Sunday, June 11, 2006

Will Any Senator speak out against Torture?

The world cries out in protest against US brutality at Guantanamo, but Congress lies supine and silent.

Dear Senator,

In March of 2004, before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, I wrote you a letter calling your attention to the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo. I noted that information leaking out from the camp plus reports of attempted suicides coupled with the officially admitted facts and decrypted government double-talk, all pointed to the conclusion that people who had never be shown to be guilty of anything were being institutionally and routinely abused and tortured.

Since then you have said nothing... not even on your web site, not even read into the Congressional Record at 3.45 a.m. The International Red Cross has broken its 100 year tradition of non-comment and has condemned the mistreatment of the Guantanamo detainees; but you have said nothing. The United Nations has called for the closure of this infamous torture center; but you have said nothing. Our own and only ally in this sordid affair has called for the release of the detainees; but you have said nothing. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has condemned the illegality of the detentions; but you have said nothing. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, scores of NGOs, legal organizations and the Holy See itself have cried out against the infamy taking place at Guantanamo; but you and your supine colleagues in Congress have remained silent.

It now turns out that after five long years of degradation, torture and hopelessness three detainees have committed suicide; and, in a shocking statement that bespeaks the moral putrefaction that rots throughout the United States Government, Rear Admiral Harris has dismissed these suicides as “acts of war.” The Government has called them a “PR” move that shows “no regard for life”. The depravity and perversity of these remarks is without rival in the annals of history, except perhaps for the SS guards who may have laughed at Auschwitz prisoners who electrocuted themselves on the barbed wire while trying to escape.

Suicide horrifies because it goes against the most fundamental grain of all living things, which is to live. Suicides are not “playing games” nor are they “attacking” anyone. They are simply and pathetically ending a life that has been filled only with the certainty of pain and despair.

As the Vatican statement reminds us, even criminals and even enemies are human beings that warrant fair and humane treatment. Even more, detainees who have never been charged must less shown to be guilty of anything.

Ignoring these fundamentals of decency, the United States tortures people to suicide all but openly in the global forum. It does so indifferently to the universal outcry against it. It shrugs off the suicides with a moral depravity and lack of humanity that is beyond belief.

When are you and your supine colleagues going to show some impulse other than craven ambition and political cowardice? When will you recover a sense of shame? When will rise up and speak out against the depravity of this Administration and the culture of thuggery that has seized Washington?

©WCG, 2006

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