001. National Vital Statistics Report 2003;52(9):1-86.), not to mention what incarceration without hope of release for charges unknown must do to a person. How would you like to be locked up without any knowledge of charges against you, in a land not your own, without any sense whether or not you would ever leave alive? Perhaps you should try it.

Annual rates of suicide in this country are over 30,000 per year, more than 650,000 Americans are hospitalized each year following suicide attempts, and over 116,000 are treated in hospital emergency departments for same. Among US males, suicide is the 8th leading cause of death for all US men and males are four more times likely to die from suicide than females. And this is not even beginning to quote numbers related to female and teen deaths. But don't take it from me, Ms. Graffy, check out the website of one of your fellow-governmental agencies, the CDC--that's the Centers for Disease Control in case you had failed to note its existence-- http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/suifacts.htm . There you will see a tidy introduction to a subject in which you are woefully ignorant and which all your degrees have obviously not prepared you to understand or speak about.

I come from a family which, in the last one hundred years, has experienced over a dozen suicides in its ranks. So, yeh, I tend to be rather sensitive to the issue. We are what you would call patriotic Americans, as a whole, and have done more than our share to contribute to the life of the nation in ways very big and small. To see you liken suicide as an act of warfare against the US would be funny if it were not so cruel and unfeeling. But then, cruel and unfeeling is probably how you have risen to the position you presently enjoy at State.

Do us all a favor, Ms. Graffy, and shut your mouth about subjects for which you are woefully under-qualified and under-experienced to comment. Step outside of your fishbowl of an office and limited circle of acquaintances, take a drive sometime and see the world beyond the Beltway. Touch base with reality. You are in many ways as imprisoned as the people you are verbally abusing at Gitmo.

Very Truly Yours,
Robert Pell-deChame

 
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