You Call This Torture?

It looks like we’ve completely lost our minds. If you think we’re mistreating the terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, think again. We may actually be giving them more comfort and respect than they’ve ever enjoyed in their lives. All one hears from the main stream media is how we have to stop torturing these prisoners.

Now, in an article in the online edition of the New York Post, Richard Miniter (best selling author and expert on terrorism), who recently returned from a tour of Guantanamo, tells quite a different story. You can read the whole article here, but I’ll give you a sample:

The Pentagon seemed to be hoping to disarm its critics by showing them how well it cares for captured terrorists. The trip was more alarming than disarming. I spent several hours with Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who heads the joint task force that houses and interrogates the detainees. (The military isn’t allowed to call them “prisoners.”)The high-minded critics who complain about torture are wrong. We are far too soft on these guys – and, as a result, aren’t getting the valuable intelligence we need to save American lives.

The politically correct regulations are unbelievable. Detainees are entitled to a full eight hours sleep and can’t be woken up for interrogations. They enjoy three meals and five prayers per day, without interruption. They are entitled to a minimum of two hours of outdoor recreation per day.

Interrogations are limited to four hours, usually running two – and (of course) are interrupted for prayers. One interrogator actually bakes cookies for detainees, while another serves them Subway or McDonald’s sandwiches. Both are available on base. (Filet o’ Fish is an al Qaeda favorite.)

And lest you think that accommodating their sleeping, eating, exercising, and praying needs is all the consideration they get, we are apparently accommodating their planning, plotting, weapon-making, and al Qaeda cell-forming needs as well.

Adm. Harris admitted to me that a multi-cell al Qaeda network has developed in the camp. Military intelligence can’t yet identify their leaders, but notes that they have cells for monitoring the movements and identities of guards and doctors, cells dedicated to training, others for making weapons and so on.

And they can make weapons from almost anything. Guards have been attacked with springs taken from inside faucets, broken fluorescent light bulbs and fan blades. Some are more elaborate. “These folks are MacGyvers,” Harris said.

Other cells pass messages from leaders in one camp to followers in others. How? Detainees use the envelopes sent to them by their attorneys to pass messages. (Some 1,000 lawyers represent 440 prisoners, all on a pro bono basis, with more than 18,500 letters in and out of Gitmo in the past year.) Guards are not allowed to look inside these envelopes because of “attorney-client privilege” – even if they know the document inside is an Arabic-language note written by a prisoner to another prisoner and not a letter to or from a lawyer.

That’s right: Accidentally or not, American lawyers are helping al Qaeda prisoners continue to plot.There is little doubt what this note-passing and weapons-making is used for. The military recorded 3,232 incidents of detainee misconduct from July 2005 to August 2006 – an average of more than eight incidents per day. Some are nonviolent, but the tally includes coordinated attacks involving everything from throwing bodily fluids on guards (432 times) to 90 stabbings with homemade knives. One detainee slashed a doctor who was trying to save his life; the doctors wear body armor to treat their patients.

Meanwhile, we’re spending a fortune giving them free dental care, vaccinations, eyeglasses, and prosthetic limbs.

Are the people who create these policies so afraid of criticism from political rivals and the international community that they’ve lost all focus on who these prisoners are?

Reading this article, I can’t help but think that we’ve completely lost our minds.


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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Considering that many have not been charged with anything, we had better treat them nicely. I find it impossible to believe that we are doing so however.

  2. Agent KGB: Why are you so willing to believe the stories that say we’re mistreating the prisoners, and not believe this story from someone who just visited the place?

  3. I’d trust the Red Cross, but they don’t have access so far as I know. Three have committed suicide nad many others have tried, no doubt because there was just too much joy and happiness in the prison? The actualy detainees report abuse, and they would know. When I have more time I’d be happy to find a list of links about it, Time magazine published the military’s documentation about one detainee in particular some time ago and it showed horrible abuse.

  4. When you say “the actual detainees report abuse, and they would know,” it’s clear that you’re inclined to believe them. That’s probably the crux of the difference between us. I start from the premise that every word coming from the terrorists is a lie.

  5. Ah, but there’s an important point. Many prisoners have yet to be charged, meaning that, in addition to not being proven terrorists, they’re not even accused terrorists.
    And if they’re not being tortured why can’t the Red Cross assure us of that?

  6. They’re not even accused terrorists??? The prisoners were captured in Afghanistan pointing guns at American soldiers. They’d be official prisoners of war if they represented a country. But the only thing they represent is death to America and all of Western culture. You’re talking about this like they were pulled in for knocking over a Seven-Eleven in Pittsburgh. I read some of the posts on your blogs. I see lots of posts about how many Palestinians have been killed, but not a word about how many Israelis have been killed by homicide bombers. I see concern about “civilians” in Lebanon, but no concern over the casualties they have caused by lobbing thousands of bombs into Israel. You’re more concerned about protecting the civil liberties of illegal immigrants than you are about protecting the borders of this nation. You’re more worried about profiling than you are about being annihilated.
    My readers know what I stand for, now they know what you stand for. We’re done here.

  7. Maybe you’ll delete this, maybe you won’t, but if they’re terrorists, and if this is a free country that stands for freedom, then they should be charged and given fair trial. I don’t have a problem with imprisoning murderers, so long as I know they’re murderers. There was a man over 70 years old at Guantanamo just released recently, the officials at Guantanamo admitted they didn’t even know what he was supposed to be there for, he had to use a walker and had trouble hearing.
    Absolutely I focus on non-Westerners being killed by Westerners, it happens more frequently and it is more likely that my readers are of those Western countries and are therefore less likely to hear about the deaths of non-Western civilians.
    In regards to immigration, almost no one in the US is a Native American, so the ideas Republicans have about immigration seem pretty odd to me. Also I very much doubt that racial profiling will save my life. Anyway that’s a brief summary of what I actually believe in.

  8. OK. You have your chance to state your positions in your own terms. Here are mine. This is a free country, but these prisoners are not entitled to all the same freedoms citizens and legal residents enjoy. They are not in the criminal justice system. This is a war. Because they are not the official agents of a national government, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have the ability to hide behind the label of “civilian.” They don’t wear uniforms. They attack from civilian neighborhoods. The battlefield is everywhere. We have to be more suspicious, more careful, and smarter, or pay the price in American lives.

    I don’t expect perfection in the way Guantanamo is handled. Nobody gets it 100% right. But my original post was about giving too many considerations and comforts, and I still think that if the information in the Miniter article is correct, we’ve bent over backwards so far to avoid criticism that we’re upside down.

    My grandparents were immigrants, but they came here legally. That’s all I care about. Enter legally, obey the law, and pay for your own keep. There’s nothing odd about that.

    And whether you believe it or not, racial profiling (and profiling based on behavior and other known factors) could very well save your life.

    It’s been fun, but now I have to cook dinner.

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