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Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo, Cuba
January 21, 2002 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo, Cuba (the way some people seem to think it should be)
posted by dagny (78 comments total)

 
*clap clap clap*
posted by JakeEXTREME at 4:28 PM on January 21, 2002


But where does a taliban soldier buy cotton candy? I smell human rights violation!
posted by msacheson at 4:35 PM on January 21, 2002


"You must be at least this militant to ride the roller coaster"
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:47 PM on January 21, 2002


where do I get a fast pass?
posted by victors at 4:50 PM on January 21, 2002


can I get a seat in the no-trolling section please?
posted by mcsweetie at 5:00 PM on January 21, 2002


can I get a seat in the no-sense of humor section, please?
posted by Ty Webb at 5:03 PM on January 21, 2002


The Economist (notoriously left-wing, old p.c., anti-American rag) whinges:
"The United States sees the al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners whom it has in custody as important tools in its effort to root out and shut down Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. But concern about how America is dealing with these prisoners could undermine that effort."
posted by Carol Anne at 5:04 PM on January 21, 2002


Ahh... so that's where the new 4-d coaster is opening.

Are they going to have to update Sim Amusement Park to accomodate terrorists? "Damn it! I understand the tourists need toilets, but first an ammo depot for the terrorists"
posted by tiaka at 5:06 PM on January 21, 2002


Everytime I hear someone mention that the prisoners are being held in Guantanamo Bay, I keep getting this vision of twenty men in tubans in a conga line singing "Guantanamera!" This only makes the vision even clearer.
posted by jonmc at 5:19 PM on January 21, 2002


can I get a seat in the no-trolling section please?

If you find it, please let me know where it is.
posted by Optamystic at 5:24 PM on January 21, 2002


So Rumsfield refuses to bring the prison up to the luxurious standards of Nazi P.O.W. camps. Good one.
posted by bobo123 at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2002


HOOOGAN!!!
posted by owillis at 5:34 PM on January 21, 2002


Hmmm. I'd rather see them brought up to the standards of Nazi death camps, bobo.
posted by dissent at 5:41 PM on January 21, 2002


Yeah, giving our prisoners basic human dignity and holding them in accordance with the articles we signed at the Geneva Convention is totally the same as pampering them. Living up to our obligations as supposedly civilized and just people is like letting them get away scot free! Hey, they didn't give the same consideration to the people they killed! Which is why we tie up kidnappers and lock them in a trunk! Eye for an eye, just like Jesus said!
posted by Hildago at 5:42 PM on January 21, 2002


just to be fair, lets examine the (hastily drawn) other end of the irrational stereotype stick... Camp X-Ray, sponsored by Budweiser
posted by mcsweetie at 5:46 PM on January 21, 2002


Y'know, as far as I'm concerned, all the revenge lust--all these so-called "patriots" getting their rocks off watching these prisoners "get what's coming to them"--shows US hypocrisy at its most disgusting. Hell, I bet a majority of Americans would just love to see them tortured outright. We spent all these months praising ourselves for being so much better than everyone else. They're the big Evil, right? Sure they are, but how can you consider yourselves the big Good if you're so jolly on seeing people suffer. No matter who it is?

When it comes down to it, we're no better. In fact, we're worse. We sit here in our nice warm houses in front of our $2000 computers and get our giggles. (I'm no better. I'm typing away as we speak.) At least these miserable bastards actually put their balls on the line.

Speech over. Please go back to your snarking.
posted by jpoulos at 5:49 PM on January 21, 2002


Actually, the United States never signed the Geneva Convention... They ratified it, but never signed it.
posted by da5id at 5:49 PM on January 21, 2002


If I was teaching a class on rhetoric, I could make a slide of this FPP and file it under straw man arguments. Literally no one seems to think that Al Qaeda prisoners should live in an amusement park, yet dagny has said that there are some who do. Fantastic.

But I guess it's a gag, and I must not have a sense of humor, because I don't find belittling valid and necessary criticism with insulting jokes to be uproariously funny.

da5id: Sorry, one does not normally sign at a convention, one ratifies.. you are correct. So, with this minor correction, am I.
posted by Hildago at 5:52 PM on January 21, 2002


owillis: What???
posted by victors at 5:56 PM on January 21, 2002


What are the inhumane conditions? I mean shaving lice infected beards sounds like a good thing to do.

Being outside in 80 degree weather with a gentle 15mph wind sound nice. 3 meals, calls to prayer, an islamic cleric being flown in, copies of the koran on the way, better then my summer camp.

Here are the actual conditions in the camp

And an article quoting the 3 prisoners with British Citezenship as havin "no complaints".
posted by Mick at 6:06 PM on January 21, 2002


We spent all these months praising ourselves for being so much better than everyone else

Isn't there a world of difference between reacting when provoked versus attacking out of the blue? It's not like we woke up one day and said "Hey, let's go kick some Al Qaeda butt". They kicked us in the nads with a missile against thousands of people who had nothing against them.

I guess I am personally a bit old testament (if not religious) so I don't really know that there's anything wrong with slapping an aggresor who's slapped you. If I turn the other cheek that just gets slapped too, it seems better to make his hand hurt so he won't think of slapping again.
posted by owillis at 6:08 PM on January 21, 2002


When it comes down to it, we're no better. In fact, we're worse.

Excuse me if I find it hard to swallow that heaping spoonful of moral relativist tripe you're tyring to shovel down my throat.

Do you really think putting a small number of highly militant terrorists in a prison suited to their threat level -- which, if you'll remember, includes their admitted intention to kill as many of the soldiers guarding them as possible -- is anywhere on par with ramming airplanes full of innocent civilians into buildings full of innocent civilians?
posted by John Galt at 6:10 PM on January 21, 2002


Hildago: While you may be correct in that one does not sign at conventions, the Geneva Convention is not a normal "convention."

To recognize the convention on an international level, countries signed the convention. These countries are then called signatory countries who belong to, abide by, and recognize the Geneva Convention.
posted by da5id at 6:21 PM on January 21, 2002


owillis, they don't feel they attacked out of the blue. They believe they were justified. Just like you believe we are justified.

That being said, it doesn't seem like these prisoners are being mistreated. At least from the evidence I've seen. It's not shocking to me that there are tons of people who would like to see these prisoners mistreated, however. Look back through the mefi archive. During almost any discussion of prison there are a handful of posts advocating tougher prisons, and sometimes torture, for American prisoners. I find it kind of draining, and I'm surprised that Hildago and Jpoulos even had he energy to write those posts. I'm glad they did.

The reaction to the afghan prisoners has been on par with what I would expect. Look at any of the threads on prisoner rape in the US, and tell me you're surprised some people think the Al Queda prisoners have it too good.
posted by Doug at 6:23 PM on January 21, 2002


Considering the events that have taken place, the American response -- the attack on al-Queda and the Taliban and the treatment of the detainees by the US -- have been precise and humane, to say the least. To all those who are complaining about American treatment of the Arab detainees, I say, get a fucking life. Neither the Constitution nor the American laws apply to these scumbags. As a matter of fact, they are pretty damned lucky to be detainees under the US, because you can imagine how American -- or western -- detainees would be treated under *their* rule.
posted by Rastafari at 6:36 PM on January 21, 2002


owillis, they don't feel they attacked out of the blue. They believe they were justified. Just like you believe we are justified.

But they are wrong. Straight out, wrong. Don't really see any place for moral equivalence there...
posted by owillis at 6:41 PM on January 21, 2002


It's not about being better.

It's about making absolutely certain the price to be paid when the US is attacked is so utterly horrific that it doesn't happen.

A state exists for the protection of, and for the furtherance of the interests of, its people. I believe the harshest and most barbaric actions against the terrorists are utterly justified... if not morally imperative.

Better that they should be dead, beyond ransom, than they should be the inspiration for a hostage scenario... or that they should somehow return to free life and constitute a menace.

Jesus can forgive. Yaweh can forgive. Allah can forgive. That's a divine perogative, not a civic one. The US should kill these people in an appropriately ghastly manner. They should look for a circumstances that would render the souls of these men unpalatable in the eyes of their religion, and take this as the manner of execution. Whatever. I don't care if any god justifies this- last I looked, no god was looking after anyone here on earth.

Once again- better? Not the goal. I'll give the terrorists the better handle, any time they want to take it.

Then I would kill them, write history to my own liking, and live in relative peace, more secure that people I care about won't be killed out of hand, that vast swaths of land I happen to like won't be posoned, and that no pissant godling nicknamed allah gets to warp human development through a few nuts.

Better? Feh! I'll take victorious over better.

Vae victis.

The goal should be to avoid vae and not be victis. Pure and simple.
posted by dissent at 6:42 PM on January 21, 2002


When it comes down to it, we're no better. In fact, we're worse.


Um...What?!! The conditions ate Camp X-Ray are open to debate, but please, my freind, that statements impossible to support. Sure, they "put their balls on the line" as you put it. But, to what end? Their publicly stated goal is our complete annihilation. I have far more respect for our soldiers and sailors putting their own balls on the line.
now, the torture-monkeys and kill 'em all types are a distinct mouthy minority so I'll set them aside for the purposes of this discussion. But any hatred felt for Al Qaeda and the Taliban in this country(hell anywhere) is to a large extent justified. When an organization has publicly stated it's desire to see both me and my country destroyed, I will happily chuckle along with any mockery directed it's way.

now, I understand that we should rise above their level and not become like them. I also understand that these prisoners have strategic value as potential informants. But I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep because their prison is unpleasant.
As Dennis Miller so eloquently put it, "It's supposed to be unpleasant, IT'S PRISON!"
posted by jonmc at 6:42 PM on January 21, 2002


owillis, they don't feel they attacked out of the blue. They believe they were justified. Just like you believe we are justified.

But they are wrong. Straight out, wrong. Don't really see any place for moral equivalence there...
posted by owillis at 6:41 PM PST on January 21

Truth is just the name for what it is impossible for a person to doubt. - Oliver Wendell Holmes
posted by onegoodmove at 6:51 PM on January 21, 2002


Rastafari.... I'll do it again... *clap clap clap*

I must say, that I always seem to be going off the rocker when it comes to the treatment of these people. I've gone as far as making extremely harsh statements towards them. I'm not saying what I sid was wrong, I feel exactly as I've said in the past. I just find that Rastafari has put my thoughts completely into a not so vicious blurb.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 6:55 PM on January 21, 2002


The cries of bloodlust are understandable on a certain level, but have those of you who cry for their death, considered that if we, the US, kill these people we only elevate them to martyrdom in the eyes of the very zealots from which they were spawned?!
posted by sillygit at 7:03 PM on January 21, 2002


Sillygit: If those zealots threaten us, we'll kill them too. And I'm not kidding; that's justice.
posted by dagny at 7:06 PM on January 21, 2002


Hold your horses, there are many points that need to be discussed

Many people out there, expecially from USA but also from many other european countries think that the Taliban prisoners are being treated better then they deserve. I understand their anger , but I condemn it as irrational.

Point one: the fact that Talibans or people from any other country treat prisoners in a comparatively worse or miserable way doesn't allow CIVILIZED country to behave
like a 3rd world country. Why ? Because you may be the next one, if you don't agree with that. Wouldn't you agree that, until proven guilty, you deserve an at least FAIR treatement ?

Point two: from what we know from the media the prisoners are being treated in a more or less fair way.
Sure the "chicken" battery cages don't look nice, but they're probably better then 4 walls of concrete and a steel door around you. The one who protest taliban prisoner conditions should FIRST check the conditions of the common prisoners in his own country jails, they're not always as good as they're shown on TV. Conditions in other non european/american jail are often comparatively worse. I also think that americans will move or otherwise seeks adequate shelter for prisoners in the event of adverse weather conditions.

Point three: media coverage on anything happening inside that prison-camp , or any other prison is FUNDAMENTAL. Public opinion should be informed about what's happening inside a prison, because they could be the next ones and because there's only a very little separation from fair treatment and human rights violation in many prisons.

And here's the Declaration of Universal Human Rights. Ok it's a piece of paper but if we don't want to respect such important rights we can say bye bye to our future.
posted by elpapacito at 7:10 PM on January 21, 2002


elpapacito: Somehow individual rights seem a bit more rational than the self-contradictory "human rights" cooked up by the U.N.
posted by dagny at 7:15 PM on January 21, 2002


I'm not saying what I sid was wrong, I feel exactly as I've said in the past. I just find that Rastafari has put my thoughts completely into a not so vicious blurb.

--end thread hijack
posted by lescour at 7:19 PM on January 21, 2002


lescour - leave Jake alone, his post was pretty civilized. And please, the boldface quote, what are you the SpelliBan?!
posted by jonmc at 7:27 PM on January 21, 2002


dagny: interesting , how is human rights declaration condadictory and in which sense and how is individual rights (guess you mean The Bill of Right) more rational ?
I welcome your comments :D
posted by elpapacito at 7:29 PM on January 21, 2002


Expletive any Declaration of Universal Human Rights.

I think the future of those who view it as a piece of paper is brighter than that of those who take it with any real seriousness.

If the US takes appropriate measures, its citizens never need be next for such treatment as terrorist prisoners receive.

Again, it's entirely about taking measures that terrify, cow, stun, stupefy, and horrify potential opponents. This is not irrational. It's coldly calculated, rational, ruthless sensibility, taken in the name of self-preservation, pure and simple.

The fact that it would be gratifying to observe their suffering would be an added bonus. Not necessary, but satisfying.

If, by taking and observing such measures, citizens of the US realize what would befall them, if defeated, let it be inspiration never to fall, and never to falter.
posted by dissent at 7:31 PM on January 21, 2002


jonmc: Sid Vicious. lescour's just being playful.
posted by nikzhowz at 7:34 PM on January 21, 2002


if we, the US, kill these people we only elevate them to martyrdom in the eyes of the very zealots from which they were spawned

They already think that way anyway. That's the problem with the folks who think magically one day these folks are going to stop burning the flag or the president in effigy and start yelling "Yay, America". No matter what we do, they are gonna hate us.
posted by owillis at 7:36 PM on January 21, 2002


lescour... If my spelling bothers you that much, why don't you check a pocket dictionary?

vi·cious (vshs)
adj.
Having the nature of vice; evil, immoral, or depraved.
Given to vice, immorality, or depravity.
Spiteful; malicious: vicious gossip.
Disposed to or characterized by violent or destructive behavior. See Synonyms at cruel.
Marked by an aggressive disposition; savage. Used chiefly of animals.
Severe or intense; fierce: a vicious storm.
Faulty, imperfect, or otherwise impaired by defects or a defect: a forced, vicious style of prose.
Impure; foul.

Also, I would call that sid a typo, not spelling error.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:38 PM on January 21, 2002


elpapacito: (I'd probably be accused of hijacking my own thread if I answered your question in full, so I'll only give you one example of how the UN's "human rights" declaration is self-contradictory) The declaration condemns slavery, yet claims that everybody has a "right" to not only food, clothing and housing -- but also medical care and "necessary" social services. All of this obviously has to be provided (and invented in the first place) by someone, and as the UN sees these things as a "right" for all, they'd in effect be coerced from the producer, thus he would become a slave.
posted by dagny at 7:38 PM on January 21, 2002


All apologies lescour, just noticed that note from nikzhowz, I didn't even pick up on it. My bad.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:40 PM on January 21, 2002


dagny and dissent are right much as we'd like it to be this is not a tea party. We can sit here and indulge in moral narcissism or we can do what needs to be done. All this fretting over fine points basically amounts to fiddling while Rome burns. If the likes of Al Qaeda are not dealt with decisively, incidents like 9/11 will continue to happen. I, for one am grateful the war is being fought by soldiers and not by pointy-headed analysts or we'd probably still be arguing over what scent of perfume to put on the note to Osama to come out of hiding. This is a war, people are going to die. I wish it had never happened but we are left with no choice. Maybe what's got peoples ire up, is that instead of feeling perfectly natural anger towards our enemies, there's are contingent of folk who's first impulse is to worry about the suffering of those who wish to destroy us?
Ask yourself, do you think they're worrying about you?
posted by jonmc at 7:43 PM on January 21, 2002


Dissent: I think that you're a little confused. If you think that a "measure" that scares the hell out of "potential opponents" is enough from stopping people from doing what they believe is right, you're wrong. They'll do regardless of the consequences. Osama or any other terrorist was scared by the immense power of U.S.A. ? No.

The fact that U.S.A. destroyed any military force in Iraq was not enough, but it was a devastating show of power. Yet it didn't scare Osama.

So what do we need ? Nuclear fireworks ? That's a pointless spiral of useless violence that leads to only destruction.

The fact that you consider observing human suffering an added or bonus or a gratification is disturbing, but probably true for many sickos out there.
posted by elpapacito at 7:49 PM on January 21, 2002


elpapacito - let's see war as deterrent won't stop him, negotiation certainly won't, um...you got any better ideas my freind?
posted by jonmc at 7:55 PM on January 21, 2002


Jake and jon, how could you miss sid vicious? Ten minutes in the penalty box for both of you for gross negligence of punk culture.

On a more serious note *imagine a throat clearing noise here*, I am beginning to lean toward the "treat the prisoners detainees according to the Geneva Conventions" side of this debate.

While I do feel that they are currently being treated humanely, I'm also beginning to understand why others are arguing so vehemently in favor of according them the rights laid out in the G.C. Here's why:

Jake, jon, and others have correctly pointed out that no matter how we treat the Al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners detainees, they and those who support them will still hate us. Since they will continue to maintain that position regardless of how we treat them, our next most important task is to ensure that the nations that are supporting us continue to do so.

Treating the prisoners detainees according to the Geneva Conventions would not be an unnecessary hardship on us, but it would go a long way toward mending the fences with our allies, who, like it or not, could ruin our current and future plans with regards to other countries such as Somalia, Iraq, et al.

I'm not saying I've jumped to the other side of the fence, I'm saying that they're making a pretty good argument for it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:00 PM on January 21, 2002


It's not about being better.
Better? Feh! I'll take victorious over better.

Good. You do that.

For those besides dissent, who's apparently perfectly content in his Rambo fantasy:

Please just don't pretend that you're better. Be the baddest motherfucker in the world. Show them what for. Stick it to 'em. But don't then turn around and talk about how civilized we are. Don't take the moral highground like we Americans have for the past four months.

Do you really think putting a small number of highly militant terrorists in a prison...is anywhere on par with ramming airplanes full of innocent civilians into buildings full of innocent civilians?

Of course not. I may be a lefty, but I'm not (quite) insane. Please, don't misunderstand me. The crashing of those planes is the most horrible thing I've ever witnessed in my life. I want every one of these filthy fuckers brought to justice. But it's not nearly as cut and dried as people make it out to be. It was Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban, who hijacked those planes. Some poor, stupid 19-year-old fuck who joined the Taliban to get his rocks off is about as far removed from that as you or I. Or at least as the US corporal who's guarding him right now.

The horror of 9/11 doesn't give us the right to do whatever we please. And just because "they're not POWs" doesn't mean we can do whatever we want--especially if, come this July 4th, we're all going to have a group hug and talk about how badly we've been treated by the rest of the world. And how good it is to be American.

And I'm not just saying this to be on some moral high horse. We're setting political precedents here. Everything we do will be noted by the rest of the world, and thrown back in our faces when it's convenient for them. Our Arab allies can't be appreciating our humiliating these prisoners by shaving their beards, for example. And, like it or not, we still need those allies.

Look at the Spy Plane incident in China last year. If that happened today, or next month, or next year, you think we'd get those servicepeople back as quickly as we did? Fuck it, says China, they're not POWs. We don't have to treat them all that well.

Anyway, as Doug pointed out, this whole thing is just exhausting. I just want it all to end.
posted by jpoulos at 8:09 PM on January 21, 2002


I only view suffering as a bonus where it is deserved. I wouldn't enjoy it being handed out on a random basis. If "civilized" humanity has evolved beyond this, I view it as too gutless, anemic, and effete to survive for long.

I view anyone's lack of stomach to face opposing evil with due force and brutality as disturbing, but probably true for many who have lost touch with reality. Like, say, perhaps yourself, elpapacito.

Our war on Iraq didn't address the Osama problem... our war in Afghanistan did. Our war which will now continue elsewhere does. And, furthermore, if Iraq didn't cow Osama... I'd view that as mere proof that pre-emptive strikes against other specific enemies before they can act are wise, justified, and necessary.
posted by dissent at 8:09 PM on January 21, 2002


Upon reading mr_crash_davis, I'll add this. He's right. Are the jollies we're getting from banging on a couple dozen Taliban worth the political headaches it could cause down the road?
posted by jpoulos at 8:11 PM on January 21, 2002


crash - jake caught the sid vicious thing and AIM'ed me. So I'm the boob this time.(Get your whip out). I don't disagree that they have a point, crash. I've sorta mentioned that in a few threads. I was just sort of trying to venture an explanation for some of the anger towards Al Qaeda that some of us express here(admittedly a little hamfistedly sometimes), although to me it hardly seems to need explanation.

And as far as negligence of punk culture, I had a mohawk in 5th grade, man....ok no i didn't, but I did sniff a lot of glue in those days....ok back to the penalty box.
posted by jonmc at 8:15 PM on January 21, 2002


No matter what we do, they are gonna hate us

This may be true for any terrorist, al-queda or otherwise, likewise any extremist be they Arab, American, European or African. But it doesn't apply to average people, some of whom do burn flags and chant "death to America"

It's a hard pill to swallow, but America has done other countries wrong. Al-Qaeda has nothing to do with that, they are an evil manifestation of a greivance. Kind of like Tim McVeigh. Many people were upset about Waco, but the beauty of the US is that proper channels exist in order to air those greivances.
posted by chaz at 8:19 PM on January 21, 2002


And, jpoulos, I suggest that the US remain strong enough that it's utter folly for other nations to quibble with it over the rights of those they hold in no particular esteem. Let the Arabs ask for the rights of their citizens in good standing- I would listen. I would respect that. Let them not become petulant over the supposed rights of their uncontrolled thugs.

As to China, they'll treat our servicemen well because someday, we might get some of theirs. If they don't, when we do get some of theirs, we should show them the folly of their ill-considered actions.

How A treats B need have no impact on how C treats A... how A treats C... or might... should be the determinant factor.

BTW, Machiavelli or Sun Tzu would more closely fit my thinking than Rambo, thank you kindly.
posted by dissent at 8:23 PM on January 21, 2002


Sorry for the little Off-topic :) Skip forward if you are only interested into the Camp X ray issue

Dagney: I understand your point and thank you for answering my question. In theory you' right given that, if there is a right, a right must be respected and should be enjoyed without expenses for the recipient of the right.

And eventually , if there is no other reasonable solution, the production should be coerced from the producers who also enjoy the same right for food, clothing. That's not the same thing of being a slave : according to merriam webster definition a slave is

1 : a person held in servitude as the chattel of another
2 : one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence

First, you're not held in servitude by another person but by the need to respect other people rights. The fact that a govt is forcing you to give your production, even for free, is just because you need a material instrument to enforce the right and the instrument is the government, or other people like you and me.

Second, you're not completely subservient to a dominating influence because you enjoy the same right as other people. including having the produtcs you need for your life.

Otherwise is it possilbe to pay for the products and if the recipient of the right doesn't have money for reasons behind his own control the price should be paid by the community or by as many persons with money as possible enjoying the same rights. Which is what should happen to avoid any coercition on production.

One could use this solution to avoid the potential conflict you correctly pointed out.
posted by elpapacito at 8:26 PM on January 21, 2002


jonmc: not currently. do you ?
posted by elpapacito at 8:27 PM on January 21, 2002


el papcito- seems like a self-preservation issue to me. Remember all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
posted by jonmc at 8:33 PM on January 21, 2002


BTW, Machiavelli or Sun Tzu would more closely fit my thinking than Rambo, thank you kindly.

pot-a-to / pot-ah-to

:-)
posted by jpoulos at 8:38 PM on January 21, 2002


Perhaps, elpapacito, the answer is simply a reduction in population so that there is an abundance of goods and services for all in coming generations. But some without means to produce seem rather insistent upon their so-called "right" to reproduce...

Hmmm. I'll take conflict over coercion of producers- any day. I'll fight for those producers, if need be. All humans are created equal, but they rapidly differentiate themselves into those that are more valuable, and those that are less valuable. I like the current system for the determination of that value. I'm nowhere near the top, but I still view it as reasonably fair. I trust no group of people to determine what an "equitable" distribution of resources might be, and I will resist any attempt to legislate the redistribution of resources beyond that needed to accomplish essential government functions... such as incarcerating terrorists until they are properly disposed of.
posted by dissent at 8:41 PM on January 21, 2002


Second, you're not completely subservient to a dominating influence because you enjoy the same right as other people. including having the produtcs you need for your life.

I am if I am not allowed to reject these "rights" for myself. The senario you describe is nice, but it is not just.
posted by thirteen at 8:47 PM on January 21, 2002


jpoulos... I appreciate the humor. You may have read Sun Tzu. If you haven't... give him a try sometime. If ou can tolerate him... It might be like asking me to read... hmmmm... Chomsky, maybe. If so, forget it.

I really do think there is a fundamental difference between the created Hollywood image of Rambo, and the near-lengendary, but real man that was Sun Tzu.

Sun Tzu lived in times so "interesting" (as the Chinese curse goes) that our own look rather placid, all in all. And yet, he sought methods not to avoid conflict, but to make it as effective as possible, with minimum bloodshed.

I may sound bloodthirsty. To a degree, I am. But it's not for fun, or adrenaline kicks. That's Rambo.

Perhaps strength and determination will not assure safety. But, knowing the world, weakness and timidity will assure a fall from power, and then inevitable destruction. That's bad, if you hadn't guessed that yet.

And then there's Mr. M... ah, well, enough for now.
posted by dissent at 8:56 PM on January 21, 2002


Carol Anne: The Economist (notoriously left-wing, old p.c., anti-American rag) whinges... < snip>

They also said the shackling was probably justified.

And The Economist is certainly not as left-wing (or anti-American) as you think it is.
posted by jetgrrl at 9:21 PM on January 21, 2002


dissent: Machiavelli never said to be utterly and constantly ruthless. You're getting that from either a) what you've heard from others or b) a barely cursory reading. He was more into being wise. Protecting the state was Moral Duty No. 1 for any leader, but that's an incredibly complex task (which he wasn't right about in all circumstances). What you suggest could very well lead to disaster. It's better to be feared than loved, sure, but Machiavelli leaves no doubt that it's a giant error to leave enemies (existing and potential) bitter. A prince, in short, must inspired fear in a way that does not lead to hated. If so hated, a price cannot endure.
posted by raysmj at 9:30 PM on January 21, 2002


For further reference on Machiavelli, please see The Prince, which is available online in several locations. The "loved than feared" passage can be found in this section.
posted by raysmj at 9:34 PM on January 21, 2002


"They kicked us in the nads with a missile against thousands of people who had nothing against them."

"Do you really think putting a small number of highly militant terrorists in a prison suited to their threat level...is anywhere on par with ramming airplanes full of innocent civilians into buildings full of innocent civilians?"

Crucial point of order: None of these prisoners slammed any planes into anything. They are part of an organization which did so. How many people within this organization who did not take part in the attacks, do you suppose, even knew they were going to occur?

Actually, scratch that, cuz it's not crucial. It's irrelevant. Even if it were Osama Bin Laden himself, we should treat our prisoners in a manner befitting a civilized and just society.
posted by Hildago at 9:34 PM on January 21, 2002


at least the put their balls on the line

F#?* them for putting their balls on the line. I'm not attacking you here though, jpolous. I'm actually agreeing with most of what you said.

I say invade them, arrest them, capture them, do unto them as we would want done to our captured soldiers while they're in custody. Then bring them to trial and if they are found guilty, chop their f#!*@?! balls off. Hopefully their little brother or cousin back overseas thinks twice about putting his own cajones on the line next time for their twisted cause.
posted by tomorama at 9:35 PM on January 21, 2002


My only question is, how come they get to go to Cuba and we, as good, law-abiding Patriotic citizens, don't??
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:37 PM on January 21, 2002


None of these prisoners slammed any planes into anything. They are part of an organization which did so.

Six of one, half dozen of another. Not all Nazi soldiers personally killed Jews, but all were part of the group comitting the crime. All soldiers.
posted by owillis at 10:00 PM on January 21, 2002


Six of one, half dozen of another. Not all Nazi soldiers personally killed Jews, but all were part of the group comitting the crime. All soldiers.

Respectfully, I would say that it does matter when your justification for treating them inhumanely is that they treated others inhumanely.

But I would agree with you that they are all soldiers. All soldiers should be treated with the same standards.
posted by Hildago at 10:08 PM on January 21, 2002


Six of one, half dozen of another. Not all Nazi soldiers personally killed Jews, but all were part of the group comitting the crime. All soldiers.

So do all employees of Enron or Arthur Anderen deserve punishment? No doubt the higher-ups do, but what about the staff?
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:09 PM on January 21, 2002


It was decided at Nuremburg that individual combatants were not to be held accountable for the atrocities commited by the Nazis as a group, since the soldiers were grunts who had no control over the actions of their leaders.

Same logic should apply here.
posted by Optamystic at 10:11 PM on January 21, 2002


tomorama: So...you think we'll stop suicide bombers by intimidation, huh? I'm sure a guy willing to slam a plane into a building is just quaking at the idea of being killed.
posted by Doug at 10:23 PM on January 21, 2002


Our Arab allies can't be appreciating our humiliating these prisoners by shaving their beards, for example.

this is slightly off topic, but will someone please explain to me why it's always assumed that the motives for any action taken by the government are always bad. JPoulos (and many so-called journalists) just assume that beards were shaved because the U.S. wanted to *humiliate* the prisoners. Typical analysis: see picture. conveniently overlook lack of information/context. jump to worst possible conclusion. It's as if it's completely implausible that we'd require people to be shaven for perfectly reasonable and pragmatic hygienic or safety reasons. (One would think this might be considered at least a possibility given that many domestic U.S. prisons require inmates to be clean shaven....)
posted by lizs at 10:30 PM on January 21, 2002


but will someone please explain to me why it's always assumed that the motives for any action taken by the government are always bad

See: Nixon, Richard.

:)
posted by owillis at 11:07 PM on January 21, 2002


It was decided at Nuremburg that individual combatants were not to be held accountable for the atrocities commited by the Nazis as a group, since the soldiers were grunts who had no control over the actions of their leaders.

That ruling was an atrocity in and of itself, and should not be held precedent. We need to encourage the foot soldiers under our loony enemies to engage in mutiny.
posted by dagny at 2:44 AM on January 22, 2002


[And The Economist is certainly not as left-wing (or anti-American) as you think it is.]

Yes, but it's still factually incorrect isn't it?
posted by revbrian at 4:42 AM on January 22, 2002


jetgrrl: I was attempting sarcasm--but proved it cannot be seen, only heard.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:29 AM on January 22, 2002


Ah, but the "prince" who killed these terrorists would inspire hatred only in those who already hate him.

It would show resolve, and intestinal fortitude... good things to show your citizens.

I don't advocate constant ruthlessness... only constant ruthlessness to enemies. I advocate constant benevolence to citizens in good standing.
posted by dissent at 6:35 AM on January 22, 2002


dissent: You could spread hate. Isn't that obvious? In any case, under a literal reading of Machiavelli, you wouldn't take people to prison and let them hang around and then kill them all (that was torture even in his day), and you certainly wouldn't kill the ones who weren't in charge in the first place. But now you have a giant world media and international law and human rights standards, and our own standards and an upholding of such standards and values as a world model - an upholding that's become even more conspicuous after Sept. 11 - to contend with here. The most overwhelming rule in the "The Prince," regardless, is to avoid being hated.
posted by raysmj at 8:16 AM on January 22, 2002


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