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My Hell in Camp X-ray
March 12, 2004 3:33 AM   Subscribe

My Hell in Camp X-ray. The five British detainees released from Camp X-ray are back in the UK and have talked to the press. They allege physical and mental abuse in exclusive interviews with British tabloid, 'The Mirror' and ITV news channel.
posted by biffa (82 comments total)

 
Uhh, kinda funny to see the American actors I recognized (and some Brits) with some different dialogue than usual, but what is the ad for exactly?
posted by efalk at 4:14 AM on March 12, 2004


Wrong tread?
posted by Eirixon at 4:34 AM on March 12, 2004


Okay... that mirror article made me feel less than comfortable. And the worrying thing is that I kind of believe him. Does anyone have similar links from other recently released detainees?

Has the US actually opened the camps up to human rights groups yet?
posted by twine42 at 4:47 AM on March 12, 2004


It makes me ashamed of my (UK) government, that we didn't press more vigorously to get them released. And I thank my lucky stars, I'm not an American, because I'd not be able to utter the words "freedom", "rule of law", or "decency" without feeling fraudulent.
posted by Pericles at 5:12 AM on March 12, 2004


Pericles - how about 'human rights' or 'justice'.
posted by twine42 at 5:15 AM on March 12, 2004


Err.. I have trouble with those after hearing Stiff Little Fingers playing "Suspect Device" last night, being a Brit and all...
posted by Pericles at 5:21 AM on March 12, 2004


Foreign Secretary Jack Straw last night said the US was right to keep the men locked up and the release of the five did not necessarily prove their innocence. (1st link, p.2).
'Ashamed' is right, Pericles.
posted by punilux at 5:26 AM on March 12, 2004


Question marks on both sides of this: Detainee claims he was backpacking in Pakistan, somehow ends up in an Afghan jail, and thence to Camp X-ray. Uh, backpacking in Pakistan a few months after 9/11? On the other hand: how is it that it took US interrogators 2 years to figure out they had nothing on these guys, while the Brits accomplished the same in 24 hours?
posted by beagle at 5:43 AM on March 12, 2004


You were expecting 4 star accomodations?

As info-extraction techniques described by Amnesty Int'l over the years go, these are rather civil.
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:45 AM on March 12, 2004


Uh, backpacking in Pakistan a few months after 9/11?

I don't recall that it was ever made a crime in the UK to backpack in Pakistan, or that the US millitary were given the task of policing British citizens who broke this little-publicised law.

You were expecting 4 star accomodations?
I'd expect people who are accused of no crime, nor ever charged, to be accomodated in their own home. Or backpacking round whichever hell-hole they fancied visiting.

As info-extraction techniques described by Amnesty Int'l over the years go, these are rather civil - which means that it's fine?
posted by Pericles at 5:55 AM on March 12, 2004


these are rather civil

- ah the time honoured cup of tea and crumpet approach, more tea vicar?.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:56 AM on March 12, 2004


As info-extraction techniques described by Amnesty Int'l over the years go, these are rather civil.
So it's OK to treat innocent people like this because other regimes are tougher? Not sure if that's what you meant, but that's how it came across.
posted by chill at 5:57 AM on March 12, 2004


So it's OK to treat innocent people like this

So you have inside info of some sort? Share it with us.
posted by Fupped Duck at 6:02 AM on March 12, 2004


'So you have inside info of some sort? Share it with us.'

If they weren't proven guilty they are presumed innocent, no?
posted by twistedonion at 6:07 AM on March 12, 2004


If they weren't proven guilty they are presumed innocent, no?

It's kind of hard to determine either innocence or guilt without a charge.
posted by Summer at 7:20 AM on March 12, 2004


So you have inside info of some sort? Share it with us.

I don't have any inside info, just what is available through all the media...
There wasn't even enough evidence to bring these people before a secret military run tribunal.
Within hours of being exposed to due process, they were released.
They haven't been found guilty of any crime, or indeed been charged with any crime.

Not sure what more you want to be honest.
posted by chill at 7:23 AM on March 12, 2004


As info-extraction techniques described by Amnesty Int'l over the years go, these are rather civil.

The worst torturers and abusers of human rights have always set the standard by which we in the US should behave.

Oh wait, no they haven't.

We're supposed to be better than this.
posted by jpoulos at 7:24 AM on March 12, 2004


This is horrible. I'm sickened daily by our government.
posted by agregoli at 7:24 AM on March 12, 2004


What makes me the angriest about this is that the defenders of the U.S.'s actions will revert to the easiest of comparisons- that this is perfectly alright because somewhere else on the planet something significantly worse happened. "So what if he was imprisoned for two years? Saddam was raping children!" "How dare you say it's a concentration camp, you demean what Hitler did to the Jews by saying that!"

Whenever suggestion of an atrocity is charged against the U.S., the defense is always some form of comparitive defense via the brutality of another. America: at least we're not Saddam. As if that, you know, makes any sense at all.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:28 AM on March 12, 2004


Oh boo hoo. How can we sleep at night?
posted by a3matrix at 7:35 AM on March 12, 2004


It's sickening if true, and I was all too ready to believe it. Still, I find it pretty hard to believe that doctors would deliberately amputate more tissue than they needed to take. That just doesn't seem like the kind of thing a doctor would do. That throws everything into a bit of doubt in my mind. I'm sure that bad things happened, and I want the Red Cross or some neutral rights watch organization to have access to the camp. It just seems that there's a lot of exaggeration here which undercuts the message.
posted by willnot at 7:36 AM on March 12, 2004


Oh boo hoo. How can we sleep at night?

By making light of it because at least no-one is doing it to you or your family? Is that the right answer?
posted by Pericles at 7:40 AM on March 12, 2004


Stick you head back in the sand Pericles. You'll be happier there.
posted by a3matrix at 7:43 AM on March 12, 2004


Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
posted by moonbiter at 7:48 AM on March 12, 2004


That just doesn't seem like the kind of thing a doctor would do

Josef Mengele was a doctor too....
posted by dr_dank at 7:53 AM on March 12, 2004


If you are shocked and upset by these allegations; if you are American and you feel that even 10% of what Jamal al-Harith alleges happened at Camp X-Ray might be true, I urge you to contact your Representatives and your Senators -- email them the link to the Mirror article. This will continue as long as the American people allow it to continue. Only by making enough noise, and shining enough light will something get done...

In particular, I would urge people to contact the office of Senator John McCain -- Here's contact information for his Washington DC office, and here's a webform that you can use to send a him message webform doesn't seem to work correctly in Mozilla, FYI and perhaps even include the links to the articles. Senator McCain serves on the Armed Services committee, and in reading the story of Jamal al-Harith, I found myself immediately noting how the treatment of the Camp X-Ray prisoners was similar, and in some ways seems more extreme, than the torturous treatment Sen. McCain and his fellow POWs were subjected to at the 'Hanoi Hilton'.

Don't just talk about it -- do something!
posted by anastasiav at 7:54 AM on March 12, 2004


a3matrix, you worry me.

Just out of interest - if this was all above board then why isn't it on American soil? Instead it's on soil stolen from the Cubans and not yet given back - kind of like us turning gibratar into a prison camp I guess.

Maybe putting it in America would mean people would more easily be able to see what was going on. Oh, and the protests. Try getting to Cuba and protesting outside the gates to the Army Base.

Bah. It all stinks of rotting morals and international laws falling to dust. Play the game.
posted by twine42 at 7:58 AM on March 12, 2004


boo hoo

Please tell me you don't actually feel this way, a3... That's a positively awful outlook on things.

You also seem to spend an inordinate amount of time going from thread to thread shouting "booooring". Okay, so the rest of us give a rat's ass about the rule of law. Just hope they never come for you - no phonecall, no recourse, no justice.

The US is supposed to be better than this. Guantanamo is a concentration camp - no more, no less.
posted by kahboom at 8:00 AM on March 12, 2004


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

-Friedrich Nietzsche
posted by kahboom at 8:02 AM on March 12, 2004


This thread is extremely stupid, and you should all be ashamed. Other than the original poster, who couldn't have known that drooling simpletons would rush in.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:03 AM on March 12, 2004


Fupped Duck: You were expecting 4 star accommodations?

Not really, but if your going to indefinitely hold people quasi-legally at best shouldn't you give them at least one star accommodations? Going on what little has been released; if in Canada you treated your dog like the prisoners are being treated in Cuba the SPCA would be all over you. At a minimum the suspects should have privacy from each other and minimal exercise options.

On preview what twine42 said.
posted by Mitheral at 8:09 AM on March 12, 2004


OT - that's the first time anyone's said that. *contented smile*
posted by twine42 at 8:15 AM on March 12, 2004


The objective of terroism is to undermine our way of life, our tolerance and the principles which underpin our democracy - David Blunket, UK Home Secretary (slightly paraphrased.)

Jack Straw, UK Foreign Secretary, condemning the terroist bombing in Spain condemned those who would further their political objectives through violence.

It's nice to hear that our politicians are also concerned about outsourcing of their jobs.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:24 AM on March 12, 2004


Posts like this are newsfilter. All that can be added to it is some feigned shock and handwringing as we all chorus along "GIVE PEACE A CHANCE."

What is this post other than newsfilter. It is an article, you read it, then what? Bunch of whining and crying. Then someone posts a troll (4 star hotel?) then the handwringers start flaming the troll. And it boils down to a bunch of crap.

Mefi has turned into this on a daily basis lately.

Does anyone even read the posting guidelines?
posted by a3matrix at 8:35 AM on March 12, 2004


Assuming it's accurate this gives us our first sight into this camp where people are being held. When the American government is giving us no information about it, this is a titbit from a newsagency. That doesn't make it newsfilter.

Is it not right to take a look at the way the world's last superpower treats people it believes are behaving in a way it disagrees with?

And did you intentionally refer to yourself as a troll?
posted by twine42 at 8:43 AM on March 12, 2004


What is this post other than newsfilter.

I posted it because it was a UK news link and I thought it might be of interest to US and other MeFites, where it might otherwise have got little coverage. The fact that the story does not seem to have so far been picked up by CNN.com or CBSnews.com and barely by MSNBC suggests that I was correct.

As twine42 says, just because something appears in a news outlet doesn't mean it can not provide insight and information on a subject of interest to users. This has been proven repeatedly on MeFi.

Bunch of whining and crying.

If you regard the alleged corruption of the rule of law as merely whining and crying then fine, the thread is of no interest to you. I stand by my belief that others attach more concern to the issue.
posted by biffa at 8:58 AM on March 12, 2004


If you feel that way, a3matrix, why comment?
posted by btwillig at 9:09 AM on March 12, 2004


From the article:

But Jamal's most shocking disclosure centred on the use of vice girls to torment the most religiously devout detainees.

Prisoners who had never seen an "unveiled" woman before would be forced to watch as the hookers touched their own naked bodies.


Yeah, right.

If you believe this load of donkey shit then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Cheap.

But, of course, this guy must be lying.
posted by hadashi at 9:18 AM on March 12, 2004


Indeed a3matrix, your contribution is a standard part of exactly the same routine that you refer to: in all such threads, at least one contributor comes in, disparages everyone for their lefty groupthink or whatever, and eventually insists that "this isn't what metafilter is for".

If you're so opposed to the same old pattern in politically-charged threads, why have you chosen to play one of the standard roles with such formulaic exactitude?
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:22 AM on March 12, 2004


Because he's going to single-handedly change everyone's mind about it. Throught glib insults and a patronizing tone.
posted by Hildago at 9:28 AM on March 12, 2004


XQUZYPHYR (in particular): My argument is not your argument. My argument is that Gitmo is a red herring. A fake, a fraud, whatever. It is a magnet to attract world and legal attention *away* from the *real* camps that the US and its "allies" operate.
For the most part, the biggest "torture" used at Gitmo is boredom. The US *wants* everyone to focus on Gitmo.

Now for the scary part. Early on, a CIA agent let slip about the other camps, even giving the nickname of one as the "Hotel California", which turns the lyrics of that lovely song by the Eagles into a monstrosity filled with the most unspeakable double entendres.

Remember that this is the same CIA that packs human beings into metal containers before having them slowly shipped across a hot country. Something they've done both in South America and in Afghanistan.

The worst horrors documented by Amnesty International pale before what the US *could* and might *be* doing right now. There really is NO limit to dehumanization, if you choose to take it to the ends of technology.

Horrifying pharmaceuticals such as endorphin blockers, addictives, hallucinogenics, and dozens of psychoactive drugs in combination with hypnosis and other mental conditioning. Direct surgery to the brain. Chip implants. Reprogramming. Implanted explosives. Disease introduction. Genetic modification. Horrors beyond science fiction.

And how many people would say: "And why not?"
posted by kablam at 9:33 AM on March 12, 2004



If you believe this load of donkey shit then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Cheap.

But, of course, this guy must be lying.


You know, my biggest problem with this whole situation is just that. We have absolutely no way of knowing. If the government really wants to dispel all the shit going around, let a couple reporters in there. Tell them they can't directly quote anybody and can't take any pictures, but go ahead and talk to some prisoners. Have a look at where they're being held. Then go write an article that says "oh, yeah, they're fine. Not happy to be in prison, but treated well" or "no, they're screwed." The very fact that the government doesn't want us to know who, how, why, how many, and for how long is totally subverting the legal foundation of our court system.
If everybody is so happy to be there, then why can't we talk to them?
posted by lumpenprole at 9:35 AM on March 12, 2004


whether or not Jamal al-Harith's account is true, he certainly doesn't seem like a criminal, and Guantanamo Bay is still absolutely disgusting. if you're amurkan and agree, you should definitely write or phone your representatives to say so.

non-citizens should get comparable rights to US citizens; charge them or let them go. it's been two fucking years. it's a travesty of justice, and it severely diminishes any support (mine included) for US operations against al-Qaeda.

on preview: kablam, it seems like you have some inside info that most people don't (any links?), but even if what you say is true, there's still no reason to say Guantanamo Bay is acceptable. if you want to try them, try them, but you can't just keep them locked up forever with no specifically stated charges.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:40 AM on March 12, 2004


info-extraction techniques

Better term: Information Retrieval
posted by kirkaracha at 9:41 AM on March 12, 2004


I urge you to contact your Representatives and your Senators ... Don't just talk about it -- do something!

That is to say, don't just talk about it -- talk about it!
posted by kindall at 9:47 AM on March 12, 2004


Stavros: This thread is extremely stupid, and you should all be ashamed.

Why?
posted by Pericles at 9:48 AM on March 12, 2004


That is to say, don't just talk about it -- talk about it!

if contacting my representatives is as useless as posting to metafilter, i'm quite depressed. (though i realize that it's probably true ...)

um ... people are the power? (if there was enough outcry from all over the nation, i honestly do think we'd get some more action and/or inquiries into this bad, bad, bad idea.)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:03 AM on March 12, 2004


Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is the situation the USA finds itself in.

It is in the average American's best self-interest to become politically active, demanding a higher standard of its administration. Complacency is leading toward the collapse of the nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:07 AM on March 12, 2004


This is a phony bunch of crap.

Medical treatment was sparse and brutal and amputations of limbs were more drastic than required, claimed Jamal.

Jamal's a doctor. He examined people. He was in a position to know.

Prisoners who had never seen an "unveiled" woman before would be forced to watch as the hookers touched their own naked bodies.

This is pretty harsh. Let's round up some American Taliban and force them to take communion. Brutal.

Jamal defiantly refused treats... He added: "Some people were given pizzas, ice-cream and McDonald's... they were given Mills and Boon-style romance novels in Arabic, which they refused to read.

That people who supported the Taliban should even get their whining printed in the paper is disgusting.
posted by ewkpates at 10:42 AM on March 12, 2004


As for newsfilter, I haven't seen this in the news elsewhere. Just a story on their release, no details of anything they have to say.

And I've been dying to hear what it's actually like in there. And what type of people were arrested. If a 90 year old man and several young teenagers are threats to our national security, we're in a lot of trouble.
posted by skechada at 10:55 AM on March 12, 2004


You have proof they supported the Taliban? Please send it to the UK police immediately, as 2 years in Gitmo didn't tutn up any evidence. Of course the Taliban are evil. Of course they acted without the rule of law and denied human rights. So that means that we should, does it?
posted by Pericles at 10:56 AM on March 12, 2004


kabalm makes a good point, read his comment and think about it...

all of you who have no sympathy for people locked up and never charged with a crime-- what goes around comes around. see you on the flipside. a lot of his wildest stories sound like third-hand stuff, but then again a lot of the most soul-crushing stuff sounds like par for the course when you're trying to break people pyschologically. again, those of you with no sympathy have no respect for law, and you had better be careful with that kind of attitude.
posted by chaz at 10:59 AM on March 12, 2004


Crimes in a war zone are not the same as crimes in civil society. Just because they aren't being tried doesn't mean that they are innocent... and don't presumed until guilty me either...

If you get yourself a gun and hang around the wrong people in a war zone, you're lucky if you don't get shot.

Respect for the law ENDS in a state of war, and the Taliban had no social contract.
posted by ewkpates at 11:05 AM on March 12, 2004


a3matrix, would you mind joining me over here in metatalk for a second, I have a question....
posted by anastasiav at 11:07 AM on March 12, 2004


if what was done to them (and is still being done) was done to me, I would actually become a terrorist upon my release just to get revenge. I emailed McCain, and Shumer, and hopefully when Kerry's president, law will prevail over this horrendous and illegal stuff.
posted by amberglow at 11:13 AM on March 12, 2004


Not to derail, but the guy in the first link looks like Hawk. How'd they take him alive?


posted by Mayor Curley at 11:25 AM on March 12, 2004


Another account from Abdurahman Khadr, a Canadian who says he was CIA agent pretending to be a prisoner. This made quite a splash on Canadian television but I haven't seen much else about him outside the Canadian press.

"But only 10 per cent of the people there are really dangerous. The rest are people that don't have anything to do with it, don't even understand what they're doing here."

His opinion seems to be that a lot of the people are there because of cash rewards the U.S. was handing out, so all sorts of people were turned and called members of the Taliban just for cash.
posted by bobo123 at 11:34 AM on March 12, 2004


Not to derail, but the guy in the first link looks like Hawk. How'd they take him alive?

No, that's Benjamin Sisko, commader of Deep Space Nine--which then makes the proprietors of Camp X-Ray the Jem Haddar. Makes sense...
posted by y2karl at 11:40 AM on March 12, 2004


OK, OK, the Jem'Hadar--Oh, great, that means we're in the Dominion...
posted by y2karl at 11:47 AM on March 12, 2004


Horrifying pharmaceuticals such as endorphin blockers, addictives, hallucinogenic, and dozens of psychoactive drugs in combination with hypnosis and other mental conditioning. Direct surgery to the brain....

Well, as long as they're doing it to known terrorists, I'm behind it... or, at least those they suspect might be terrorists... or those who may have the capacity to someday become terrorists. Oh, and goat herders who got caught up in a sweep for terrorists. Teach them goat hearders whose god is stronger, fuckin' a.
posted by squirrel at 12:22 PM on March 12, 2004


I'm only passingly familiar with The Mirror, but its not exactly considered top-notch impartial journalism is it? Any Brits wish to speak to source?

Such excerpts as:

"We had porridge and something they called 'like-milk', which was disgusting and 'like-tea' and a piece of fruit. The fruit had been frozen and pounded with chemicals. An apple might look red but there was waxy white stuff all over it and inside it would be black and brown.

calls the issue into question. Apples from my grocery often have "waxy white stuff all over it" (though I have the liberty to discard the bruised ones) and while I use dehydrated milk only for cooking I do enjoy the occasional spot of Nestea.

Also interesting is the fact that many of the horrors Jamal describes were never witnessed by him -- not to say that they didn't happen but without source credibility it becomes way easy to chalk this up to urban legend: "oh, this one guy, he went in and this stripper smeared him with menustral blood." None of this happened to Jamal and so while if true its appalling, its not entirely convincing.

Some of what is described would also apply to prisons in general. No doubt this is a hell-hole, but swift-response teams, a lack of privacy and use of restraints with difficult prisoners are fairly common. Prison != happy which is why we try to avoid such things.

One would hope that the people put under these conditions were kept for cause but unfortunately the US is not much in a position to give an itemized list of who is there and for what reasons.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:30 PM on March 12, 2004


unfortunately the US is not much in a position to give an itemized list of who is there and for what reasons.

i'm curious. why not?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:02 PM on March 12, 2004


So ... a Brit who is a convert to Islam packs his bags and goes to Pakistan in October 2001, and he ends up backpacking in Afghanistan a few weeks later.

And I'm supposed to believe it was all an innocent mistake? How do you backpack into a combat zone by mistake?

The point being, the guy doesn't seem to have a lot of credibility. I wonder if he's telling the truth about why he was in Afghanistan, and I wonder if he's telling the truth about what happened in Guantanamo.

AFAIK, the Red Cross does have access to Guantanamo, and its policy is to bring up concerns directly with government authorities, not air them to the press.
posted by Holden at 1:05 PM on March 12, 2004


"His opinion seems to be that a lot of the people are there because of cash rewards the U.S. was handing out"
This cannot be stressed enough, because morons like a3matrix figure if they are there, they must be terrorists.
A bounty was paid to warlords who went out and rounded up farm boys and turned them over to US forces with no evidence save the warlord's (ahem) good word. Hey, if you can't trust a warlord who fights on whatever side is paying the most, who can you trust?
posted by 2sheets at 1:09 PM on March 12, 2004


"Respect for the law ENDS in a state of war..."

The criminal tribunal for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, say, was set up to deal with exactly this misconception...

I'm willing to bet that if a US soldier came out of a similar concentration camp with the exact same horror stories the indignation (and the calls for swift retribution) would be coming angrily from those that currently don't see much in this / don't believe it...
posted by talos at 1:24 PM on March 12, 2004


I don't believe much of what this asshat has to say, either.
Although if the female-in-front-of-the-Muslims trick is true, kudos to the soldier who came up with the idea.

If they're so maltreated, why then has the average Gitmo inmate GAINED 20kg of weight?

Go contemplate your navels somewhere else, you dumb hippies. We've got a war to fight. Just ask our allies in Spain.
posted by darren at 1:50 PM on March 12, 2004


Well, that certainly elevated the intellectual discourse here!
posted by y2karl at 1:55 PM on March 12, 2004


I'm only passingly familiar with The Mirror, but its not exactly considered top-notch impartial journalism is it? Any Brits wish to speak to source?

Mid-market tabloid. Sensationalist, and known to troll but not generally prone to completely making stuff up - would probably publish something very partisan without too many qualms though. It's basically the soft-left version of The Sun.

A reasonably well-known member of Metafilter used to (or possibly still does) work as a copy-editor there, if I read between the lines correctly when he / she first appeared on Metafilter. Not sure if they would like that widely known though, so I won't completely bust their cover.
posted by bifter at 2:16 PM on March 12, 2004


We've got a war to fight.

and locking up people in gitmo and iraq who have nothing to do what so ever with terrorism except they look like terrorists - is doing a lot to help us keep down the recruitment of new terrorists...

asshat

the pot calls the kettle black. - i suggest you read jessica stern's book "terror in the name of god" about the root causes of terrorism.

then come back to the discussion.
posted by specialk420 at 2:20 PM on March 12, 2004


I don't believe much of what this asshat has to say, either.

.. because goddammit, he's the wrong color, he's the wrong religions, and he was in afghanistan during the "war."

great logic. the US is only hurting its own (overt) cause by acting so despicably.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:34 PM on March 12, 2004


So ... a Brit who is a convert to Islam packs his bags and goes to Pakistan in October 2001, and he ends up backpacking in Afghanistan a few weeks later.

Well, shit. That's all I need to hear. Two years in a kennel without a lawyer or araignment works for me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:41 PM on March 12, 2004


Although if the female-in-front-of-the-Muslims trick is true, kudos to the soldier who came up with the idea.
Do you give kudos to all people who are cruel, or just the ones wearing US Army Fatigues?

If they're so maltreated, why then has the average Gitmo inmate GAINED 20kg of weight?
Might have something to do with lack of exercise and a diet that they didn't grow up with.

I'm quite frankly shocked by your lack of compassion.
posted by kahboom at 3:09 PM on March 12, 2004


Why are so many Americans (MeFi-ites) afraid to look in the mirror?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:15 PM on March 12, 2004


Indeed, it's more than a little distressing to me, this attitude that is put on display here.

There's a perverse sort of circular logic at work. America does only good things, because good things are the only things America does. Because America does it, it is a good thing.

This inability to do simple self-examination is harmful and, ultimately, dangerous.

To add salt to this wound, many of the rah-rah cheerleaders will, when confronted with absolute proof that America can do bad things, resort to comparing their nation to the worst nations on earth: "Well at least we're not doing it as much as Sudan/China/North Korea!"

Again, this inability to face facts and demand better of itself is harmful and dangerous.

And not harmful and dangerous to the rest of the world, so much as it is harmful and dangerous to itself. The evil will inevitably turn inward: the actions taken against foreigners will ultimately become actions taken against citizens.

The real bummer is that there is no apparent solution. You can't make a blind rah-rah-er open his eyes and see that there is a problem. The capability for denial is far stronger than the power of proof.

It really sucks to see this happen.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:26 PM on March 12, 2004


Hotel California.

Other accommodations.

Torture.

asphyxiation.

It's all in your mind. (1997)

Let's get physical.
posted by kablam at 3:37 PM on March 12, 2004


Why do so many people think petty bitching and sniping on an obscure website is going to change the administration's policies? If you're so concerned, STFU, write yer congresscritter, paint a sign, and go stand on a street corner w/ leaflets-- in short, do something that might make difference. Clue: That doesn't include preaching to the choir.
posted by keswick at 3:41 PM on March 12, 2004


Jamal al-Harith should go work at the Times. He's got quite an active imagination.
posted by Beholder at 3:43 PM on March 12, 2004


keswick, a discussion of the issue on Metafilter is how I got informed of this story in the first place. I appreciate having a space to interact with others as they deal with the story. What would our ceasing to share information and opinion gain for you or anyone else?
posted by squirrel at 5:16 PM on March 12, 2004


Go contemplate your navels somewhere else, you dumb hippies. We've got a war to fight.

Sir! Yes! Sir!

Listen to your armchair general when he gives an order, people!
posted by riviera at 6:57 PM on March 12, 2004


There's a calmer article on Jamal's story here. He actually travelled to Perth, Australia, while in a relationship with the daughter of a former Australian Senator! The article says he was arrested by the Taliban on suspicion of spying and jailed. After the Americans found him in a jail in Kandahar he rang his parents in England telling them he'd been rescued by the Americans. Then they shipped him off to Guantanamo! The fact that so many of the detainees seem to so obviously not be terrorists makes me wonder about ulterior motives - sending a message, an appearance of making progress, arresting perps.
posted by Onanist at 8:26 PM on March 12, 2004


Last word here... but looking in the mirror has many different outcomes... the US is in a position to end the horror that is North Korea and does nothing... the US has ended the horror that was Iraq... the US gets involved for the wrong reasons and doesn't fully disclose its motives... the US has contradictory policies over time and is often at the mercy of administrations with few ethical/moral restraints...

Afghanistan is liberated. Not Utopia, but no longer hell.
posted by ewkpates at 9:40 AM on March 15, 2004


What makes you think Afghanistan isn't hell?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:49 AM on March 15, 2004


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