Monday, December 13, 2004
The subdued reaction is testament, in part, to the Bush administration's skill at spinning this kind of news. (God knows, they've had practice.) Officials from the Pentagon and Defense Department flat-out denied the allegations. And General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made this stirring defense: “We certainly don’t think it’s torture.... Let’s not forget the kind of people we have down there. These are the people that don’t know any moral values.”
Maybe it doesn’t seem like torture because we don’t have pictures like we did at Abu Ghraib. Maybe it doesn’t seem like torture because it’s not as bad as the video-taped beheadings that have begun to dominate our news in recent months. And anyway, they had it coming, right? Better their discomfort than our destruction. A brief reality check: out of the 550 detainees in Guantanamo, only 4 have been charged. That’s 3 years, 4 charges, 550 people, and no protection under the Geneva Conventions, which call for the detainees to be treated as prisoners of war until a competent tribunal determines that they do not merit this protection.