Abu Ghraib should damn well haunt us…

Daisy has posted something you really ought to read: on Abu Ghraib, on our national nightmares, and even with some commentary on radical feminism thrown in the mix.

When I read that, all I could think was “I just want to go back.”

But to what, exactly? Has there even been a time in this world’s history when innocent people didn’t suffer for the sins of others, while the perpetrators wiped the blood off their hands and called it “justice”?

No, I suppose not. But that doesn’t make the ghosts of Abu Ghraib any more terrifying.

And when I say that I want to go back, where I really want to head off to is my childhood; a time when I politics and facts were just things that I’d overheard about in boring conversations between adults, and when I didn’t have to face the idea of a person turned into a non-person and summarily beaten to death. By my own government.

7 thoughts on “Abu Ghraib should damn well haunt us…

  1. It’s not just Abu Graib the USA has a network of prisons or dungeons in which they have and are keeping prisoners made in the war on terror.
    Without trial or anything.
    It’s also a legal black hole what do you call some Arab that goes to Afghistan to fight American soldiers and then gets captured?
    He’s not part of any state or army.
    So i can understand why it happened and why the USA behaves the way it does.
    it’s something completely different from warfare as we knew it.

  2. RE: Durendal’s comment about Abu Ghraib and similar overseas prisons being a “legal black hole.”

    Abu Ghraib and other prisons don’t exactly operate in a “legal black hole.”

    Even if the prisons themselves are located outside of the geographical jurisdiction of the U.S., I’m pretty sure that the conduct of U.S. military personnel, whether within the geographical jurisdiction of the U.S., or outside of that, is subject to the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice. I’m also reasonably sure that civilian employees and subcontractors of U.S. Government agencies, such as the private interrogators employed by the CIA, etc., are subject to U.S. law as contractual agents of the U.S. Government, regardless of whether they work inside or outside the geographical jurisdiction of the U.S.

    As I understand it, the prisoners themselves are “non-persons” in that they’re deliberately not even registered as prisoners in the custody of the U.S. armed forces (or even of the Iraqi government?), in order to make it almost impossible to track down any U.S. personnel, civilian or military, who might be responsible for abuse.

    So the prisons themselves are not in a “legal black hole.” But the prisons are deliberately operated so as it make it difficult to track down and prosecute anyone responsible for torture.

  3. Poeschl
    it seems clear to me that the USA created these dungeons and prisons because they had nothing on the legal books to prosecute some Arab going into Afghanistan and shooting at NATO soldiers.
    A terrorist doesn’t fall under the Geneva conventions.
    So thats why it’s a legal black hole.
    Terrorists are not soldiers in the normal sense and they aren’t criminals in the normal sense.

  4. So if some Arabs capture some asshole from crown heights who moved to the west bank and joined a settler militia….It’s cool if they toture him right? Or when Franco’s guys tortured members of the Abraham Lincoln brigade when they captured them? I guess if a Blackwater operative is captured in Iraq, they can torture him too.

    Durendal, you’re an asshole, and I can say that without equivocation.

  5. RE: Durendal’s comment that a “terrorist doesn’t fall under the Geneva conventions.”

    I think the dispute about which article of the Geneva conventions covers terrorists, concerns the legal/jurisprudential classification of ‘terrorists.’

    If terrorists are legally classified as ‘pirates,’ then terrorists, like pirates, are classified as “enemies of mankind” who can legally be killed on the spot, or at least are completely subject to the discretion of their captors, without accountability.

    This is according to either the case law of international law or perhaps literally in the Geneva conventions (the legal principle was first written down in the 17th century).

    But if terrorists are classified as ‘non-state combatants,’ on the grounds that such terrorists are actually fighting mostly for a political cause rather than solely for their own material gain, then the Geneva conventions grants such ‘non-state combatants’ some kind of legal protection.

    Exactly what that protection is, I’m not sure, since I’m writing this off the top of my head. I can Google it later. I need to get back to work now.

    But I think that’s the question: Are terrorists equivalent to pirates or to non-state combatants? I’m not sure how the U.S. government answers the question. Perhaps someone else can Google it.

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