Friday, January 22, 2010

eyes open

Harpers has a hard but important look at probably homicides committed at (in their succinct formulation) "the extra-constitutional prison camp at Guantánamo Naval Base."
Some prisoners there are being charged with crimes, others released, but the date for closing the camp seems to recede steadily into the future. Furthermore, new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the George W. Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.
Over at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick probes the willful ignorance we've employed to ignore this story:
Some torture stories are just too horrible to contemplate, while others are too complicated to understand. But Scott Horton's devastating new exposé of the possible murders of three prisoners at Guantanamo in 2006 is neither: It's simply too terrible to allow to be true. Which is why it has been mostly ignored this week in the mainstream American media and paid little attention by the usual crew of torture apologists on the right. The fact that three Guantanamo prisoners—none of whom had any links to terrorism and two of whom had already been cleared for release—may have been killed there and the deaths covered up, should be front-page news. That brand-new evidence of this possible atrocity from military guards was given only the most cursory investigation by the Obama administration should warrant some kind of blowback. But changing what we allow ourselves to believe about torture would change the way we have reconciled ourselves to torture. Nobody in this country is prepared to do that. So we have opted to ignore it.
While it was one of my top reasons when voting for the President, I have not shared my friends' impatience with this administration to undo the crimes of the Bush Gang -- if we rushed in to war and extralegal detention without much concern for the consequences, I thought, surely we'll have to take care to back ourselves out in a well-considered manner.

This prudence is allowing inhumane conditions in Cuba to breed radicalism in those it oppresses, and it may still be costing lives.

Hopefully, part of our offerings in 2010 will add something to the conversations we're not having about the crimes being perpetrated in our name. We've submitted the play "War Crimes/slots" (originally given a public reading by Oracle Theatre Inc in 2007) to our friends at BoCoCa and Planet Connections; if accepted, we'll let you know soon. Otherwise, maybe I'll turn it into a podcast episode...

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