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'American Gulag'

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'American Gulag'

Thursday, May 26, 2005; Page A26

IT'S ALWAYS SAD when a solid, trustworthy institution loses its bearings and joins in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse. It's particularly sad when the institution is Amnesty International, which for more than 40 years has been a tough, single-minded defender of political prisoners around the world and a scourge of left- and right-wing dictators alike. True, Amnesty continues to keep track of the world's political prisoners, as it has always done, and its reports remain a vital source of human rights information. But lately the organization has tended to save its most vitriolic condemnations not for the world's dictators but for the United States.

That vitriol reached a new level this week when, at a news conference held to mark the publication of Amnesty's annual report, the organization's secretary general, Irene Khan, called the U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the "gulag of our times." In her written introduction to the report, Ms. Khan also mentioned only two countries at length: Sudan and the United States, the "unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power," which "thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights."

Like Amnesty, we, too, have written extensively about U.S. prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We have done so not only because the phenomenon is disturbing in its own right but also because it gives undemocratic regimes around the world an excuse to justify their own use of torture and indefinite detention and because it damages the U.S. government's ability to promote human rights.

But we draw the line at the use of the word "gulag" or at the implication that the United States has somehow become the modern equivalent of Stalin's Soviet Union. Guantanamo Bay is an ad hoc creation, designed to contain captured enemy combatants in wartime. Abuses there -- including new evidence of desecrating the Koran -- have been investigated and discussed by the FBI, the press and, to a still limited extent, the military. The Soviet gulag, by contrast, was a massive forced labor complex consisting of thousands of concentration camps and hundreds of exile villages through which more than 20 million people passed during Stalin's lifetime and whose existence was not acknowledged until after his death. Its modern equivalent is not Guantanamo Bay, but the prisons of Cuba, where Amnesty itself says a new generation of prisoners of conscience reside; or the labor camps of North Korea, which were set up on Stalinist lines; or China's laogai , the true size of which isn't even known; or, until recently, the prisons of Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Worrying about the use of a word may seem like mere semantics, but it is not. Turning a report on prisoner detention into another excuse for Bush-bashing or America-bashing undermines Amnesty's legitimate criticisms of U.S. policies and weakens the force of its investigations of prison systems in closed societies. It also gives the administration another excuse to dismiss valid objections to its policies as "hysterical."

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The top leadership of Amnesty International USA, which unleashed a blistering attack last week on the Bush administration’s handling of war detainees, contributed the maximum $2,000 to Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

Federal Election Commission records show that William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty USA, contributed $2,000 to Mr. Kerry’s campaign last year. Mr. Schulz also has contributed $1,000 to the 2006 campaign of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

Also, Joe W. “Chip” Pitts III, board chairman of Amnesty International USA, gave the maximum $2,000 allowed by federal law to John Kerry for President. Mr. Pitts is a lawyer and entrepreneur who advises the American Civil Liberties Union.

Amnesty USA yesterday told The Washington Times that staff members make policy based on laws governing human rights, pointing out that the organization had criticized some of President Clinton’s policies.

“We strive to do everything humanly possible to see that the personal political perspectives of our leadership have no bearing whatsoever upon the nature of our findings and the conduct of our work,” a spokesman said. :bs:

Amnesty International describes itself as nonpartisan :bs: . Disclosure of the leadership’s political leanings came yesterday as the Bush administration continued to lash out at the human rights group for remarks last week by Irene Khan, Amnesty’s secretary-general.

Mrs. Khan compared the U.S. detention center at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where more than 500 suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members are held, to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s “gulag” prison system.

At the same time, Mr. Schulz issued a statement calling Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top administration officials “architects of torture.” Mr. Schulz suggested that other countries could file war-crime charges against the top officials and arrest them.

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And the third rail of bias that no one in mainstream media will touch: Amnesty secretary general Irene Khan is a muslim. Did her religion influence her outrageously intemperate remarks about the Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay?

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Got this from a local Houston blogger - funny thing, he's a plaintiff's attorney, but is a conservative. Gotta be one of a kind... :)

Anyway, he made a GREAT point about this Khan psycho hose beast. His whole commentary is worth reading, but here's the highlight I was talking about:

Amnesty International's website informs us that Ms. Khan "studied law at the University of Manchester and Harvard Law School, specialising in public international law and human rights." I respectfully submit that she should have studied more history. Now, there are indeed some reasonable parallels to Soviet gulags and police-state practices that can be found on the island of Cuba. But, shamefully, they've gone on for decades before 9/11, and they're found in that other so-called "workers' paradise" that's outside the fences of the American base there.

Loved this comment too:

But there was more to Ms. Khan's review of the past year, as it turns out. She also asserted that "the US government and its allies who lead the 'War on Terror' continue to persist with politically convenient but ineffective strategies." Methinks this displays an insufficient appreciation of American citizens' recent history (during the past three years) of being able to stand inside skyscrapers without having the floors fall out from underneath them. Personally, I count each year's absence of passenger jets smashing into our buildings as a simple but fairly important indicator of those strategies' effectiveness, anyone's politics notwithstanding.

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The hatred for this country is growing and its apparently clouding people's minds to think clearly.

And why is hatred for us growing? We took on Afghanistan and Iraq. Not exactly the Humanitarians of the year.

Hatred was slowly growing well before 9/11. Now it's just spirals out of control and mamy, many, are jumping on the bandwagon... including Americans

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Muslim fanaticals have raped, butchered, shot, blown up and sawed the heads off of innocent human beings around the globe for the expressed purpose of terrorizing anyone and everyone who doesn't bow down to their demands. America finally says enough is enough, and fights back....and THIS is how it gets treated ?

Although I seriously doubt it, the folks from the Michael Moore/ Amnisty International crowd are doing everything in their power to CREATE a monster that they claim is already here, instead of trying to fight the one which really IS here.

Edited by AURaptor

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Hurting Your Country

   

By: Bill O'Reilly for BillOReilly.com

Thursday, Jun 02, 2005

So how did the USA go from being a beacon of freedom to a champion of the gulag? How exactly did that happen? Well, pull up a chair, here's what happened.

After President Bush won re-election last November, there was much consternation among some powerful anti-Bush Americans. They were stunned that John Kerry lost and feared that if Bush succeeds in his second term, the Democrats would lose again in 2008.

Then came the successful election in Iraq, and the fear on the left multiplied. If Iraq turned out to be a success, Mr. Bush would become a hero. So the need to undermine the Bush administration became more intense than ever. But how to do it? Social Security wasn't emotional enough, particularly for young voters. What could be done to hurt Bush?

Then came the revelation--let's torture the President.

The New York Times had already primed the pump, running more than 50 front-page stories on the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Then came reports from the International Red Cross that more abuse was happening at Guantanamo. The American Civil Liberties Union was already challenging detentions there and so a strategy was sealed: the Bush administration was full of torturers and human rights violators. It was ruining America's reputation throughout the world. Bush was a villain.

It was easy to get that thesis out. The left-wing websites fed anti-Bush columnists like Bob Herbert and Richard Cohen information and the drumbeat intensified. There was torture and abuse and murder all sanctioned by the evil Bush administration. Article after article appeared and soon some TV people followed along. It didn't take long before the torture seed was fully sown.

The Newsweek debacle slowed things down a little, but the anti-Bush press quickly banded together and pronounced that Newsweek's mistake would never have happened if Bush wasn't torturing everybody. I'm sure you read those opinion pieces, as they appeared in liberal newspapers all over the country. The theme and wording was so similar that one person could have written all of those articles. And that was no accident.

All the while this was happening, the President and his crew were doing what they usually do when the press pounds them: nothing. They did not engage the abuse propaganda until it was obvious Newsweek had screwed up. But even that effort was derided by many in The White House press corps, who chided the administration for scolding Newsweek.

Now the torture theme has new momentum. A liberal federal judge in New York City has ruled the Defense Department must release more photos and videos of Abu Ghraib to the ACLU. Of course, that will incite even more hatred against the USA and put our soldiers in more danger but, hey, politics comes before protecting the troops. The anti-Bush people want those pictures almost as badly as Al Jazeera wants them. Another nail in the President's coffin is more important than bodies in real coffins.

If you think I am exaggerating, I assure you I am not. This torture campaign is being run brilliantly, and if Mr. Bush doesn't wise up soon, he will be bloodied just as Lyndon Johnson was in the Vietnam debacle.

The truth is that abuse has occurred, but on a relatively small scale. According to General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. has detained about 68,000 people since 9/11 (most have been released), and there have been 325 investigations into alleged abuse. At this writing, about 100 cases of wrongdoing have been substantiated.

That's not a big number, but it doesn't matter to the anti-Bush cabal, which understands that perception is reality in a nation where "reality programming" is the rage of the day. If you can sell the nation that America is now a war criminal, President Hillary Clinton is a real possibility.

So there you have it. For the anti-Bush folks, it is simple: no pain, no gain. Torture is selling and the media is buying. For those of you who are appalled by this analysis, I can only say one thing: sometimes the truth, like torture, hurts.

http://www.billoreilly.com/currentarticle

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect. This one is, as well. These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags. But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do. We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime. We won't even release the names of the detainees. There families can't visit them or communicate with them. We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice. There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried. We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply. There are no rules. We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags? The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate. The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for. There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours. Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud. Quibble over what to call it.

An American gulag

The U.S. plan to lock up suspected terrorists for life in secret locations without evidence is a horrifying development.

Torturing prisoners, denying them legal safeguards and essentially refuting their existence is what rogue regimes and lawless nations do. Reading about it in China's Xinhua News Agency is especially disconcerting. The Bush administration is not only doing all this now, but making systematic plans to create an American gulag of prisons and prisoners without names and cells without numbers. From the old Soviet Union to Communist China to the banana republics of Latin America and Castro's Cuba, that's what others do.

According to reports in The Washington Post, the military and CIA have hundreds of detainees for whom they have no evidence to hold longer or who have exhausted their usefulness as intelligence sources, or never provided any information.

U.S. authorities refuse to let them go or put them in proximity to U.S. civilian or military judicial systems.

The options under study include construction of a special prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Another proposal would transfer Afghan, Saudi and Yemeni detainees from Cuba back to their home countries, where they'd reside in U.S.-built prisons.

Another option is sending detainees to U.S.-friendly third countries where they can be held indefinitely, and tortured if need be, completely out of sight and mind of U.S. laws and nosy human-rights organizations.

Detainees have been held at secret locations ranging from Afghanistan to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and on ships at sea.

Americans were shocked to learn of the torture and abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and subsequent revelations of other, earlier abuses. These new proposals are another departure from the values most Americans believe symbolize their nation at home and abroad.

So what might be the next step: the holding of political prisoners whose views are considered an unspecified and unproven threat to the commonweal? Certainly, that is preposterous. Except that extreme policies predictably debase other standards.

The Post's Dana Priest reported that moving captives to friendly third countries which hold them without question was a technique used in the drug wars. Kingpins would be stashed away for later delivery to U.S. courts. Since 2001, the practice has been used to make sure detainees do not go to court or back to the streets, Priest reported.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress must challenge the administration and hold the Pentagon and CIA responsible for behavior that undermines the values and liberties they profess to protect.

These agencies do not have to operate in the public glare, but they have to be accountable to civilian law and authority. It's an abomination to take prisoners, hold them, and indefinitely deny them access to civilian and military proceedings.

That is not what America stands for, and not what it does.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/2002142143_indefed06.html

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect.  This one is, as well.  These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags.  But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do.  We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime.  We won't even release the names of the detainees.  There families can't visit them or communicate with them.  We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice.  There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried.  We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply.  There are no rules.  We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags?  The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate.  The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for.  There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours.  Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud.  Quibble over what to call it.

Bullseye! And, to make matters worse, you've got the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and anyone who questions these practices is accused of "hating" America. Nationalism is fine, but when it makes you so blind that you begin to condone behavior that you wouldn't dream of accepting from others, something is very wrong with that picture.

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect.  This one is, as well.  These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags.  But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do.  We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime.  We won't even release the names of the detainees.  There families can't visit them or communicate with them.  We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice.  There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried.  We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply.  There are no rules.  We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags?  The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate.  The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for.  There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours.  Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud.  Quibble over what to call it.

Bullseye! And, to make matters worse, you've got the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and anyone who questions these practices is accused of "hating" America. Nationalism is fine, but when it makes you so blind that you begin to condone behavior that you wouldn't dream of accepting from others, something is very wrong with that picture.

162288[/snapback]

yeah, this would fall under the 10% of the time I don't agree with Hannity. Plus, he tries to justify Delay's thing with the way other congress people do.

But I also think 50 plus front page stories in the New York Times of the Abu Grahib abuse was a little too much. I think most logical thinking people got it after the first 40.

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect.  This one is, as well.  These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags.  But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do.  We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime.  We won't even release the names of the detainees.  There families can't visit them or communicate with them.  We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice.  There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried.  We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply.  There are no rules.  We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags?  The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate.  The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for.  There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours.  Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud.  Quibble over what to call it.

Bullseye! And, to make matters worse, you've got the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and anyone who questions these practices is accused of "hating" America. Nationalism is fine, but when it makes you so blind that you begin to condone behavior that you wouldn't dream of accepting from others, something is very wrong with that picture.

162288[/snapback]

Don't you think Al that there is a middle somewhere between the "the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib" and the leftist democrats who are using any and all incidents real or imagined to continue their assault on President Bush?

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect.  This one is, as well.  These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags.  But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do.  We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime.  We won't even release the names of the detainees.  There families can't visit them or communicate with them.  We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice.  There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried.  We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply.  There are no rules.  We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags?  The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate.  The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for.  There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours.  Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud.  Quibble over what to call it.

Bullseye! And, to make matters worse, you've got the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and anyone who questions these practices is accused of "hating" America. Nationalism is fine, but when it makes you so blind that you begin to condone behavior that you wouldn't dream of accepting from others, something is very wrong with that picture.

162288[/snapback]

Don't you think Al that there is a middle somewhere between the "the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib" and the leftist democrats who are using any and all incidents real or imagined to continue their assault on President Bush?

162305[/snapback]

Yes. That middle ground is called 'responsibility and accountability.' The further this administration runs from it, the harder the good guys need to work to bring it back front and center.

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect.  This one is, as well.  These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags.  But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do.  We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime.  We won't even release the names of the detainees.  There families can't visit them or communicate with them.  We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice.  There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried.  We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply.  There are no rules.  We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags?  The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate.  The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for.  There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours.  Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud.  Quibble over what to call it.

Bullseye! And, to make matters worse, you've got the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and anyone who questions these practices is accused of "hating" America. Nationalism is fine, but when it makes you so blind that you begin to condone behavior that you wouldn't dream of accepting from others, something is very wrong with that picture.

162288[/snapback]

Don't you think Al that there is a middle somewhere between the "the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib" and the leftist democrats who are using any and all incidents real or imagined to continue their assault on President Bush?

162305[/snapback]

Yes. That middle ground is called 'responsibility and accountability.' The further this administration runs from it, the harder the good guys need to work to bring it back front and center.

162310[/snapback]

Those good guys you speak of would be?

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect.  This one is, as well.  These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags.  But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do.  We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime.  We won't even release the names of the detainees.  There families can't visit them or communicate with them.  We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice.  There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried.  We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply.  There are no rules.  We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags?  The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate.  The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for.  There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours.  Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud.  Quibble over what to call it.

Bullseye! And, to make matters worse, you've got the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and anyone who questions these practices is accused of "hating" America. Nationalism is fine, but when it makes you so blind that you begin to condone behavior that you wouldn't dream of accepting from others, something is very wrong with that picture.

162288[/snapback]

Don't you think Al that there is a middle somewhere between the "the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib" and the leftist democrats who are using any and all incidents real or imagined to continue their assault on President Bush?

162305[/snapback]

Yes. That middle ground is called 'responsibility and accountability.' The further this administration runs from it, the harder the good guys need to work to bring it back front and center.

162310[/snapback]

Those good guys you speak of would be?

162312[/snapback]

Anyone who's for responsibility and accountability.

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect.  This one is, as well.  These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags.  But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do.  We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime.  We won't even release the names of the detainees.  There families can't visit them or communicate with them.  We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice.  There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried.  We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply.  There are no rules.  We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags?  The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate.  The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for.  There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours.  Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud.  Quibble over what to call it.

Bullseye! And, to make matters worse, you've got the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and anyone who questions these practices is accused of "hating" America. Nationalism is fine, but when it makes you so blind that you begin to condone behavior that you wouldn't dream of accepting from others, something is very wrong with that picture.

162288[/snapback]

Don't you think Al that there is a middle somewhere between the "the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib" and the leftist democrats who are using any and all incidents real or imagined to continue their assault on President Bush?

162305[/snapback]

Yes. That middle ground is called 'responsibility and accountability.' The further this administration runs from it, the harder the good guys need to work to bring it back front and center.

162310[/snapback]

Those good guys you speak of would be?

162312[/snapback]

Anyone who's for responsibility and accountability.

162315[/snapback]

And naturally that would be anyone on the left.

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Analogies can be powerful, but are often far from perfect.  This one is, as well.  These are not labor camps and they don't involve our citizens as did Russian Gulags.  But they are also unlike anything else we generally do or want other countries to do.  We hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime.  We won't even release the names of the detainees.  There families can't visit them or communicate with them.  We secretly take other detainees to prisons is countries we cite as being egregious human rights violators so they can be tortured away from notice.  There is no criteria or measure to determine when these folks can go free or be tried.  We say our justice system doesn't apply, international law doesn't apply, the Geneva Convention we agreed to doesn't apply.  There are no rules.  We make them up as we see fit and wonder why the world has lost respect for us?

Modern day Gulags?  The former Soviet Union modeled behavior that no freedom-loving country based on principles of justice would have wanted to emulate.  The world looked at two super powers and generally preferred what we stood for.  There is no greater force for democracy than countries wanting to be more like yours.  Well, in these modern times, we are certainly modeling behavior that no country should emulate and of which we cannot be proud.  Quibble over what to call it.

Bullseye! And, to make matters worse, you've got the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and anyone who questions these practices is accused of "hating" America. Nationalism is fine, but when it makes you so blind that you begin to condone behavior that you wouldn't dream of accepting from others, something is very wrong with that picture.

162288[/snapback]

Don't you think Al that there is a middle somewhere between the "the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Krauthammers and the Wills who minimize what we're doing in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib" and the leftist democrats who are using any and all incidents real or imagined to continue their assault on President Bush?

162305[/snapback]

Yes. That middle ground is called 'responsibility and accountability.' The further this administration runs from it, the harder the good guys need to work to bring it back front and center.

162310[/snapback]

Those good guys you speak of would be?

162312[/snapback]

Anyone who's for responsibility and accountability.

162315[/snapback]

And naturally that would be anyone on the left.

162317[/snapback]

Naturally, it would be anyone who's for responsibility and accountability.

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Yeah, c'mon Mike....the sooner we realize America is the bad guy in the world and how we should be more worried about what the Europeans think of us than preventing the next terrorist attack the better off we'll all be. I bet ol' Chirac himself will actually start drinking cokes again if we knuckle under like the french did.

Al, you are absolutely right. This matter should be handled by those who care about accountability and responsibility. Put the accountability and responsibility for the war back into the hands of the military and out of the hands of lawyers.

Edited by Tiger in Spain

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Put the accountability and responsibility for the war back into the hands of the military and out of the hands of lawyers.

If you really think those are the choices, you are woefully out of touch. It is not military men making these lousy decisions that "lawyers" then have to address.

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Jesus Christ you people are on dope! These savages want to saw your freaking heads off and all you hand wringing terrorist loving socialists can do is sit there behind your keyboards and crucify the very ones protecting you. These terrorists were captured on the battlefield fighting against your country. These terrorists want you dead. These terrorists are using you. You, on the other hand, harbor such hatred for the president that you will go to any length to undermine the war effort of your own country. You show more concern over the alleged "mishandling" of a book than you do over the murder of innocents by these savages. You give these butchers every benefit of the doubt and give them the will to continue the fight, all the while attacking our own soldiers and their mission due to your blinding hatred of anything this administration does. Where is your outrage at the common practice by the detainees of slinging their feces and urine on our guards at Gitmo? It happens every day, but since it doesn't hurt this administration, it doesn't elicit the drama queen reaction from you terrorist sympathizers. Where was your outrage when the picture of the soldier in Mosul carrying the lifeless body of the little girl killed by these terrorists was shown in the papers? Again, it doesn't harm Bush so it's not mentioned. You people make me sick.

You handwringing terrorist loving liberal socialists would be the first to lambaste the White House and Pentagon if Bush were to heed the New York Times call to shut down Gitmo and one of the released detainees went on to commit an act of mass terrorism on American soil. You'd be calling for his head for setting these butchers free. I'm convinced your ilk won't be satisfied until, God forbid, a democrat is elected president.....then it will be anything goes.

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Jesus Christ you people are on dope! These savages want to saw your freaking heads off and all you hand wringing terrorist loving socialists can do is sit there behind your keyboards and crucify the very ones protecting you. These terrorists were captured on the battlefield fighting against your country. These terrorists want you dead. These terrorists are using you.

162513[/snapback]

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

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Yeah, c'mon Mike....the sooner we realize America is the bad guy in the world and how we should be more worried about what the Europeans think of us than preventing the next terrorist attack the better off we'll all be. I bet ol' Chirac himself will actually start drinking cokes again if we knuckle under like the french did.

Al, you are absolutely right. This matter should be handled by those who care about accountability and responsibility. Put the accountability and responsibility for the war back into the hands of the military and out of the hands of lawyers.

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Nice sarcastic rhetoric, TIS, but that's the only mileage you'll get from it. Knee-jerk references to France really have become a caricature for those on the Ãœber-right. I am disappointed that you left out the UN and bed-wetting libbies, although I'm sure the latter was woven in there rather discreetly.

Nowhere did I suggest that America is the "bad guy" in the world. Sadly, whenever criticism is raised, that is what some in this country automatically infer. Any criticism is labled "hatred toward America" and is a cheap ploy designed to silence the critics, not address the problem or enact a solution. In your world, if I look in the mirror and say, "Gee, Al, you're getting fat," that means that I hate myself because I was self-critical and dared to say anything other than, "You look marvelous."

And, out of curiosity, which Navy manual teaches you that torturing prisoners is a sure-fire way to prevent terrorist attacks?

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Jesus Christ you people are on dope! These savages want to saw your freaking heads off and all you hand wringing terrorist loving socialists can do is sit there behind your keyboards and crucify the very ones protecting you. These terrorists were captured on the battlefield fighting against your country. These terrorists want you dead. These terrorists are using you. You, on the other hand, harbor such hatred for the president that you will go to any length to undermine the war effort of your own country. You show more concern over the alleged "mishandling" of a book than you do over the murder of innocents by these savages. You give these butchers every benefit of the doubt and give them the will to continue the fight, all the while attacking our own soldiers and their mission due to your blinding hatred of anything this administration does. Where is your outrage at the common practice by the detainees of slinging their feces and urine on our guards at Gitmo? It happens every day, but since it doesn't hurt this administration, it doesn't elicit the drama queen reaction from you terrorist sympathizers. Where was your outrage when the picture of the soldier in Mosul carrying the lifeless body of the little girl killed by these terrorists was shown in the papers? Again, it doesn't harm Bush so it's not mentioned. You people make me sick.

You handwringing terrorist loving liberal socialists would be the first to lambaste the White House and Pentagon if Bush were to heed the New York Times call to shut down Gitmo and one of the released detainees went on to commit an act of mass terrorism on American soil. You'd be calling for his head for setting these butchers free. I'm convinced your ilk won't be satisfied until, God forbid, a democrat is elected president.....then it will be anything goes.

162513[/snapback]

Even NICER sarcastic rhetoric!!! Yes, that's it...we MUST hate America, the military and Dubya. We MUST hate freedom and the Constitution, liberty and the Bible. Hell, we MUST even hate baseball, hot dogs, apple pie AND Chevrolet!

Maybe we just don't want to give potential terrorists one more reason to make that decision.

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Maybe we just don't want to give potential terrorists one more reason to make that decision.

162523[/snapback]

Maybe we just don't want to give potential terrorists the opportunity to act upon a decision they have already made.

I don't have a link because I read it is US News, but of the prisoners we HAVE released from Gitmo, 50 are already back in Pakistani jails, and have professed such a wild and deep hatred for America that they have had to call in clerics to counsel them. Yeah, let's let them ALL go!!

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Al, maybe you should take a step back and read the original article again. The article was written because, of a recent Amnesty International broadside against US detention of terror suspects goes so far to the left that it can only harm the effort to end prisoner abuse and hold the culprits accountable. Amnesty International's annual report described the Guantanamo Bay detention center as ''the gulag of our times." Which is total bull**** and you know it.

The author in no way defended any abuse of prisoners anywhere, anytime. Nor have any of our posters here. It's entirely possible you and Tex need a short reminder of exactly what a gulag is. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/gula.html

The gulag was, the Soviet system of forced labor camps (the word is a Russian abbreviation for ''chief administration of camps"), which flourished in the Stalin era and was immortalized in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's three-volume history, ''The Gulag Archipelago" (1973-75). Unlike the Nazi concentration camps, it was not a deliberately designed extermination machine. Nonetheless, in her 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, ''Gulag: A History," journalist Anne Applebaum writes that after 1937, ''the Soviet camps . . . transformed themselves from indifferently managed prisons in which people died by accident into genuinely deadly camps where prisoners were deliberately worked to death, or actually murdered" in large numbers.

Scattered across the great expanse of Siberia, the Soviet camps were hellholes where emaciated people were sometimes forced to work outdoors in temperatures of minus 58 degrees and workdays of up to 16 hours; where people died routinely of malnutrition, and those too weak to work had their rations docked for not fulfilling their work quota; where starved prisoners ate stray cats and picked food out of refuse heaps; where thousands were summarily shot for various infractions. Reliable statistics are difficult to come by, but at least 18 million people were imprisoned in the gulag from 1929 to 1953, and at least 2 million died there.

Most of these people were not even dissidents; they were thrown into the meat grinder on trumped-up charges of disloyalty or sabotage, or simply as relatives of ''enemies of the people." Stalin's terror machine had quotas to fulfill. The victims mentioned by Solzhenitsyn include a man whose neighbor reported him in for turning off the radio during broadcasts of tributes to Stalin; another, a carpenter, was guilty of hanging his jacket on a Lenin bust while working. As a teenager in Russia in the 1970s, I heard such stories from my own family: The father of one of my mother's co-workers went to the gulag for ''undermining the war effort" because, after Stalin's radio address following Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, he remarked that Stalin sounded sad. A family friend's aunt, a pianist, was imprisoned for playing a funeral march the day a popular general was arrested on treason charges.

The purpose of the gulag was twofold: to keep the populace in fear and to keep the labor-camp industry going.

What about the ''American gulag"? It's important to remember that the United States is dealing with the unprecedented situation of de facto enemy combatants who belong not to the army of a hostile state but to a vast, murky terror network -- a network that proved its deadliness on Sept. 11, 2001, and other occasions. This does not give us carte blanche for indefinite detention without charges, let alone torture of suspects, but it does pose serious issues of balancing civil rights and national security that other democracies, such as France, are grappling with as well. While the mistreatment of prisoners in US detention facilities has been too common to be dismissed as bad acts by a few bad apples, it remains the exception, not the rule.

Prisoner abuse may be a real issue but it's not nearly as bad as AI has portrayed, What is their agenda? Former Soviet political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky characterizes But Amnesty International's comparison, of GITMO and the Russian gulag's as ''stupid" and ''an insult to the memory of millions who perished" in Soviet camps. It does not help matters. Instead, it revives the tired specter of moral equivalency between flawed democracies and totalitarian dictatorships -- a specter particularly obscene when real gulags still exist in places like North Korea.

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Nice sarcastic rhetoric, TIS, but that's the only mileage you'll get from it. Knee-jerk references to France really have become a caricature for those on the Ãœber-right. I am disappointed that you left out the UN and bed-wetting libbies, although I'm sure the latter was woven in there rather discreetly.

Nowhere did I suggest that America is the "bad guy" in the world. Sadly, whenever criticism is raised, that is what some in this country automatically infer. Any criticism is labled "hatred toward America" and is a cheap ploy designed to silence the critics, not address the problem or enact a solution. In your world, if I look in the mirror and say, "Gee, Al, you're getting fat," that means that I hate myself because I was self-critical and dared to say anything other than, "You look marvelous."

And, out of curiosity, which Navy manual teaches you that torturing prisoners is a sure-fire way to prevent terrorist attacks?

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Well looking at the responses this thread has gathered, I'd say my "rhetoric" has gained some pretty good distance. Nowhere do I read, "Way to go Al" or "Right on, Tex" so I must be saying something right.

I don't want to silence anyone. All I want is for the socialists that have taken over the democrat party to admit that they want to see America fail. Everyone else sees it, so what is so hard for these pinheads to come out and say they want America to fail in order to make Bush look bad. All the liberals do is sit back and criticize every move this administration makes, day in and day out, and it gets very old to those of us that actually want to see America win this war. According to the followers of George Soros, Kerry, Kennedy, and Dean; America is the evil empire today.....it's not the terrorists. We are the ones that brought back the 'gulags" afterall, right? Who has continually used the comparison of Hitler and Stalin to describe the president? The only weapon the socialists have today is slander. Even the liberals tied in with Amnesty International are now saying they have no proof the atrocities they brought out to the world ever occurred. Gee, lets compare this to the tactics of CBS, Newsweek, the NYT.....the list goes on and on. It seems like the party would realize this radical blame America first stance is not the norm in the country and this tin hattiness cost them the election. As an independent, I hope they never get this message.

Democrats are very good at addressing problems, but they come up way short in solutions to deal with the problem. No one believes your little mirror example so drop the dramatics. Show me some posts on this board from you or your socialst buddy from Texas that applauds something this administration has done in this fight. I'll save you the time Doc, there aren't any. I don't want sunshine pumped up my butt all day, but I damn well don't want salt and vinegar pumped up there continually either. There has to be a medium. You guys should really look to find it.

Define torture for me, Al. What is it, stretching panties over some savages head? Could it be making someone beg for their lives just prior to sawing off their head or shooting them dead in cold blood after they are made to run from the scene of their helo crash? Those guys held in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib weren't abducted from an orphanage in the middle of the night. These guys, especially the ones at Abu Ghraib, had blood on their hands. Gitmo started out with 1500 prisioners captured actively engaged in combat against US forces. The figure now stands somewhere around 600. The ones that were deemed not to be just your run of the mill jihadist were released. Yet, according to the liberals, the ACLU, and Amnesty International.....one would think we had them strung up by their testicles. Oh, by the way, did I mention that Amnesty International is now saying they have no proof the atrocities they brought out to the world ever occurred. Imagine that, throw a turd sandwich at the troops then when no facts are brought to light, duck back into the shadows and think of the next atrocity to hang on the troops.

I'll tell you right now, as long as it prevents another American soldier or civilian from becoming a casualty to these murderers, I could care less how the information is gotten.

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