Why Guantanamo Matters

The two hikers finally freed from an Iranian prison demonstrate why the existence of Guantanamo matters:

“In prison, every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would immediately remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo Bay,” he said. While the hikers don’t believe American policies “justify what has been done to us,” he said, “We do believe that these actions on the part of the U.S. provide an excuse for other governments, including the government of Iran, to act in kind.”

At the very least, it destroys our credibility when we criticize anyone else for it. What will we say when another nation tortures one of our soldiers captured in war? What could we possibly say?

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  • We need to keep hammering on the torture issue. Right now, it’s a make-or-break issue with regard to who I vote for.

  • 386sx

    What could we possibly say?

    That’s easy. Just tell them we will shut down Guantanamo, and its a change they can believe in!

  • eric

    I disagree with Ed. “Because other regimes can use it as an excuse” is not why Guantanamo matters.

    It matters because torture is both unethical and ineffective.

    It matters because keeping people in jail without trial is unconstitutional.

    It matters because keeping people you assess to be innocent in jail because no country will take them back, or because you think your horrible treatment of these previously innocent people might lead them to act against you when they are released, is worse than all of the above – egregiously unethical AND unconstitutional.

  • eric

    On second thought, there’s an even more terrible aspect to Guantanamo. If we are lucky, our elected leaders (both executive and legislative) think they are doing all of these unethical and unconstitutional things in the best interests of the country.

    But what is even more horrifying to contemplate, is the possibility that they know its unethical, inneffective, unconstitional, and not in the best interests of the country…but they continue to support Guantanamo anyway, because they’re afraid negative PR from releasees could cost them re-election.

    The former might be considered ‘terribly miguided.’ The latter is better described as ‘pure, selfish, evil.’

  • davidct

    In spite of numerous studies that information obtained from torture is unreliable we continue to use it. Humans seem to enjoy revenge whether or not it has any positive results. Civilized peoples have to control unproductive urges. And yes that says a lot about us.

  • Speaking of Iran, there’s a Christian pastor who’s up for execution for apostasy, for converting from Islam. I find both Christianity and Islam to be… silly, but it’s kind of surprising there hasn’t been more coverage of it.

  • Michael Heath

    davidct writes:

    Humans seem to enjoy revenge whether or not it has any positive results.

    Some humans are even’t concerned about whether that revenge is exacted on the guilty party, including candidates running to be the U.S. president or residing on the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Exactly what the Geneva conventions were designed to prevent. You know, the ones that ban torture.

  • rabbitscribe

    “Speaking of Iran, there’s a Christian pastor who’s up for execution for apostasy, for converting from Islam.”

    And by “converting from Islam,” they mean “of Muslim heritage.” He never practiced the religion.