Straight outta Kafka

The Bushies’ enthusiasm for torture is indefensible
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  July 25, 2007

We all know that the list of bad results emanating from the Bush administration’s poorly conceived and even more poorly executed foreign policy and “War on Terror” is long and growing longer. That these acts that have eroded and badly damaged the heretofore deserved reputation that this country has long enjoyed in many quarters, as a source of freedom and fairness in the world, is truly infuriating (and simultaneously, depressing).
A front page story in Monday’s New York Times touches on one such issue — Guantanamo Bay. When one mentions our military base in Cuba, a number of thoughts come to mind. One is the torture. Torture — not “aggressive interrogation techniques.” Using the bullshit phrase “aggressive interrogation techniques” is, to P&J, a bit like the constant referencing of “the N-word” regarding last week’s Papeet-gate saga. The word is “nigger.” The administration of George W. Bush sanctions torturing human beings in the name of the United States of America, and then says it’s not torture.
Apparently, the belief is that the American public has become so incredibly dumbed-down that it’ll believe up is down, two and two is five, and torture is merely an “aggressive” technique.
More so than torture, one associates Guantanamo with a broad suspension of civil liberties; people being held indefinitely without charge; the presumption of guilt, rather than innocence; paper-thin evidence that cannot be challenged; and detainees being regularly denied access to legal representation. In other words, this is the sort of hell we have come to associate with despotic regimes, totalitarian governments, and the oeuvre of Franz Kafka. And we’re running this show, the liberty-and-justice-for-all gang, the U.S. of A.
William Glaberson, who wrote the piece in the Times, profiles Stephen Abraham, a decorated counterespionage and counterterrorism specialist who served 22 years as a reserve Army intelligence officer (attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel). He is also a lawyer, a self-described political conservative who says he “cried when Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency.”
As a skilled intelligence officer, Abraham had been posted to Guantanamo and he became so appalled by the Kangaroo Court that is the Paul Wolfowitz-created CSRT (Combatant Status Review Tribunals), he started talking. It would seem that what bothered Mr. Abraham about the process was that there was no process. No need for such frills as corroborating evidence (or any evidence at all, for that matter).

The truly chilling, “straight outta Kafka” scenes, in fact, were the votes taken by CSRT panels when, in a 3-0 vote, they decide there is no evidence to support accusations that a detainee is an active jihadist or terrorist. Two months later, a second tribunal gets the same evidence and finds unanimously against the prisoner.
Abraham’s courage is inspiring. He is a patriot. Meanwhile, the more we learn about the Bush administration’s championing of lying and cheating, torturing and bullying, the more we want to get into the shower and not emerge until November 2008.

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