Because Blogger's "Adult warning" often goes into a perpetual loop (isn't working properly), I will be making all new posts at my WordPress blog. You can follow it even if you do not have a WordPress Account. There're also my Twitter and my Tumblr blog, my Facebook and my Google+ page and my group.
(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Guantanamo Injustice

Extraordinary that the neo-con bullies in charge in the US can't see the immorality, the wrongness of the whole barbarous Guantanamo prison system. (click on the title to see the related story)

Of course, their argument is that if there is even the slightest chance that someone may be a terrorist you should take some action -- the "you can't be too careful" approach, or, as reported in the LRB ( http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n07/wald01_.html ) the one per cent doctrine. This is nonsensical. There is a small chance we will get killed every time we get in a car. But we go on driving. We set the risk against the benefits. Or, 100 ppl a year in Oz die choking on a piece of food. Should we stop eating? No, because the risk of dying from starvation is 100%, the risk of choking to death very small. When you point out to rational ppl that you can in fact be too careful, they either agree, or say, oh well, that's different, because they've come to terms with the risk.

The worst example of the one per cent doctrine is of course Iraq, attacked pre-emptively for a risk which turns out to be more or less non-existent, where one hundred thousand dead have paid the price. As a result of American neo-con folly and arrogance and hubris, the risk from terrorism has hugely increased. It reminds me of how Lenin was a nice middle class boy until he was picked up by the Czar's secret police and given a beating.

It's possible that the wrongful detention of Sami al-Haj and the detention and torture of David Hicks and others will not create more terrorists. It's possible. Even apart from that realpolitik assessment, it's still wrong that the protections America extends to its own citizens should be denied to foreigners. And the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp (for that's what it is) can only reduce the moral capital of the US, and make it less admired and respected around the world, making it harder to achieve its goals. My father used to say 'the Yanks are odd ppl, but their heart is in the right place'. But he grew up with the Marshall Plan, with an America lined up against Nazi tyranny and perversion, instead of using methods that the Gestapo used. The world probably still is a better place because of the U.S. But probably tells you how much things have changed. And that saddens me, because I've always admired and looked up to America, precisely because of its passion for justice and freedom. This was the country of the civil rights movement, the country that gave us gay rights; movements which went round the worlds and changed it for the better.

It's really sad when even enthusiastic friends of the Great Republic are shamed and embarrassed by its behaviour.

Nigel

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