Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Human Rights

For those who are still labouring under any illusions, innocent people are being tortured and abused under American control, and its making us all in to barbarians. David Ignatius understands:
When I hear U.S. officials describe the suicides of three Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay last Saturday as "asymmetric warfare" and "a good PR move," I know it's time to close that camp -- not just because of what it's doing to the prisoners but because of how it is dehumanizing the American captors.

The American officials spoke of the dead prisoners as if they inhabited a different moral universe. That's what war does: People stop seeing their enemies as human beings and consign them to a different category. It was discomfiting to see this indifference stated so bluntly, and subsequent U.S. statements tactfully disavowed the initial ones.
This is why the "war" on terrorists was a wrong-headed strategy from the beginning: once you declare war on people, they are put outside the moral community, and suddenly everything is justifiable and in fact necessary. The Bush Administration's rhetorical strategy - either you support perpetual war, or you're on Osama's side - wasn't merely cynical positioning. It was a sincere belief: either you believe this war makes all strategies necessary, or you want America to fail.

The problem with wars - especially wars of revenge - is that they tend to preclude the middle ground.

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