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June 11, 2006 4:13 AM   Subscribe

Three of the clever, committed terrorists in Guantanamo Bay committed an act of war against the United States on Saturday morning.
posted by Malor (240 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
This may be the first time I have ever actively been nauseated by spin. May they rest in peace... and may the rest of the prisoners be granted their fundamental human right to a speedy, fair trial.
posted by Malor at 4:15 AM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Asymmetrical warfare" - what a horrible phrase in this context. I can see what it might mean used elsewhere, but its use here is just nasty.
posted by greycap at 4:20 AM on June 11, 2006


The Onion?
posted by popcassady at 4:21 AM on June 11, 2006


Dear Major-General Geoffrey Miller,

Go directly to hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.
posted by EarBucket at 4:27 AM on June 11, 2006


Again, the arrogance astounds me. When does it stop being all about you, America? Or is Rear Adm Harris a lone gun idiot?
posted by goo at 4:28 AM on June 11, 2006


I always wondered what "Rear" Admiral meant.
posted by RavinDave at 4:31 AM on June 11, 2006


I thought that to, popcassady.

Unfortunatley life tends to turn into an Onion article all to reguarly these days...
posted by Meccabilly at 4:32 AM on June 11, 2006


I don't think that means what he thinks it means.
posted by tippiedog at 4:36 AM on June 11, 2006


Or is Rear Adm Harris a lone gun idiot?
Only if the officially-sanctioned "suicide-as-act-of-war" talking point doesn't gain necessary traction with the public.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:40 AM on June 11, 2006


I'm deeply saddened by how often I find my own government obscene.
posted by mmahaffie at 4:42 AM on June 11, 2006


.

will anyone swallow that spin?
posted by dabitch at 4:47 AM on June 11, 2006


If this fucking cunt thinks that killing yourself is an act of war, then what is locking up hundreds of people for no good reason? A peace treaty?
posted by tapeguy at 4:57 AM on June 11, 2006


Stop hitting yourself!
posted by spazzm at 5:04 AM on June 11, 2006


I like how Bush is quoted at the end saying he "would like to end Guantanamo."

Hmm... He must know someone who could . . . I mean, there has just got to be a way to. . . Think, George! Think!
posted by veggieboy at 5:04 AM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


then what is locking up hundreds of people for no good reason? A peace treaty?

I was pretty amazed at the comment also. The fact that they didn't kill anyone is why I had trouble with the word. But then I got to thinking... While warfare might be a strong word for it, it clearly was planned...the same way a suicide bombing is planned. The fact that three did it at the same time may suggest they were attempting to make the US uncomfortable about the detentions...with absolute desparation mixed in. Three seems like a significant # to coordinate and if more happen, things could get interesting.

In any case the Admiral's quote ("I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of warfare waged against us") is definitely manipulation by over-simplification.
posted by Pacheco at 5:04 AM on June 11, 2006


i wish our top brass would commit acts of war...
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 5:06 AM on June 11, 2006 [2 favorites]


The fact that three did it at the same time may suggest they were attempting to make the US uncomfortable about the detentions...

Well of course they were. But "making the US uncomfortable" about something can now be likened to an act of war? Fuck. Fuck that happy horse shit.
posted by Jimbob at 5:09 AM on June 11, 2006


"I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of warfare waged against us"

He continued: "We would like every other enemy of America to wage war in this exact same way."
posted by Meccabilly at 5:28 AM on June 11, 2006


Bill O'Reilly Faults Human Rights Groups for Gitmo Suicides
posted by Tenuki at 5:32 AM on June 11, 2006


I read this this morning. Disgusting. Absolutely fucking disgusting.

From the BBC's associated Have Your Say section (which regularly brings freaks, idiots and the stultifyingly ill-informed out of the woordwork):

Bush is right to keep the guantanamo terorist. Mr.bush is a hero of the world and a freedom fighter.

As delusional as that is, I agree with the last part, 100%: Bush is a freedom fighter. He fights freedom, in all its forms.
posted by nylon at 5:35 AM on June 11, 2006


Them Arabs sure is sneaky. Always landing new blows in their cruel persecution of Guantanamo Bay.

No wait, that's not strong enough. You could rather say their vicious, unofficial, electrically-accompanied all-day beating and waterboarding of Guantanamo Bay.

Yep, those damn commited, asymmetrical fighters are really setting the proverbial attack dogs on a naked, blindfolded Gitmo. With electrodes. What's more, they won't even bring that Bay to trial. The only good side to this whole thing is that George Bush is (thank God) showing "serious concern". I just don't know what we'd do without that serious concern of his.

And so on.

(Reposted from elsewhere)
posted by Drexen at 5:39 AM on June 11, 2006


What is confusing is why they'd want to get out of that country club so badly. I've heard they're treated very well.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:52 AM on June 11, 2006



If it's perfectly legal and there's nothing going wrong there - well, why don't they have it in America?
Harriet Harman
UK Constitutional Affairs Minister


ever heard the name Jose Padilla Harriet? All this will be achieved in good time, and we Americans will sit back and watch it all like it's happening on a bad tv movie...unless of course American Idol is on that night.
posted by any major dude at 6:02 AM on June 11, 2006


Politically conscious folks please help: when I am writing to my senators and congressman to ask them to condemn this statement and Rear Admiral Harris how should I phrase it? Should I ask them to censure him, call for a court marshall, resignation, or what? I know it won't make a damn bit of difference -Levin can no longer be trusted, Stabenow has not proven to be sincerely interested in any issue outside of trash importing, and McCotter will publicly applaud this disgusting statement-, but I'd like to get it right.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:04 AM on June 11, 2006


"If it's perfectly legal and there's nothing going wrong there - well, why don't they have it in America and then the American court system can supervise it?"

This is basically what I and everyone I know has been asking since the PATRIOT act passed. What we've done is taken two types of crimes- terrorism and child pornography- and decided that regular laws aren't "good enough" for them. 'It's okay to treat people as guilty until proven innocent, if maybe it will help prevent terrorism.' Of course, even if that exact statement were run as a poll on the news (FOX or otherwise), I'll bet 60% of viewers would agree.

On preview: I'd also like the info PinkStainlessTail is asking for.
posted by ®@ at 6:09 AM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Don't bother writing, unless you're emailing--ever since the anthrax scare, all physical mail goes through a six to eight week decontamination pile before it even reaches the office. Even if it's not going to do any good, on an issue like this, you want timeliness. Email or phone.
posted by EarBucket at 6:14 AM on June 11, 2006


i've got to admit ... my first thought was that malor was going over the top with the sarcasm ... then i read the article

orwell would be so proud
posted by pyramid termite at 6:23 AM on June 11, 2006


I wish Castro had the ability to just kick them off the island. This is just very sad to me.

Anyone know what the suicide rate is in U.S. prisons?
posted by lslelel at 6:28 AM on June 11, 2006


Here's what I sent to all three, through e-mail on EarBucket's advice:

Suicides at Guantanamo and Rear Admiral Harris

Dear [senator/rep's name]:

On Saturday, June 11th, three of the detainees at the Guantanamo facility committed suicide by hanging themselves. As part of an official statement, Rear Admiral Harry Harris declared the deaths an "act of asymmetrical warfare" against the United States.

I am writing to ask that you publicly condemn the Admiral's unthinking statement as not representative of how the United states views these tragic events, that the Admiral be removed from his position of authority at Guantanamo, and that you push for continued investigation of conditions at the facility.

Thank you for your time.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:43 AM on June 11, 2006


Pacheco: ...I got to thinking... While warfare might be a strong word for it, it clearly was planned...the same way a suicide bombing is planned.

Or the same way lunch is planned. The same way a game of cards is planned.

Does planning then constitute an act of war?
posted by Western Infidels at 7:00 AM on June 11, 2006


Meh, just three less mouths to feed. Perhaps if we labelled the suicides as 'successful psyops missions' more would participate. Given the hero worship that muslims impress upon suicide, we should soon see them dropping like flies and saving the US taxpayer the cost of a bullet.

Well done, laddies, well done.
posted by mischief at 7:05 AM on June 11, 2006


Pink: I usually end my emails with "please tell me how you intend to proceed on this issue." Not that I've ever gotten a reply.
posted by ®@ at 7:07 AM on June 11, 2006


.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:07 AM on June 11, 2006


You first mischief, I'll be your cheering section.
posted by substrate at 7:14 AM on June 11, 2006


I'm not muslim, substrate, I'm an anarchist. ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:19 AM on June 11, 2006


I'll do the same, PST, as we've got about the same reps...
posted by klangklangston at 7:22 AM on June 11, 2006


I suspect that living conditions for the personnel running a secretive military prison are probably very conducive to the development of a cultlike paranoid group-think. They're isolated from the outside world, they're surrounded by "the enemy," both "terrorists" and communists, they're subject to strict discipline and are given the same orders, tasks, and duties, along with the point-of-view implicit in them, again and again.

I'm not arguing that Harris is blameless, but I would argue that this is one reason why Guantanamo-style secret detention is a bad idea. Under such conditions, one's moral compass can get screwy. I hate to think what's going on at other, more-secret detention centers.
posted by Western Infidels at 7:23 AM on June 11, 2006


this just in from BBC Associated: A top US official has described the suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a "good PR move to draw attention". [Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy] Colleen Graffy told the BBC the deaths were part of a strategy and "a tactic to further the jihadi cause", but taking their own lives was unnecessary.

dabitch, it sounds like they're swallowing their own spin nicely.

.
posted by killy willy at 7:26 AM on June 11, 2006


I believe that it is high time that Rear Admiral Harry Harris be given a time out... in the looney bin.

It would seem that some high ranking members of the officer corps are of a mind set that all who stand against them could only be an "enemy".

Human minds pushed beyond the brink of desperation do not act in a logical manner. If these men were true to their faith, then they knew what taking their own lives meant, spiritually.

And these buffoons are still slapping each other on the back for tagging al-Zarqawi... though I shed no tears for the man, his death will not instantly end the sectarian warfare, and looming civil war.

Every day is more interesting than the day before... I need more coffee.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 7:34 AM on June 11, 2006


By whining about it, you're allowing yourselves to deliver the payload of their psychological bomb. You're being manipulated.

But I suppose being successfully manipulated by suspected terrorists is morally superior to being manipulated by your chosen government, so do carry on.
posted by gregor-e at 7:34 AM on June 11, 2006


By whining about it, you're allowing yourselves to deliver the payload of their psychological bomb.

And by shutting up about it, we're being nice, well behaved citizens, just like Uncle Sam likes to see. What's your point? There's some kind of moral power in being silent in the face of criminal stupidity?
posted by Jimbob at 7:43 AM on June 11, 2006


the Rear Adm. sure makes it sound like those suicides conspired to ruin his day with their unauthorized attempts at reclaiming human dignity. So sorry the force-feeding failed to make them compliant, Adm.
posted by creeptick at 7:46 AM on June 11, 2006


deliver the payload of their psychological bomb

Cool! That sounds like a lyric from that Simpsons boy band episode. Yvan eht Nioj, baby.
posted by psmealey at 7:46 AM on June 11, 2006


(vomits copiously)
posted by Bletch at 7:50 AM on June 11, 2006


Bill Hicks's description of the military as "hired thugs" has never rung so true.

It feels somehow tasteless when Guantanamo Bay is referred to as 'Gitmo' (as mentioned in the conservative voice piece that Tenuki linked to above. To me, at least, it feels like it's trivialising the whole thing. Maybe they don't want people to make a mental reference to any other bay-related incidents, or maybe I'm just utterly wrong; either way, it just sounds wrong.

.
posted by TheDonF at 7:52 AM on June 11, 2006


But I suppose being successfully manipulated by suspected terrorists is morally superior to being manipulated by your chosen government, so do carry on.

What?

Do i have a choice to not be manipulated by anyone? No?

Well then I decide to be manipulated by Ben and Jerrys - icecream is good isn't it....
posted by Meccabilly at 7:52 AM on June 11, 2006


The current administration of the United States is an enemy of Liberal Democracy, no more and no less than the blinded zealots they are fighting.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:00 AM on June 11, 2006


"We are the Judean People's Front crack suicide squad! Suicide squad, attack!"

In February the National Journal reviewed the cases of the Guantanomo detainees, who are mostly innocent people and not terrorists. 86% of the detainees [PDF] were captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and "were handed over to the United States at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:03 AM on June 11, 2006 [2 favorites]


Tapeguy -- If this fucking cunt thinks that killing yourself is an act of war, then what is locking up hundreds of people for no good reason? A peace treaty?

Hey there, dude. Do you think that you could comment on the post without referring to him as a CUNT. You're outraged at the treatment of the detainees but it's just fine to denigrate women. Would you think it was OK to refers to folks as fags, the N word, or a million other things. I doubt it. So STFU.


...and as for the original post, how in the world can you deal with people (the military chiefs in the article) who have totally lost touch with reality? The world has been turned upside down by Bush.
posted by bim at 8:04 AM on June 11, 2006


it's just fine to denigrate women.

Take it easy, bim. Not everyone uses that word in the same narrow way that you took it to mean. In fact, in every other Angolphone country besides the US, it has a much broader (and much less harshly specific and misogynistic) meaning.
posted by psmealey at 8:12 AM on June 11, 2006


"I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."

Jesusfuckingchrist, to think that people swallow their own doublethink to the point where they actually vomit up these kind of partially-digested sentiments.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:15 AM on June 11, 2006


After these deaths and what this american asshole just sayed, I don't think americans are any more welcome in arab countries, I think the rare people like me that tried to be as fair as possible have no more choice against american savagery

Better stay home americans, beter stay home
posted by zouhair at 8:27 AM on June 11, 2006


Just recevied a call from of friend of mine telling if I'm still happy about my "american friends"

what should I answer him?
posted by zouhair at 8:30 AM on June 11, 2006


Did you really? Someone called you to gloat over the fact that you know Americans, just because he saw a news story? How deranged is that?
posted by smackfu at 8:36 AM on June 11, 2006


You see, bim, we are cunts so we're allowed to use the word.
posted by Jimbob at 8:44 AM on June 11, 2006


I now know the US is in serious trouble. We can't even keep the prisoners in our most secure facility from waging warfare against us.

Although far less outrageous, I do not agree with this statement either:

the three dead men were "heroes for those of us who believe in basic American values of justice, fairness and democracy".

I believe in the values of justice, fairness and democracy, but I don't necessarily consider these men heroes.
posted by batou_ at 8:44 AM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


zouhair: tell him that you changed your mind, that you were wrong, that you wanted to assign the best of motives to the Land of the Free, but now you realize that a cabal of crazy people are running the United States and that you withdraw your qualified support and understanding of their actions.

That is, if you agree with that statement! Because really, we are past any possible excuses, aren't we?
posted by Rumple at 8:47 AM on June 11, 2006


zouhair, tell your friend a lot of americans hate bush and this insane administration. he's not my president - i didn't vote for him and they do not stand for anything i believe in.
posted by gt2 at 8:51 AM on June 11, 2006


Were the Buddhist nuns who set themselves on fire to protest the Viet Nam war guilty of waging an asymmetric warfare against the U.S.?
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:52 AM on June 11, 2006


Nelson: Stop endangering yourself! Stop endangering yourself!
posted by ao4047 at 8:52 AM on June 11, 2006


But I suppose being successfully manipulated by suspected terrorists is morally superior to being manipulated by your chosen government, so do carry on.
posted by gregor-e


With all due respect, that's one of the dumbest things I've heard all day. But the day is young, so do carry on.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:55 AM on June 11, 2006


i don't understand calling it an act of war...?
posted by virga at 8:56 AM on June 11, 2006


there are no words for this.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:59 AM on June 11, 2006


god, i was so hoping that the fpp represented malor's own spin on it and that it was not even close to the actual story.

at this point, i don't think anyone in the bush regime is capable of even locating the word "empathy" in the dictionary, let alone feeling it.

in a lot of the martial arts classes i've taken, the teachers stressed the idea that if you actually end up in a fight, you lose, no matter the actual outcome of the conflict. it's amazing that the bush regime and its supporters are completely unaware of this when it's something seven-year olds in a tae kwan do class learn.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:59 AM on June 11, 2006


It might also be worth emailing these people, if you feel like it. It feels futile, I know, but they're never going to hear us if we don't make some noise.
posted by EarBucket at 9:00 AM on June 11, 2006


I just emailed my reps... this site is great for contacting your local congressmen.
posted by themadjuggler at 9:05 AM on June 11, 2006


Wow, somewhine attach a turbine to that spin! If we could keep this up we'd have free power for decades!

...and all go to hell.
posted by Artw at 9:09 AM on June 11, 2006


Just recevied a call from of friend of mine telling if I'm still happy about my "american friends"

what should I answer him?


Well, if you are still happy about them, you should answer that you are. If you are not, you should reply that you are not. This seems fairly simple to me. Is there some reason you were thinking of lying to him about your feelings?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:11 AM on June 11, 2006


Just occurred to me--Senator McCain might be worth writing, too. He at least pretends to care about detainee treatment, and he's got the defense credibility to speak out on something like this. Couldn't hurt.
posted by EarBucket at 9:11 AM on June 11, 2006


Also, regarding sending emails to politicians: Letters may be more effective. Email is easy to delete and a many politicains simply aren't technologically literate enough to operate a computer anyway.
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on June 11, 2006


Jimbob said -- You see, bim, we are cunts so we're allowed to use the word.

I agree. You're a pussy, Jimbob. No way around it!
posted by bim at 9:12 AM on June 11, 2006


You're a pussy, Jimbob. No way around it!

No way at all. It cannot be circumvented, such is its girth. This is the monolith of pussies, the bottleneck of pussies.

Jimbob is border patrol in genital form. He is the Rocky Mountains, writ vaginal.
posted by cortex at 9:15 AM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pacheco: The fact that they didn't kill anyone is why I had trouble with the word. But then I got to thinking... While warfare might be a strong word for it, it clearly was planned...the same way a suicide bombing is planned. The fact that three did it at the same time may suggest they were attempting to make the US uncomfortable about the detentions...with absolute desperation mixed in. Three seems like a significant # to coordinate and if more happen, things could get interesting.


Pacheco, remember that time a few years ago when several hundred thousand uppity Negroes committed warfare against the United States RIGHT IN WASHINGTON DC, our Nation's Capitol? I couldn't believe the nerve of them. Oh sure, warfare might be a strong word for the Million Man March, but it clearly was planned . . . the same way a suicide bombing is planned. The fact that several hundred thousand did it at the same time may suggest they were attempting to make the US uncomfortable about its treatment of minorities, including in prison . . . with absolute desperation mixed in. A million seems like a significant # to coordinate and if more happen, things could get interesting.
posted by The Bellman at 9:15 AM on June 11, 2006


Also, I come in a variety of colours.
posted by Jimbob at 9:15 AM on June 11, 2006


LOL LOL LOL. That's a hoot, cortex!
posted by bim at 9:16 AM on June 11, 2006


He's the epitome of pussyhood. God bless, Jimbob.
posted by bim at 9:17 AM on June 11, 2006


Yeah, a physical letter has more of an impact--handwritten letters are best. Like I said, though, the delivery time for physical mail is so long these days that they're not too good for hot-button outrage topics like this. By the time your Congressperson gets your letter, it'll be the middle of August, and they simply won't be interested any more. Phone calls are best for this issue, I think, but if you're not going to do that, email's better than nothing.
posted by EarBucket at 9:18 AM on June 11, 2006


Lucky Ducky strikes again!
posted by Flashman at 9:29 AM on June 11, 2006


virga: "i don't understand calling it an act of war...?"


See, the basic reasoning (I'm assuming) is this: America is finding itself in more and more 'asymmetric wars' - where the USA has many big, shiny balls cocks war machines whereas their enemies only have basic small-arms.

Or in this case, the guards have tasers, chains, weapons (possibly loaded with non-lethal rounds), blunt objects, attack dogs, electrical equipment, and so on ad infinitum, whereas the prisoners have.. orange jump-suits. If they're lucky.

Therefore, The Enemies must rely on Sneakiness. Sneaky Tactics include traps and ambushes, skirmishes, guerilla warfare, propaganda/persuasion/intimidation, and having the support of the local population. If none of these are available/applicable (as in the case of these prisoners) then these latter techniques (according to this guy's horribly twisted logic) can even be stretched to include killing yourself in order to gain sympathy for your cause by becoming a martyr.

His statement assumes some things, which he may or may not actually believe:
-There is no particularly good reason for the prisoners to kill themselves because Guantanamo is a lovely, happy place filled with puppies and rainbows.
-They do not fear death, because Really, Can You Even Call These Swarthy Ragheads Human?
-If anything, they desire death because they all believe their moon-god will send them to heaven with 72 virgins, &c &c.
-The prisoners know that their suicides will cause a pesky Media Uproar, "aiding the jihadi cause".

In other words, he's just as brainwashed by the whole ridiculous semantics of Terror as any terrorist.
posted by Drexen at 9:32 AM on June 11, 2006


I'll bet one of those dasterdly chicken farmers was behind this. Chicken farmers are experts at asymmetrical warfare. Just look at bird flu!
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on June 11, 2006


The Bellman:
That's quite a leap to equate the detainees at Guantanamo (these guys may have been plucked straight from an Al-Qaeda base--we don't really know yet) with people fighting for their civil rights.
posted by Pacheco at 9:36 AM on June 11, 2006


Zouhair, I hate the stereotypical American as well, however, I realize that there are a lot of us (I'm an American) who AREN'T bloodthirsty mongrels out to wage war on the whole world. In fact, if you need evidence, look at Metafilter... Granted, there are probably some others on here who, like yourself, aren't from the U.S., but I'm guessing the majority of outrage in this post is from posters who are U.S. citizens.

Let them know that there are plenty of people out here working to change things... It maybe futile. But we're trying. Just as there are people in Muslim countries who are working against autocratic regimes, and it seems like it's an uphill battle for them.

I'm torn, because I hate America "as it is" and believe the American ideal is a bunch of propaganda bullshit, but it's still something to aspire towards. That said, I hope you're friends are a bit on the liberal side, and not on the jihadist side, cuz if that's the case, then I guess the American Ideal is something that is evil...

Many of us here have asked quite vocally "when is enough, enough"? And we mean it in the most serious way... Let your friends know that.
posted by symbioid at 9:39 AM on June 11, 2006


Pacheco: "The Bellman:
That's quite a leap to equate the detainees at Guantanamo (these guys may have been plucked straight from an Al-Qaeda base--we don't really know yet) with people fighting for their civil rights.
"

Mm -- clearly they're undeserving of civil rights because they haven't proved their innocence yet. Right? In the many court appearences you guys keep granting them.
posted by Drexen at 9:40 AM on June 11, 2006


Well, that's pretty fucked up right there.
posted by delmoi at 9:41 AM on June 11, 2006


Also, if your friends don't want Americans to stereotype the Middle East/N. Africa (It appears you're from Morocco), wouldn't it be appropriate for them not to stereotype us, or at least to TRY not to?

In the same way I have defended Islam and Middle Easterners from my mothers Fundamentalist Christian beliefs that all are suicide bombers who hate Christians and Jews...

My issue is trying not to stereotyp Americans, myself. Maybe your friends and I can agree to work on that, eh?
posted by symbioid at 9:43 AM on June 11, 2006


I'm just a guy at my computer, I'm not in control of any court appearances.
posted by Pacheco at 9:45 AM on June 11, 2006


these guys may have been plucked straight from an Al-Qaeda base--we don't really know yet

Do you mean these guys in particular?

Because if you mean Guantanamo detainees in general, we already do know for a fact that a large percentage of them are dirt farming peasants, illegally imprisoned, not trained terrorists.

And if you do mean these particular men may have been al-Qaeda agents (bin Laden's number two man, each of them, I'll bet), then do you mean to say that the Rear Admiral's logic is correct? That if a known al Qaeda agent commits suicide in inescapable custody that this can be construed as an act of aggression against his imprisoners?
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:46 AM on June 11, 2006


Let's have a look at things from the other side for a moment.

We're at war against terrorists. Some of the folks at gitmo are terrorists or aspiring terrorists. Let us suppose that these three were terrorists or aspiring terrorists--only the administration knows for sure, but we'll take them at their word. It is self-evident that public relations is a vital part of waging war, even if none of the enemy is killed in its execution. The US is certainly spending a lot of effort on PR in connection with the war movement, even if they do it ham-fistedly as in this instance. Now, let us define "acts of war" as actions taken by the enemy that help their side and hurt ours.

What these guys did helped their cause and hurt ours by further turning public support in the US against the war effort. It enraged many Arabs and probably made terrorist recruiters' jobs easier.

So a couple of terrorists embarrased the US in a successful bit of PR, futhering their campaign and setting ours back. Therefore, terrorists committed an act of war. The fact that they themselves died is irrelevant, as they have martyred themselves for their cause (nobody would say 9/11 wasn't an act of war just because the perps died in the act, after all). Now a lot of folks are angry at the administration, furthering the terrorists' goals.
posted by jewzilla at 9:49 AM on June 11, 2006


Why not? I don't know that most in gitmo are "dirt farming peasants," but if the three were Al Qaeda operatives, then they've probably resigned themselves to life in prison (why would a counry release apprehended terrorists?) and decided to take one last crack at the American devil.
posted by Pacheco at 9:50 AM on June 11, 2006


I just received this e-mail from Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Denbeaux, who along with his son Joshua, is representing some of the detainees at Guantanamo, inlcuding one of those on a hunger strike. ...

And that Commander at Guantanamo should kill himself now--that'll show them, no? One act of war begets another--isn't that their thinking? (he's an unbelievable fuckwit, and sadly typical of everyone in this administration and military leadership)
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on June 11, 2006


they say most people detained there were turned in for money or by people who already had grudges against them--we never asked for proof from anyone, and paid anyone who turned people in.
posted by amberglow at 9:52 AM on June 11, 2006


I see a schism here. Some appear to believe that the suicides were committed in response to deplorable mistreatment - an almost rational response to an inhumanly depressing environment. Others appear to believe that these suicides were a calculated tactical ploy.

If the suicides are a result of the former, then one would expect that their environment is extremely inhumane, on the order of Soviet gulag-style treatment. If this were the case, then expressing one's discontent as a result of these suicides is certainly appropriate.

If the suicides were a planned tactic, calculated to fan the flames of discontent, then by expressing discontent, one is carrying out the wishes of the planners - one has become their willing tool.

So it all boils down to what one believes the intent of the suicides was. Were they reacting to inhumane treatment? Or does it appear this was a planned action, calculated to produce a psychological effect? And, if the latter, one needs to decide whether they wish to respond to this manipulation and also decide whether the ends they seek justify their means.

By responding to these suicides, one provides positive feedback for this tactic. Therefore, one is at least partly culpable when the next set of suicides occurs. It seems to me that if one wishes to take action sympathetic to the detainees, one should protest the incarceration at Guantanamo separately, rather than in response to these suicides.

Unless, of course, one thinks more suicides would be a good idea, in which case the optimal strategy is to raise as much stink as possible in reaction to them, especially in the media, but not so much as to actually cause the detainees to be released.
posted by gregor-e at 9:52 AM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla: That logic is ridiculous. You should be embarrassed. All you've done is define the elements of the situation in an arbitrary way that amounts to sequentially laying out exactly what the admiral said in different words. There is nothing bus supposition and re-definition in there.

You know what would be a real blow to the administration? If every terrorist in the world committed quietly hanged themselves. Think of the terrible PR!
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:55 AM on June 11, 2006


Jewzilla: You've characterized everyone who openly criticizes the US and receives attention as committing an act of war against it. That's why what the RA said was so dumb.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:55 AM on June 11, 2006


So it all boils down to what one believes the intent of the suicides was.

Know one reading this thread can say what their intent was. Its pointless to even talk about it. Anyhow, the only evidence that suggests that this was more than just desparation was that three did it at the same time. Now, it could either be intent to undermine US PR or the ultimate cry for help...these two options are not mutually exclusive of course.
posted by Pacheco at 9:56 AM on June 11, 2006


They fed them well. The Pakistani tribesmen slaughtered a sheep in honor of their guests, Arabs and Chinese Muslims famished from fleeing U.S. bombing in the Afghan mountains. But their hosts had ulterior motives: to sell them to the Americans, said the men who are now prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Bounties ranged from $3,000 to $25,000, the detainees testified during military tribunals, according to transcripts the U.S. government gave The Associated Press to comply with a Freedom of Information lawsuit....

posted by amberglow at 9:56 AM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


What these guys did helped their cause and hurt ours

wait, which cause is our cause?
posted by carsonb at 9:58 AM on June 11, 2006


Pacheco: "I'm just a guy at my computer, I'm not in control of any court appearances."

If you're American (and if you aren't, then sorry for the assumption) then as a member of a democratic republic you are in a small but significant way responsible for all the actions of your government - even if there's no practical way for you to directly change those actions. If the American political system is broken it's because there's too many people who just see themselves as 'guys at a keyboard'.

For example I'm a member of the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, and inasfar as that's functionally equivalent to a democratic republic, I personally have Iraqi blood on my hands.

'You guys', the entire state of America, comprised of its population and infrastructure, are illegally detaining prisoners without trial.

But I suppose that's really an argument for another time. *shrug*
posted by Drexen at 10:00 AM on June 11, 2006


"I would argue that this is one reason why Guantanamo-style secret detention is a bad idea. Under such conditions, one's moral compass can get screwy."

Others would argue that screwing up the moral compass is a good idea. This fpp's soundbite reminds me of the usual rah-rah military posturing that recruits first hear in boot camp and never escape once out in the suck. Anyone remember Jarhead?

I'd say the US is ready to take on Darfur, just like everybody wants. Anywhere else that needs American-style humanitarianism?
posted by mischief at 10:03 AM on June 11, 2006


sonofsamiam: I think gregor-e said it a lot more eloquently than I did. You can't know for certain that their suicides were in solely in response to the deplorable conditions they were subjected to without any intent to perturb the war effort. Perhaps it was a mix of both? We may never know.

To your other point, if they all quietly hanged themselves, that's a special case. If all but one hangs himself, then it could still be construed as an act of war, but not a well-planned one.
posted by jewzilla at 10:07 AM on June 11, 2006


only the administration knows for sure, but we'll take them at their word.

WTF? Do you have any evidence that the Administration knows which of their detainees are terrorists? And why would we take them at their word when they lie so freely? Read Amberglow's link above -- many of these "terrorists" were sold to the U.S. for a bounty. Do you think their hill-tribe captors conducted investigations and hearings before selling them to the U.S.? And since we've never tried them either, the presumptive legal term for them is "innocent".

As for "aspiring terrorists", did you just make that up? But let's take the term at face value: has it occurred to you that you can create a "terrorist" by abusing an innocent man? I've no doubt at all that many of these people would become jihadists if they ever get out, irrespective of how they might have felt before they were taken captive.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:09 AM on June 11, 2006


By responding to these suicides, one provides positive feedback for this tactic....but not so much as to actually cause the detainees to be released.

so, if we shut up and ignore them, the Guantanamo detention center and all of the detainees will go away? or be handled legally? I'm sorry if I'm not clear in making my point, I'll try another tack: gregor-e, how does burying one's head in the sand solve the problems of Guantanamo Bay?

also, if the war on terror is all about ending terror, what would be the problem with more terrorists killing themselves? oh, wait, wait, that's right--we're not even sure these people were terrorists yet. remember, gregor-e, the war on terror is supposed to end someday, preferably sooner than later, when nobody is terrorized anymore. so if the people detained in Guantanamo Bay are taking steps to end a perpetuation of the war on terror, they are actually peacemakers.

boy, this circular reasoning stuff is fun!
posted by carsonb at 10:16 AM on June 11, 2006


I think if I were captured by foreigners who didn't speak my language, flown halfway around the world, imprisoned, beaten, electrocuted, humiliated, and had no chance in the foreseeable future of being released, all because my neighbor had decided to sell me up the river for a couple of hundred bucks, suicide might just start to look like an attractive option.

Especially if there were a chance it might hurt the bastards somehow.
posted by EarBucket at 10:16 AM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Dipsomaniac: Every enemy who criticizes the US is committing an act of war, although a very very slight one.

carsonb: I suppose "our cause" is defined by the administration. I think it changes from time to time. We can at least agree that it's to eliminate terrorism and terrorists. Most people would agree that the administration is not pursuing that goal competently.

George_Spiggott: Sometimes the administration lies, sometimes they don't, and we can't know for sure which we're looking at in any given situation. There's a nonzero probability of some randomly sampled individual being a terrorist, and that probability is a little higher in the areas these guys came from. By 'aspiring terrorists', I mean people who were training to be terrorists but had not yet committed an act of terrorism at the time they were arrested. Is there a more idiomatic term for that?
posted by jewzilla at 10:23 AM on June 11, 2006


For academics and lawyers:
Organize a local Gauntanamo Teach-in, October 5th. Or supply your services to the Gauntanamo Bar Association.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:23 AM on June 11, 2006


I wonder how many of the so-called "unlawful combatants" were actually local opposition and pro-democracy types sold to the US by people we had failed to identify as Taliban. That'd be quite a laugh for them, wouldn't it? "Sell our enemies to our enemies for thousands of dollars each!"
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:31 AM on June 11, 2006


only the administration knows for sure, but we'll take them at their word

Ok, kids, you can all rest easy now, you don't have to worry your pretty little heads about what your government does, forget about all that democracy and justice and law malarkey, it's all going fine!

As long as it's not you ending up in a detainment camp with no charges, no trial and no end to the detention in sight, why should you even worry?

It's beyond your concern. You can't vote your elected government out, you can't affect their policies, and they can't even change theirs even if they so would love to, poor things - yeah, poor George, he really really wants to close Guantanamo, what a kind-hearted man with a keen sense of justice, but it's beyond his powers to do so. Life isn't fair. Being the President is not all it's made up to be, you know? Breaks my little sensitive heart to know this man and his officials are so objectively powerless to do what their conscience and the law require of them.

So, rest easy, knowing that if your President can't do a thing about it, you would be simply wasting time for no reason trying to do pointless things like protests and stuff. It's not like it'd help you with the stereotyping from Moroccans, either. And that sucks, cos god knows stereotyping from Moroccans is the biggest problem here.
posted by funambulist at 10:33 AM on June 11, 2006


We can at least agree that [our cause is] to eliminate terrorism and terrorists.

I think the United States of America's government's cause is to make War.

after all, making something is much more productive than eliminating anything, right?
posted by carsonb at 10:35 AM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla: Every enemy who criticizes the US is committing an act of war, although a very very slight one

it is exactly this dilution of the meaning of the word 'war" that has got the US into the trouble it finds itself in. A criminal act by a group of terrorists became an "act of war", which precipitated a real war. Two of them, in fact. This elision of "crime" into "war" will one day be seen as the "domino theory" of our age, and will be interpreted as the overarching discourse that justifies US forceful interference in other countries. And, with this kind of linguistic elision comes "the war on terror", a war against an idea, a war against a state of mind, that can only be won or lost when the aggressor says so, a war that recognizes no historical precedents (military or judicial) for the conduct of war and the treatment of prisoners.
posted by Rumple at 10:36 AM on June 11, 2006 [2 favorites]


oh, and to be annoyingly semantical, jewzilla, it's not called the War On Terrorism nor the War On Terrorists; it's called the War On Terror.

no longer does war strive against people, or against acts--feelings are in the crosshairs now.
posted by carsonb at 10:40 AM on June 11, 2006


*cough* cheers, Rumple!
posted by carsonb at 10:41 AM on June 11, 2006


Through early morning fog I see

visions of the things to be

the pains that are withheld for me

I realize and I can see...

[REFRAIN]:

that suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make

all our little joys relate

without that ever-present hate

but now I know that it's too late, and...

[REFRAIN]

The game of life is hard to play

I'm gonna lose it anyway

The losing card I'll someday lay

so this is all I have to say.

[REFRAIN]

The only way to win is cheat

And lay it down before I'm beat

and to another give my seat

for that's the only painless feat.

[REFRAIN]

The sword of time will pierce our skins

It doesn't hurt when it begins

But as it works its way on in

The pain grows stronger...watch it grin, but...

[REFRAIN]

A brave man once requested me

to answer questions that are key

is it to be or not to be

and I replied 'oh why ask me?'

[REFRAIN]

'Cause suicide is painless

it brings on many changes

and I can take or leave it if I please.

...and you can do the same thing if you please
posted by hortense at 10:47 AM on June 11, 2006


People, FAX your representatives. Faxes get through immediately, and are physical. The last few times I've faxed Nancy Pelosi, her office sent back a form letter on the legislation in question (via email) within a day.
posted by danny the boy at 10:47 AM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think the United States of America's government's cause is to make War.

Well, you can believe that and my point still stands. Turning public support against the war hurts the administration's cause, regardless of their "real" motivation.

after all, making something is much more productive than eliminating anything, right?

I don't understand how war-for-war's sake logically follows from this.
posted by jewzilla at 10:52 AM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla, in case you missed it: I can't wait until the war is over and there's no more terrorism!
posted by hydrophonic at 10:54 AM on June 11, 2006


oh, and to be annoyingly semantical, jewzilla, it's not called the War On Terrorism nor the War On Terrorists; it's called the War On Terror.

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

ter·ror (tĕr'ər)
n.
...
4. Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes.
posted by jewzilla at 10:55 AM on June 11, 2006


Every enemy who criticizes the US is committing an act of war, although a very very slight one.
posted by jewzilla

And who, exactly, is an enemy, jewzilla? An enemy is anyone the present administration says it is. ("Anyone who isn't with us is with the terrorists.") If anyone, therefore, criticizes the US, they are, by your definition, committing an act of war.

By those standards, Guantanamo isn't nearly big enough for the onslaught of enemy combatants.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:56 AM on June 11, 2006


hydrophonic: that's a funny cartoon, but a little dishonest, IMHO. That we can't stop people from using drugs doesn't imply that we can't reduce the number of terror attacks.
posted by jewzilla at 11:00 AM on June 11, 2006


The AHD added that definition seems to indicate that this is a War on "violence," "intimidation," and "coercion." That's even more absurd than a War on a feeling.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:02 AM on June 11, 2006


carsonb: I was pointing out that by responding to these suicides, one would not only be protesting the continuing operation of Guantanamo, but would also be encouraging more suicides by affiriming their tactical effectiveness.

If you pace your protest so that it is not perceived as a response to these suicides, then you are working toward the same goal, but you avoid the blood of more suicides on your hands.
posted by gregor-e at 11:02 AM on June 11, 2006


I don't understand how war-for-war's sake logically follows from this.

oh, it was a joke. doublespeak. "making something"/"production" vs. "elimination," you know. I hear both of these concepts are embodied in the same diety in certain religions.

Turning public support against the war hurts the administration's cause, regardless of their "real" motivation.

aha, you've stumbled upon my cause. this, of course, is different than "our cause" as you defined it. I will hurt any cause that makes war. err, I mean I will hug any cause that makes war. uh, war bad. peace good. no more fighting. way more hugs.

4. Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes.

that's so annoying.
posted by carsonb at 11:02 AM on June 11, 2006


sorry, "The AHD added that definition..."
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:03 AM on June 11, 2006


the point of terrorism is to terrorize: To see the other as inhuman, and therefore to not ascribe to them humanity in a general sense, making a vast category error, which unfortunately puts the terrorized in the position of becoming evil, as they are blinded by their terror, they willing to do those horrific things the terrorists said they did anyway.

When you allow yourself to become terrorized, you perpetuate the cycle of violence because you commit the very same acts which inspired the terrorist in the beginning.

To quote a friend of mine in beirut, when asked by a tourist wether or not it was safe to go out right after a bombing: "Fuck them, I'm partying".

The only way out is the moral highground, which, this current administration seems to have an allergic reaction to. One must realize that a free, just society cannot be a totally safe society.

This news blast reeks of psychosis.
posted by Freen at 11:05 AM on June 11, 2006


leftcoastbob: Yes, the administration gets to define who is an enemy and who isn't. If they overstep their bounds, we have a system of checks and balances to right that. If that process fails, democracy can step in and work its magic. So the administration has an incentive to define it reasonably, lest they lose their jobs.

An enemy is anyone the present administration says it is. ("Anyone who isn't with us is with the terrorists.") If anyone, therefore, criticizes the US, they are, by your definition, committing an act of war.

The wonderful thing about our constitution is that we can commit acts of war (in the form of speech) against our own government and get away with it. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.
posted by jewzilla at 11:06 AM on June 11, 2006


Every enemy who criticizes the US is committing an act of war, although a very very slight one.

Jewzilla: This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard...a statement so antithetical to American liberty that it bears scrutiny and ridicule.

I'd like to hear your definition of "the US" as used above.

Is "the US" the government? Is it the people, it's history, it's borders? It's dissenters? It's constitution and laws?

Because if, by chance, you equate the US with her Constitution and laws, it is quite right to criticize Guantanamo Bay and arbitrary detention, to condemn their thumbing their noses at the Geneva Conventions, their policy of torture and the legal limbo they've created. To criticize this policy is wholly consistent with our laws and our traditions.

America is not a place, or a people, or a government. It is an idea. The idea is that men are born free, and entitled to self-governance, and endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that government serves to protect these ends. To betray these freedoms without due process of law is to betray America itself.

It is the policy of unlawful detention itself which is America's antithesis.

The officials of the Executive branch do not swear on oath to "protect the country", or to "defeat terror"...they swear an oath to faithfully execute the laws, and "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution". Funny then, how they resist all efforts for a judicial review to support their actions, how they resist Congressional oversight, and how they LOATHE public scrutiny.

When you say "criticize the US", I think you're referring to supporting the unconstitutional policies of the neocons. These men are not the office. They are not the nation.

You are pushing the binary thinking that yields fallacies as "with us or against us", and makes traitors of patriots, which turns the nation against itself over issues which define us, which deserve an honest accounting and serious debate. This turns our nation against the world, against the treaties to which we are party, against our own laws.

And conversely, to agree with the neocons is to do what, exactly? Advance the cause of peace?

"To criticize the US is a very slight act of war." Absurd. If you said that in civics class, you'd fail America 101.
posted by edverb at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2006 [3 favorites]


From here:
The best figures I've been able to root out suggest prison suicide rates are typically on the order of 50-200 per 100,000 inmates per year; let's go with 100 per 100,000, or an incidence of 0.1% per year. (The Lancet recently reported that in British prisons, men are five times likelier to attempt suicide than on the outside; this is in line with these figures for overall mortality.) If we assume a ball-park figure of ten attempts per successful suicide, then if Camp X-Ray was a normal prison, we would expect 4-5 attempts per year. Instead we have, by the Pentagon's own admission, at least 10 attempts per year, and by defense lawyer's claims, an average of 20-30.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2006


The wonderful thing about our constitution is that we can commit acts of war (in the form of speech) against our own government and get away with it.

Ugh. There's glory for you.

War is a legal state created by a declaration of hostilities between two sovereign powers. Speech is not war.
posted by EarBucket at 11:09 AM on June 11, 2006


you avoid the blood of more suicides on your hands

the blood of a suicide only goes on one set of hands.
posted by carsonb at 11:13 AM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla, i would be very interested in where you've read that criticism is an act of war. please find the documentation for this statement, and no the collected works of Sentaor Joe McCarthy don't count.
posted by shmegegge at 11:17 AM on June 11, 2006


or even senator.
posted by shmegegge at 11:17 AM on June 11, 2006


I read this and couldn't believe it. The idea that this is defined by the U.S. Military as "an act of asymetric war". Is chilling and sickening.
posted by Skygazer at 11:20 AM on June 11, 2006


The wonderful thing about our constitution is that we can commit acts of war (in the form of speech) against our own government and get away with it. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.
posted by jewzilla


The wonderful thing about free speech is that it is protected in our Constitution and that neither the executive branch nor you is able to interpret it as "acts of war."
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2006


To put it bluntly, the US is too easily terrorized. It is a sitting duck for terrorists in that regard, highly manipulable. Want to get some US soldiers out in the open where you can kill them? Bomb New York. Want to get a secularist Iraqi government out of power and enhance the rise of jihadism worldwide? Bomb New York.

But this is not a new pattern. When the Achille Lauro was hijacked in the Mediterrannean in the 1980s, and one person was killed (one!), thousands of Americans cancelled their European vacations. Worried about WMDs? Attack a country you know doesn't have them and which you have spent 12 years weakening through war and sanctions, but not a country which almost certainly does have them and is run by madmen (NKorea) but which can fight back.. Like most bullies, the US is a coward on the world stage. Like most bullies, the US cannot admit its mistakes. Like most bullies, the US doesn't have any real friends, only different degrees of fearful hangers-on. And, like most bullies, the US will find that it gets its comeuppance.

Imperial over-reach.
posted by Rumple at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2006


If the suicides were acts of war, they were land mines that Rear Admiral Harris walked his monkey ass right into.

But I don't know how you could make the distinction. The acts could easily have been both desperate and planned to "hurt" America – that is, if you construe any action that has the effect of discrediting Guantanamo Bay as hurting America, a notion which is, well, I'll go with understatement and say "debatable."
posted by furiousthought at 11:31 AM on June 11, 2006


The true war criminals are those fundamentalist Muslim women having babies, growing their demographic, in the most demonically calculated attack on everything we hold dear that has yet been devised. We can't be faulted for wanting to discourage their relentless and wanton breeding.

Or what about the Guantanamo inmates who didn't commit suicide, cleverly sapping our resources with their insatiable appetite for food and water and their devious insistent pleas of innocence? The bastards! If only there was something we could have done, damn the war crimes laws!
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:31 AM on June 11, 2006


With all these people eating picnics on beaches and swinging from cell roofs i'm too scared to leave the house.

You're right Jewzilla, it was probably an act of terror committed against the guy that has to bring them breakfast in their cell every morning - i hear he dropped the silver tray.

Who's paying you to post this stuff Zilla ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:33 AM on June 11, 2006


From CNN:
Harris added that there is a "mythical belief" that the Guantanamo detention center would be shut down if three detainees die.

One interpretation would be that these 3 men sacrificed their lives so that others may (potentially) be freed. That's a truely repugnant interpretation, of course, because then they'd be martyrs in the sense that christians could understand (rather than the kind of martyr who blows himself up).

Hopefully it'll work out for them.
posted by pkingdesign at 11:33 AM on June 11, 2006


In February the National Journal reviewed the cases of the Guantanomo detainees, who are mostly innocent people and not terrorists. 86% of the detainees [PDF] were captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and "were handed over to the United States at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:03 AM PST on June 11 [+fave] [!]


If the report I saw on Wolf Blitzer last night was correct, all 3 of these guys was bona fide al Qaeda, at least 2 of which were mid/high level guys who had a hand in operations planning.

It's not difficult to see the "act of war" argument on this at all. First of all, suicide is an unforgivable sin in Islam, one that condemns you to hell. Only when it's twisted to somehow represent martyrdom is it accetable or even encouraged in extremist circles. So by the very nature of their religion, the prisoners would not have committed suicide unless they thought it was an act of war against the US.

Second, these guys are well aware of their status (or lack thereof) and the fact that some Americans do not approve of this. They probably hoped their suicides would further this outrage.

I don't think seeing this as an act of warfare would prevent one from disapproving of their detention (or at least the manner in which they've been detained).
posted by b_thinky at 11:34 AM on June 11, 2006


The true war criminals are those fundamentalist Muslim women having babies, growing their demographic, in the most demonically calculated attack on everything we hold dear that has yet been devised.

When Muslim mommies and daddies make love, it's an act of war.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:46 AM on June 11, 2006


Like most bullies, the US is a coward on the world stage. Like most bullies, the US cannot admit its mistakes. Like most bullies, the US doesn't have any real friends, only different degrees of fearful hangers-on. And, like most bullies, the US will find that it gets its comeuppance.

Yeah, I guess so. The USA lends more military and financial aid assistance than any other country. The foreign aid handed out by our government is only increased by the amount donated by private citizens (like for tsunami relief). Our private sector provides more useful products and technology than any other country. We lend financial and military assistance to lots of people in need. I guess after we've freed Europe from Hitler, most of Asia from imperial Japan, defeated communism in the USSR, kept Saddam out of Kuwait, etc, we're a bunch of big pussies! What have you done for me lately, USA??!!
posted by b_thinky at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2006


First of all, suicide is an unforgivable sin in Islam, one that condemns you to hell.

While in all other religions it's considered a ticket to heaven, right? Muslims never kill themselves out of desperation like believers of other religions despite what their religion may say, no?

That it was coordinated means it was also an act of protest, obviously. Like hunger strikes. Act of protest - act of war, hmm, yeah, I so see the equivalence.
posted by funambulist at 11:49 AM on June 11, 2006


anotherpanacea: My interpretation of the phrase "war on terror" is that it's shorthand for the various ways that we try to stop terror, among them being a war on the individuals who cause violence, intimidation, and coersion. I might agree that it's not the most effective tactic, but I don't see how it's absurd on its face.

carsonb: So you'd have opposed the US's entry into WWII?

edverb: My definition of "criticizing the US" would be making any statement that the administration disagrees with, since I was trying to examine the situation from their point of view. Personally, I think it's great to criticize them, but I believe that some people consider that to be an act of war.

As for the "unlawful" detentions, the Supreme Court ruled that the detainees can go to court, so it seems that the detentions now exist within a legal framework (albeit a new one). The wheels of justice may not turn as quickly as you'd like, but that's life in a large organization like the government.

The officials of the Executive branch do not swear on oath to "protect the country", or to "defeat terror"...they swear an oath to faithfully execute the laws, and "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution". Funny then, how they resist all efforts for a judicial review to support their actions, how they resist Congressional oversight, and how they LOATHE public scrutiny.

Fighting terror could reasonably be construed to be preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution. I can't imagine why any administration would want judicial review, congressional oversight, and public scrutiny. Seems to me like those things would make fighting a war more difficult, and they're not doing such a hot job as it is.

You are pushing the binary thinking that yields fallacies as "with us or against us", and makes traitors of patriots, which turns the nation against itself over issues which define us, which deserve an honest accounting and serious debate. This turns our nation against the world, against the treaties to which we are party, against our own laws.

I think you took my original statement, where I was imagining how the administration must consider these matters as my own opinion. That is not the case.

I never said you SHOULDN'T criticize the US. I think that from the administration's point of view, such speech is an act of war. It hurts the US's war effort and aid's the other side (whoever that is).

And conversely, to agree with the neocons is to do what, exactly? Advance the cause of peace?

That's the inverse error. It doesn't necessarily do anything.

Earbucket: Why can't speech ever be an act of war? What about propaganda? Rallying the troops?

shmegegge: I was referring to acts of war in the context of my original statement, where I threw out the defintion that an act of war was "actions taken by the enemy that help their side and hurt ours." If there's an existing well-accepted definition, I'd be glad to reevaluate my statement in that light.

leftcoastbob: Sure, anyone can interpret anything however they like. For a time, it was illegal to write malicously about the government or its officials. Luckily, that is no longer the law. The folks who committed suicide were not exercising their first amendment rights because they are not citizens, so I don't see how your statement follows from mine.

sgt.serenity: I don't think anyone believes it was an act against any individual. If one were to interpret it as an act of war, then it's along the lines of inciting anger in those who share their beliefs and reducing support for the administration's policies in the US.
posted by jewzilla at 12:03 PM on June 11, 2006


I think your retarded arguments are an act of war, as discrediting to the Admiral's position as they are.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:06 PM on June 11, 2006


sonofsamiam: I didn't attack you personally. Please keep this civil.
posted by jewzilla at 12:07 PM on June 11, 2006


Why can't speech ever be an act of war? What about propaganda? Rallying the troops?

Because an act of war is a hostile action that occurs during a declared war or armed conflict. Making a propaganda film, giving a speech to the troops, or saying "Mr. Bush is the worst president ever" is not an act of war. To suggest that anything you do during the course of a war is an act of war is so bizarrely misguided that it makes me suspect you're arguing in bad faith.
posted by EarBucket at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2006


Sickening. It will take decades of FOIA research and some of the actual military personnel to come clean, realizing that they participated in these atrocities at Guantanamo Bay, before we truly know what's going on over there in the name of American "values."

I imagine multiple shipments of hospital beds with full restraints and batches of Thorazine are already on the way.
posted by bardic at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2006


I didn't attack you personally.

neither did he ... he said your arguments were retarded, not you

obviously, your ability to parse simple english in the great cause is lacking ... seeing as you think talking is an act of war ... but it couldn't be your fault ... it's those tricksy words and their tricksy definitions

oh, why does the english language hate america?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:14 PM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla writes: My interpretation of the phrase "war on terror" is that it's shorthand for the various ways that we try to stop terror, among them being a war on the individuals who cause violence, intimidation, and coersion. I might agree that it's not the most effective tactic, but I don't see how it's absurd on its face.


I do. You don't fight something by doing things that directly increase the presence of that thing.

In fact, it's the very definition of "absurd."
posted by bardic at 12:14 PM on June 11, 2006


sonofsamiam: I didn't attack you personally. Please keep this civil.
posted by jewzilla


USAians: I didn't attack you personally. Please keep this civil.
The Guantanamo detainees
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:14 PM on June 11, 2006


Please keep this civil.

I don't feel too civil, and that's a lot nicer than a post I deleted. Do you understand the point of my snotty remark? Explain to me the error that my remark contains that your ascription of malice to these suicides does not contain.

Your arguments are nonsensical and offensive. You have advanced nothing but the same definitions of "war", "damage", "side", etc.

This is not a serious argument you have here.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2006


I agree. You're a pussy, Jimbob. No way around it!

I'm confused. Why is it OK to call somebody a pussy, but not OK to call them a cunt?

FWIW, bim, here in the UK, calling somebody a pussy generally means calling them a weakling, whereas calling them a cunt is a non-specific term of either abuse or endearment.

I've never heard it used here in a way that particularly implies denigration of women. That's a set of cultural baggage that's peculiarly North American.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2006


b_thinky: What have you done for me lately, USA??!!

Well, the topic of this thread is a good start. Your other examples are, well, weak. The US never wanted to get involved in Europe and if it hadn't been sneak attacked it wouldn't have, it was two years late into the war, and it was, in fact, Russia which bore the burden of the wore (those commies). The US had no real issues with Japanese Imperialism until it reached Hawaii. Defeated Communism in Russia? Perhaps, though a bogeyman the rest of the world seemed to fear a wee bit less. Meanwhile, what about China? Go git'em! Kuwait? No self interest there, and in any case it was Thatcher who lit a fire under Bush #1. And while we're making lists, how about the dead of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia, Vietnam, Cambodia? yeah, bully seems to fit. Though even a broken clock is right twice a day.
posted by Rumple at 12:23 PM on June 11, 2006


Earbucket: What is a hostile action? Is giving an order to blow up a building a hostile act? Is subverting your enemy's base of support a hostile act?

pyramid termite: His tone was extremely confrontational. Most people would interpret the phrase "your retarded arguments" as an attack. Even he admits it was a "snotty remark".

bardic: People disagree about whether that is so. These arguments never end because there's no very little for either side.

sonofsamiam: I proposed an unpopular idea unemotionally. You responded with what I perceived as anger and vitriol. The difference is in the tone; one must be ever-vigilant to pervent a flamewar.

Your assertion that my arguments are nonsensical is not persuasive. I did not set out to offend anyone and I don't believe that an idea can be offensive in and of itself: the offense exists in the reader's mind.

I've tried to answer every question and refine my definitions, so I don't think your statement that all I've done is to advance the same definitions is fair.
posted by jewzilla at 12:33 PM on June 11, 2006


*there is very little evidence for either side.
posted by jewzilla at 12:45 PM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla, even the US government admits that terrorist attacks the the consequent number of people killed in them is at an all time high. So no, people don't disagree--there is more terrorism than ever before. Is it a Cheneyesque "last throes" moment? That's debatable, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that for every Zarqawi killed, five are ready to take his place.

You can prevent terrorism, as the Bush administration failed to do on 9/11. You can contain and limit it through the use of economic and social incentives. You cannot end it, because some religious fuckwit with a grudge will always be there with his infallible principles regarding Allah or Jesus.

You can, however, fan the flames of it to unprecedented levels. To wit, US foreign policy 2001-2006.
posted by bardic at 12:50 PM on June 11, 2006


Most people would interpret the phrase "your retarded arguments" as an attack.

the offense exists in the reader's mind.

consistency isn't one of your strong points, is it?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:52 PM on June 11, 2006


As Chris Clarke puts it (I'm stealing a connection from Sentiments of Rationality here):

My point: it is not civil to discuss things quietly and collegially while people are dying because they can’t afford medicine. It is not civil to speak in even, chuckling sardonicism as one beleaguered wild place after another is paved for profit. It is not civil to calmly raise logical arguments against torture, against kidnapping, against using nuclear weapons on civilians to show our resolve.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:53 PM on June 11, 2006


Who's paying you to post this stuff Zilla ?
Indeed.
posted by undule at 12:57 PM on June 11, 2006


So what constitutes "an act of war" is utterly up to the political authorities, as long as they are committed by "enemies," which again, are defined purely at the choice of the political authorities. This is how street gangs work.
posted by furiousthought at 12:57 PM on June 11, 2006


What is a hostile action? Is giving an order to blow up a building a hostile act?

No. Blowing up a building is a hostile act.
posted by EarBucket at 1:00 PM on June 11, 2006


You can prevent terrorism, as the Bush administration failed to do on 9/11.-- and has failed to do since (just one small example)
posted by amberglow at 1:01 PM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla, your arguments are nonsensical. Let's go through this again and see if we can determine exactly where things fall apart.

We're at war against terrorists. Some of the folks at gitmo are terrorists or aspiring terrorists. Let us suppose that these three were terrorists or aspiring terrorists--only the administration knows for sure, but we'll take them at their word.

Has the administration publicly confirmed that the men who committed suicide are terrorists? Have they even released their names? I don't think so but I could be wrong. We do know from several studies that the majority of prisoners at the base are not connected in any way to any of the various terror networks. Your assumption that these men are terrorists is a very big leap.

Now, let us define "acts of war" as actions taken by the enemy that help their side and hurt ours.

Now this statement is nonsense--and again, I think you know it. "Acts of war" has a very real definition in international law. Really, I'm serious--it's one of those things that people have spent a great deal of time defining. Your "help their side and hurt ours" is not only a vacuous definition (not even worthy of a highschool student) but it's in direct contractidiction of the well-known, widely accepted definition. If you were an honest person you would admit that using the phase "act of war" here is extremely dishonest and basically just a lie.

What these guys did helped their cause and hurt ours by further turning public support in the US against the war effort. It enraged many Arabs and probably made terrorist recruiters' jobs easier.

Now, something strange here just happened. You seem to be examining the effects of their actions (hurt the US) and, based only on the effects, making statements about their motives. Again, this is nonsense. To make yeat another big leap from the effects to a sinister motive is pretty bad. To do so without any sort proof whatsoever is even worse. To do so in the face of the overwhelming evidence available that indicates that living conditions at Guantanamo are completely intolerable, and combined with statements from their lawyers, is unforgivable.

So, yeah, after thinking about it, I think it's safe to say that your argument is simplistic nonsense, totally lacking in evidence or reason. What bothers me is that I expect such an argument from the internet, but you'd really think a Rear Adm. would set higher standards. Just goes to show again how utterly compromised and dishonest the military has become.
posted by nixerman at 1:01 PM on June 11, 2006


Man, I have to get a new keyboard. If only it weren't attached to my laptop. Anyways, I'll just also point out that this statement:

We're at war against terrorists.

is something that is pretty debatable and, really, anybody who gives it just a bit of thought would realize how ridiculously wrong it is and that it's just propaganda. I almost let it slide but really that's what this is all about. A big lie repeated enough and people will just accept it--unless they make an effort to be careful.
posted by nixerman at 1:07 PM on June 11, 2006


Sigh. We've been trolled, people.

Still, it's a little bit nice to have someone to take out our frustrations on. Because I -am- frustrated, and depressed, by what the US government is doing. Moreover, there is nothing I can do, today, right now, that I haven't already done. So yeah, laughing about the absurd reasoning of a troll sort of helps.

From that perspective, Jewzilla's irrational, solipsistic relativism furthers the war against the war on terror. Or something. Good luck with that!
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:09 PM on June 11, 2006


I sent a long and patriotic letter to the Department of the Navy asking them to restore the U.S. Armed forces' honor by not doing such things (as administering something like Guantanamo Bay) or saying such things.
posted by kalessin at 1:12 PM on June 11, 2006


sonofsamiam: I proposed an unpopular idea unemotionally. You responded with what I perceived as anger and vitriol. The difference is in the tone; one must be ever-vigilant to pervent (sic) a flamewar.
posted by jewzilla

I think you were trying for the word "prevent" when you Freudian slipped.
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2006


It gets worse... the suicides were "...a good PR move" (according to Colleen Graffy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy... Sounds like a job title from Brazil).
posted by nielm at 1:18 PM on June 11, 2006


"I think if I were captured by foreigners who didn't speak my language, flown halfway around the world, imprisoned, beaten, electrocuted, humiliated, and had no chance in the foreseeable future of being released, all because my neighbor had decided to sell me up the river for a couple of hundred bucks, suicide might just start to look like an attractive option."

Yeah, well, we are talking about an area with an extensive history of being on both sides of the slave trade.

These suicides might, might(!), have had some significance if these guys had died trying to escape, but no, they had to take the coward's way out. Oh well, anyone wanna talk about Crystal Mangum's dildo?
posted by mischief at 1:20 PM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla: i'm frankly feeling too lazy to go and look up the legal USA definition of an act of war, but let's try approaching it this way:

your definition (an act that helps their side and hurts ours) would mean that the president's decision to go to war in iraq, and indeed almost every other decision he's made since then, is an act of war against the united states of america.

now, as horrific as much of his policy is, as terrible and hurtfult to our country as almost everything he does is, calling fighting a war as an american an act of war against america is simply too bizarre to take seriously. can we, therefore, agree that your definition is unsupportable?

i'd like to think we can, and that we can therefore discard the idea that speaking out against america is an act of war.
posted by shmegegge at 1:21 PM on June 11, 2006


Since when is suicide not an act of desperation?
posted by Cranberry at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2006


Coincidentaly today is the anniversary date of another significant act that under the Admiral's definition would have been one of several such acts of war;

On this date in 1963 Buddhist monk Quang Duc immolated himself on Saigon street to protest the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.
posted by X4ster at 1:33 PM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


So if I've got this right, killing oneself can be called an act of war. Now does that mean that killing some one else can be an act of Peace?
posted by X4ster at 1:37 PM on June 11, 2006


Doubleplusridiculous.
posted by furtive at 1:37 PM on June 11, 2006


the commander: They have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own,"

Josh Colangelo-Bryan with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents about 200 of the detainees: ...“They’ve been told that while at Guantanamo they have no rights as human beings,” he told reporters during a conference call Saturday. ...
posted by amberglow at 1:39 PM on June 11, 2006


On Guantanamo and the Supreme Court's upcoming case: ...Any decision that doesn't go the administration's way will presumably be ignored, as it was the first time when the Supreme Court specifically ruled that there must be access to federal courts, not military tribunals. Since Bush believes his war powers extend beyond judicial review, he will say that no decision by the Supreme Court that interferes with his executive decision-making is binding. But at any rate, the new law approved by the Senate means that the Supreme Court may well simply say that because Hamdan's habeus corpus petition was submitted before the new law was introduced in November 2005, his case is excluded from it and he is entitled to continue with federal court proceedings.
So, to get to the point, Bush is transparently, blatantly lying
when he claims that the only thing stopping him from closing Guantanamo is a pending verdict from the Supreme Court - as if the case the Supreme Court is considering wasn't called Hamdan v Rumsfeld. As if his administration was merely confused about whether to hold military tribunals, and as if he couldn't simply order that the court be closed and that all detainees either be released or charged if he wanted to. As if the entire episode did not simply illustrate the administration's radical hostility to the law, its absolutely instrumentalist approach to it.
posted by amberglow at 1:48 PM on June 11, 2006


bardic: The administration has defined "terrorist attack" so incredibly broadly that it's no surprise they've gone up. For example, I don't think that it's correct to describe a roadside bomb in Iraq targeting US military vehicles as a terrorist attack. Also, we don't know how many terrorist attacks there would have been had we not launched a "war on terror"; we sure didn't foresee 9/11, and who knows what else was in the works? Furthermorer, we may be preventing very large attacks and in trade getting many small attacks. I'd rather a thousand people die in ten attacks than a million people die in one. Problem is that it's untestable.

pyramid termite: I did not object to sonofsamiam's statement because I was offended. I objected because I'm trying to have a discussion. I don't like flamewars, and the only way to I know avoid them is to not attack each other.

undule and sgt.serenety: Nobody is paying me. Why do you ask?

furiousthought: How would you define it?

EarBucket: By that standard neither Osama bin Laden not George Bush have commited acts of war. Yet, the actions of both have directly caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people in wars; but for those individuals, those deaths would not have occurred. It's strikes me as counter-intuitive to say that neither of those people have committed acts of war. I've searched but I can't find any authoritative definition of the term, so it's reasonable the people would have different definitions for it.

nixerman:
Has the administration publicly confirmed that the men who committed suicide are terrorists? Have they even released their names? I don't think so but I could be wrong. We do know from several studies that the majority of prisoners at the base are not connected in any way to any of the various terror networks. Your assumption that these men are terrorists is a very big leap.

The first thing I wrote in my original comment was "Let's have a look at things from the other side for a moment." In other words, let's accept the administration's claims, and see how it works. I've no problem discussing any specific claim, and in fact, if the argument is to fail, that's where it should. Since we can't possibly know (since they're not telling us), the best we can do is guess and make statements like "X is more likely than Y".

Now this statement is nonsense--and again, I think you know it. "Acts of war" has a very real definition in international law. Really, I'm serious--it's one of those things that people have spent a great deal of time defining. Your "help their side and hurt ours" is not only a vacuous definition (not even worthy of a highschool student) but it's in direct contractidiction of the well-known, widely accepted definition. If you were an honest person you would admit that using the phase "act of war" here is extremely dishonest and basically just a lie.

I did a lot of googling and didn't find it. Absent any better definition, I took a stab at one, and nobody else has cared to improve on it yet. Care to provide a link to the accepted definition?


Now, something strange here just happened. You seem to be examining the effects of their actions (hurt the US) and, based only on the effects, making statements about their motives. Again, this is nonsense. To make yeat another big leap from the effects to a sinister motive is pretty bad. To do so without any sort proof whatsoever is even worse. To do so in the face of the overwhelming evidence available that indicates that living conditions at Guantanamo are completely intolerable, and combined with statements from their lawyers, is unforgivable.


I think it's hard to imagine that the effect would come as a surprise to them, so it seems sensible to consider it as a motive. The conditions are also intolerable. So the suicides may have been motivated by some of each, which seems like the most likely scenario.
posted by jewzilla at 1:52 PM on June 11, 2006


"Now does that mean that killing some one else can be an act of Peace?"

No, resurrecting oneself from the dead is an act of peace.
You just gotta think like a fundy.
posted by mischief at 1:53 PM on June 11, 2006


They have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own,"

Now where have I heard that before?...

"Orientals don't place the same value on human life as we do."--General William Westmoreland

Second verse, same as the first.
posted by jaronson at 1:56 PM on June 11, 2006


Sarcasim well met with sarcasim....
posted by X4ster at 2:00 PM on June 11, 2006



undule and sgt.serenety: Nobody is paying me. Why do you ask?


Because you sound like you're doing a pr job for the government ?
I hear Edsel are hiring btw.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:02 PM on June 11, 2006


Ugh. I just realized that reading sophist logic is keeping me from contacting my reps.
posted by Skwirl at 2:13 PM on June 11, 2006


An "act of war" does not include all of the actions a state may take during wartime; just the ones that, if they were unprovoked, would legitimately serve as causes for a state to declare war on it in return. Propaganda does not qualify, and prisoners killing themselves is so far from qualifying as to be completely absurd.

Enemies are those who have committed unresolved acts of war upon you. Until they do so, they may well be rivals, but they aren't yet enemies.
posted by furiousthought at 2:23 PM on June 11, 2006


Jewzilla,

You've heard the expression 'quit while you are ahead'? Let me share with you another, less famous, expression:

Quit while you are way, way, way fucking behind, and can't even see the people who are way, way, way fucking behind the people who are ahead.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 2:28 PM on June 11, 2006


("I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of warfare waged against us")

Even the most generous spin you can possibly put on this comes out weird, as in "They staged a gesture of protest against America by killing themselves" means what exactly? That gestures of protest are now considered hostile acts of war?
posted by slatternus at 2:39 PM on June 11, 2006


"good PR move to draw attention"
I think this quote tells us more about the current U.S. govt. than it does about those who committed suicide. All this administration is is spin, PR and misallocation of resources.
posted by Buck Eschaton at 2:54 PM on June 11, 2006


Suicide is haram (forbidden).

More likely, this was an act of insanity or of pain, rather than of war. May their god forgive them.
posted by QIbHom at 2:56 PM on June 11, 2006


If they committed suicide as an act of war against us, then clearly the appropriate response would be for Adm. Harris, Gen. Miller and Secretary Rumsfeld to retaliate in kind.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:05 PM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


I objected because I'm trying to have a discussion.

it's customary, when trying to have a discussion, to use the common meaning of words instead of making up your own ... example - i don't know of any book on military tactics that considers hanging oneself with bedsheets to be effective against the enemy

wikipedia's article on casus belli makes no mention of bedsheets or other means of suicide

a quick skim through this summary of sun tzu's art of war fails to mention anything about bedsheets

according to your own logic, i accuse you and rear adm harris of committing an act of war by saying such stupid and asinine things that it shakes the nation's confidence in the sanity and mental ability of its military leaders and gives aid and comfort to the enemy by giving him a damned good laugh ... i accuse you and rear adm harris of committing an act of war by giving the rest of the world the impression that that americans are too stupid to know the difference between someone attacking them with a weapon and hanging themselves in a jail cell and too addle brained to come up with a coherent and logical explanation of why miserable, hopeless people would want to commit suicide

why do you hate america by committing such acts of war against it?

i also note that were you to do a similar thing, it's quite likely that the lack of oxygen to your brain would have no effect, as far as we could tell
posted by pyramid termite at 3:31 PM on June 11, 2006


pyramid termite: you should read sun tzu more slowly. you missed this part, in chapter 5:

"Suicide is not an act of war. That's all there is to it.





Oh... wait. I forgot. If you hang yourself with a bedsheet? Yeah, totally an act of war."
posted by shmegegge at 4:08 PM on June 11, 2006




The foreign aid handed out by our government is only increased by the amount donated by private citizens (like for tsunami relief).

Right. And there are never ever strings attached to that aid, either...


Our private sector provides more useful products and technology than any other country.

Have any sort of fact or statistic to back that claim?

We lend financial and military assistance to lots of people in need.

Generally to protect US interests, or in exchange for geopolitical influence, or strategically located military bases.


I guess after we've freed Europe from Hitler, most of Asia from imperial Japan, defeated communism in the USSR, kept Saddam out of Kuwait, etc, we're a bunch of big pussies!

Yup. We won WWII singlehandedly. those 27 million Russian soldiers and 19 million Russian civilians that died fighting Hitler's war machine... they were mostly jackin' around, right?

Defeated Communism in USSR? How? By Waiting around long enough for it to collapse under the weight of it's own structural and moral decrepitude? Soviet Communism failed because it was an inherently broken, corrupt, and inhuman system, and was bound to fail eventually, as are all totalitarian regimes.

We prosecuted the Cold War because it was good for business, not because it actually accomplished anything meaningful.

What the fuck is that shit that you mindless wingnuts constantly tout? - as if Ron Reagan rode into Red Square and personally sodomized Mikhail Gorbachev for Freedom, the magnificent reverberations of which brought down the Berlin Wall, some two thousand miles distant...

Further, we kept Saddam out of Kuwait, because he wasn't useful anymore, and we didn't want him futzing about with our oil buddies.

What great heros we are.
posted by stenseng at 4:32 PM on June 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hey that Holocaust? Great PR move for the Jews!
posted by Flashman at 4:41 PM on June 11, 2006


to corroborate what stenseng said, i think you'll find that if you measure foreign aid on the basis of gdp, the u.s. lags behind several other nations.

rather, make that "the u.s. lags behind ALL other industrialized nations except for one."

so keep your rah-rah u.s.a. foreign aid crap to yourself, b_thinky.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:53 PM on June 11, 2006


as if Ron Reagan rode into Red Square and personally sodomized Mikhail Gorbachev for Freedom

that left quite a mark on his forehead, too ...

but seriously, i'm not a reagan fan, nor do i think that he caused us to "win" the cold war, but i will say one thing ... he had brains enough to keep out of his adversary's way when his adversary was busy defeating himself

saddam could have been handled the same way
posted by pyramid termite at 4:58 PM on June 11, 2006


totally asymmetrical, dude.
posted by NationalKato at 5:32 PM on June 11, 2006


pyramid termite writes
"but seriously, i'm not a reagan fan, nor do i think that he caused us to 'win' the cold war, but i will say one thing ... he had brains enough to keep out of his adversary's way when his adversary was busy defeating himself

"saddam could have been handled the same way"


*ding*

And, while I'm here, I want to say that I cannot find words to express the sense of loss, disassociation, and disbelief I experience every time I contemplate what has happened to my country in the past six years. Quite literally un-fucking-believable. And yet, here we are...

.
posted by Fezboy! at 5:38 PM on June 11, 2006


Just, as a note, Osama bin Laden actually is incapable of committing an act of war. He isn't a head of state, nor a military branch of any given state. Really, the most accurate description of OBL would be that of an international criminal.

Those that claim he committed an act of war, well, jewzilla you're probably correct, they are aiding and abetting the enemy by vastly over estimating his importance and power. Odd how that works.

Therefore, I would like to categorically state that those that publicly state we are at war with terror, and those that express fear of terrorism are committing treason. What ever happened to the "Home of the Brave" or "we have nothing to fear but fear itself?". Whatever happened to the "Loyal Opposition"? I say fear is treason, and the wanton violation of human rights is more destructive to our way of life than any terrorist.
posted by Freen at 6:31 PM on June 11, 2006


I say fear is treason,

you know, that's in the constitution and everything.
posted by shmegegge at 6:36 PM on June 11, 2006


jewzilla -

"The fact that they themselves died is irrelevant, as they have martyred themselves for their cause (nobody would say 9/11 wasn't an act of war just because the perps died in the act, after all). Now a lot of folks are angry at the administration, furthering the terrorists' goals."

This has to be one of the most heartless and misguided statements I've ever read. Ever read Catch 22?

There is no proof that these people were terrorists. The administration doesn't have the balls to provide us with the truth. Why in hell's name should we take their word for it?

So, Jews dying in WWII concentration camps were committing an "act of war" because what they did sullied the Nazi cause?

According to your logic, the answer is affirmative.

Excuse me while I go and wretch now.
posted by rougy at 6:48 PM on June 11, 2006


If the report I saw on Wolf Blitzer last night was correct, all 3 of these guys was bona fide al Qaeda, at least 2 of which were mid/high level guys who had a hand in operations planning.
posted by b_thinky



The U.S. Defense Department released on Sunday the identities of three Guantanamo detainees who committed suicide — alleging one had ties to al-Qaida, another fought for the Taliban and a third was cleared to be transferred to another country.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:49 PM on June 11, 2006


Committing suicide now redefined as a "public relations" campaign.
posted by Mr. Six at 7:39 PM on June 11, 2006


One of them was seized and detained when he was 17 years old.
posted by homunculus at 7:58 PM on June 11, 2006


Since enough people have responded to all the crazy things Jewzilla posted today, I would just like to add that I'm really shocked at his googling skills. He says he googled "a lot" and found no definitions of "act of war". I googled a tiny bit and found quite a lot, this being most telling:

Casus Belli: an act or event that provokes or is used to justify war.

I got goosebumps reading that.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:04 PM on June 11, 2006


As offensive and deceitful as jewzilla's arguments are I don't think anyone else is using "act of war" properly either. For example, pyramid termite:
i don't know of any book on military tactics that considers hanging oneself with bedsheets to be effective against the enemy
Reading the wikipedia article, and the other definitions linked by answers.com, I've come to the conclusion that effectiveness has nothing whatsoever to do with the notion.

It seems that "act of war" is a propaganda term, it refers to acts which can be construed as justification for the initiation of war. Presumably you could even extend the definition to justification for escalation, such as an escalation in tactics or scope.

With that in mind, I guess one should interpret Rear Adm Harris as arguing that the suicides were evidence that the imprisonment was justified. Inverted causality is a mainstay at The Onion, so I think ultimately popcassady had it right. Is there a term for that kind of joke? How about a term for that fallacy?
posted by Chuckles at 8:19 PM on June 11, 2006


Chuckles, see Circular cause and consequence:

A. "Detainees are justifiably imprisoned."

B. "Detainees commit an act of war."

A → B → A → B ...

Choose either A → B or B → A depending on the day's propaganda.
posted by Mr. Six at 8:34 PM on June 11, 2006


That any American would not writhe in disgust and shame that the US would try to spin suicide as an act of war astonishes me. I really have no words.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:04 PM on June 11, 2006


It seems that "act of war" is a propaganda term

certainly ... and in this case it's truly pathetic propaganda ... the only reason "act of war" is being used in this discussion is because some jackass in the military used it

but not to worry ... as we discuss this american jets are on their way to bomb linen factories so this outrage will never be repeated again

the war against bedsheets has begun
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 PM on June 11, 2006


Best use of the "batshitinsane" tag I've seen.

I'm planning on bringin this up incessantly during the mid-terms. Calling talk shows, even if it's, say, car talk. Stuff like that.

Like a broken record.

Because that's what we're getting from the other side. This whole "let me piss on your head because you're not smart enough to see it's not rain" thing.

Enough.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:12 PM on June 11, 2006


Win the House of Representatives: Impeach! Impeach! Impeach!
posted by taosbat at 10:43 PM on June 11, 2006


One of the three men who committed suicide at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay was due to be released - but did not know it, says a US lawyer. ..."These people are told they'll be 50 by the time they get out, that they have no hope of getting out. They've been denied a hearing, they have no chance to be released," he said.

"We've just learned that one of the three people who killed himself was one of the 141 that we [the US] had scheduled to release.

"However our policy was we would refuse to tell people who were scheduled to be released until we had a location.

"So we had decided this was a safe person, free to be released, but we needed a country to send him to, and his despair was great enough and in his ignorance he went and killed himself." ...

posted by amberglow at 10:47 PM on June 11, 2006


"None of the three had been formally charged."
"Al-Utaybi had been recommended for transfer to the custody of another country"
And what does that mean?

If they are enemies of the country, and were on a battlefield I'd kill them.
If they were enemies and were harmless I would capture them and expect them to be held and then tried for their crimes.

What, exactly, the fuck is this?

Certainly I have some compassionate concerns, but one of my principle concerns in the mistreatment of prisoners is that the mistreater - the guard - whomever - subverts the will of the state and the people.
If a murder is convicted and sentenced to 30 years, he is not sentenced to be anally raped. It is not for another prisoner to do, it is certainly not for a guard - as an instrument of the will of the people - to allow.

In the same way - these men have not faced charges. The state has said nothing on their case and until they are proven to be enemies they should not come to harm, because that is the will of the American people and has been since we wrote the laws concerning the treatment of individuals held before a trial: innocent until proven guilty.

I think Arlen Specter is dead on.
This eigenstate the Gitmo prisoners are in subverts the law, and thus the will of the American people.
It is for the congress and the judiciary to determine the law and extent of the law.
The executive branch is there to execute. Indeed, even the war powers are subject to congressional oversight.
But whatever the exact case - congress is not doing anything like their job. They are responding to Bush as the party head, not as president.

This is government by party, not by the three branches of government - the checks and balances that should be in place.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:55 PM on June 11, 2006


/ah, nice timing Amberglow...I gotta check preview more.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:56 PM on June 11, 2006


I'm planning on bringin this up incessantly during the mid-terms. Calling talk shows, even if it's, say, car talk. Stuff like that.

Like a broken record.

Because that's what we're getting from the other side. This whole "let me piss on your head because you're not smart enough to see it's not rain" thing.

Enough.


Fantastic idea. I'll send hundreds of letters to editors of local papers, big papers, Cooking Light, you name it.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 10:57 PM on June 11, 2006


Oh, and this reminds me of Madame Nhu's famous words in response to the Buddhist self-immolations in S. Viet Nam:

Never to be outdone, the regime’s outspoken "dragon lady," Madame Nhu, clapped her hands in glee at the "Buddhist barbecue" and told reporters that, if Halberstam wanted to try it next, she would provide the match.

posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 11:20 PM on June 11, 2006


Smedleyman: And what's Arlen Specter doing about it? Last I heard the answer was 'cluck his tongue reprovingly' but I'll admit I might be out of date on that one ...
posted by kaemaril at 1:17 AM on June 12, 2006


I realize I might be late, but just to add to the semantic discussion: I doubt the good admiral meant Casus Belli in this particular context. Casus Belli, as I understood the answers.com page, is a justification for declaration of war. I doubt anyone's arguing here that these suicides have caused war, as it were; I think the US Government is essentially saying that the suicides were acts committed during war.

That said, I would agree with comments here that the phrase has been used rather loosely. IANA(US-ian)Lawyer, but a bit of a googling led me to this site describing the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. In particular, the term "act of war" appears to be defined thus:
(4) the term “act of war” means any act occurring in the course of—

(A) declared war;

(B) armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared, between two or more nations; or

(C) armed conflict between military forces of any origin;
Points (B) and (C) clearly can't apply to Guantanamo Bay, mainly because there are no nations, or regular military forces involved. So the only possible definition that could apply is point (A), if you were to stretch the term "War on Terror" to mean actual declared war. But clearly, this can't be possible, because if it was, then those imprisoned there would be Prisoners of War, and not "unlawful combatants" as the Administration has been insisting.

Additionally, to equate these suicides with suicide bombing is to omit a very important difference between the two: a suicide bomber takes his/her life to kill/blow up someone else. Someone committing suicide is, of course, making a point, but he's caused no additional damage to any community whatsoever. Essentially, he's not terrorising anyone, he is, in fact, protesting something.
posted by the cydonian at 2:01 AM on June 12, 2006


Additionally, to equate these suicides with suicide bombing is to omit a very important difference between the two: a suicide bomber takes his/her life to kill/blow up someone else. Someone committing suicide is, of course, making a point, but he's caused no additional damage to any community whatsoever. Essentially, he's not terrorising anyone, he is, in fact, protesting something.

Now repeat that over and over while banging Rear Admiral Harris over the head with an iron skillet.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 2:04 AM on June 12, 2006


So wait, campaigning or running against GW Bush constitutes and act of war? No wonder Kerry didn't win.
posted by OmieWise at 5:50 AM on June 12, 2006


will anyone swallow that spin?
posted by dabitch at 4:47 AM PST


NPR ran it at one of the news breaks, like it was a press release.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:51 AM on June 12, 2006


"I'm planning on bringin this up incessantly during the mid-terms. Calling talk shows, even if it's, say, car talk. Stuff like that."

While I admire your determination, I don't think these suicides give you with much of a voter-swaying issue. From the far-right well through the undecided middle and quite possibly into the more conservative left, these suicides are no more than the basis for some bad jokes.
posted by mischief at 7:06 AM on June 12, 2006


“Smedleyman: And what's Arlen Specter doing about it?” - posted by kaemaril

Point taken. Right now I don’t know.


mischief - I’m a conservative. Talking to several friends of mine - three extra dead ragheads are a good start - but the congress and the judiciary relinquishing their responsibility? That gets to the anal retentative side of folks. Very very few conservatives, or libertarians for that matter, enjoy ambiguity (in the law or elsewhere). They tend to be fastidious personalities (e.g. filthy hippie attacks on the opposition).
I grant I’m a bit tongue in cheek there, but the point remains valid - this does concern the stability of our government.
Certainly some folks might think what BushCo is doing is just fine, but I don’t believe anyone (other than the particulars in power benefiting from it) is happy with this matter placed on indefinate hold such that the administration can do whatever it pleases. It is as though they are taking advantage of a temporary lull or loophole in the law.
(We can posit that they themselves created that of course - but that they brought up the question (of whether they can hold people at Gitmo) doesn’t mean that question ultimately shouldn’t be addressed)

Sort of the “up or down vote” meme here. ‘Cept it works both ways.
And of course what show you’re calling or what letter you’re writing dictates how you frame the position. Compassion, law, constitutional crisis, etc.

Now the final judgement might not go the way “left” thinking folks like - but at least the terms will be settled and we’ll all know where this stands.

And people won’t commit suicide out of dispair just days before they’re scheduled to be let out.

We are supposed to protect innocent lives as well as neutralize the violence.
That’s what the “war on terror” is supposed to be.
This situation is intolerable No matter what your political persuasion (rabid fanatics aside - and they’re not the vast majority).


/Is yelling “God damn the Bush adminstration!” while having an orgasm a declaration of war?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:45 AM on June 12, 2006


Is yelling “God damn the Bush adminstration!” while having an orgasm a declaration of war?
posted by Smedleyman


Only if you're having gay sex with someone from a red state.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:54 AM on June 12, 2006


Why is the Pentagon keeping prisoners’ mail from their lawyers?
posted by homunculus at 10:05 AM on June 12, 2006


ter·ror (tĕr'ər)
n.
...
4. Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes.


Late to the game, but doesn't Jewzilla's definition apply to what the US did in Iraq?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:57 PM on June 12, 2006


If suicides are "acts of war", I wonder whether Donald Rumsfeld has plans to address this worrying suicide gap...
posted by Skeptic at 2:12 PM on June 12, 2006


Late to the game, but doesn't Jewzilla's definition apply to what the US did in Iraq?

Nah, that was "shock and awe".
posted by Skeptic at 2:13 PM on June 12, 2006


Other asymmetrical acts of war.
posted by EarBucket at 4:58 PM on June 12, 2006


Turns out the three suicides were not a PR move after all. No word on whether or not they were still acts of (sharp intake of horrified breath) asymmetric war!
posted by kaemaril at 6:27 PM on June 12, 2006


Turns out the three suicides were not a PR move after all.

it must have just been a marketing test then
posted by pyramid termite at 9:34 PM on June 12, 2006


insane: Rear Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of the prison, has said the detention facility will remain in operation whatever the high court rules, as long as there is a need to prevent captives deemed to be hardened holy warriors from engaging U.S. forces on the battlefields of Iraq or Afghanistan.
posted by amberglow at 10:55 PM on June 12, 2006


...might makes "right"...again....
posted by rougy at 11:04 PM on June 12, 2006


John Roberts has made his decision, now let him enforce it!
posted by homunculus at 11:53 PM on June 12, 2006


Other asymmetrical acts of war:
...
5. Not Being A Terrorist


Gold!
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:16 AM on June 13, 2006


"It's a grim business, this being funny. Every time you come up with a strong satiric idea, the world tops it. None of our reactionary military characters in the past decade could top the real-life line that came out of Vietnam: 'We had to destroy the village in order to save it.'" -- Del Close

I think we have a new winner.
posted by Mr. Six at 6:20 AM on June 13, 2006


Turns out the three suicides were not a PR move after all.

it must have just been a marketing test then
posted by pyramid termite


Best ironic comment.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:19 PM on June 13, 2006


"Boo-freakin-hoo."
posted by homunculus at 4:13 PM on June 13, 2006


Meanwhile, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, a Muslim cleric convicted over the 2002 nightclub bombings on Indonesian island Bali, which killed 202 people, has been released from prison in Jakarta.
posted by homunculus at 12:02 AM on June 14, 2006


Pentagon Orders U.S. Reporters to Exit Guantanamo
posted by amberglow at 8:38 AM on June 14, 2006


Bush Orders Pre-Emptive Attack on Guantanamo
"They could hang themselves at any time, dealing a devastating blow to our nation."
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:40 AM on June 14, 2006


Guantanamo Detainees Not Told They Had Lawyers
posted by homunculus at 6:17 PM on June 17, 2006


...Last week, the Pentagon “shut down access entirely” to the Guantanamo Bay prison after the suicide deaths of three detainees. Journalists covering the suicides had their clearances revoked and were immediately flown back to the United States, and regular visits between detainees and their lawyers were cancelled. Human rights groups protested:

This press crackdown is the administration’s latest betrayal of fundamental American values. The Bush Administration is afraid of American reporters, afraid of American attorneys and afraid of American laws.

Afraid of American journalists, that is, as long as they’re not from Fox.
This morning, Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano described how the Defense Department had personally invited him on a trip to Guantanamo on Wednesday:

NAPOLITANO: I was doing my radio show with Brian Kilmeade the other day and I get an email from the Defense Department saying, “We have an extra seat on a flight down to Guantanamo, would you like to come?” So, of course, I cleared it all — I cleared it here with our superiors. …

HOST: What’d you see?

NAPOLITANO: Well, we saw everything. … We saw all six camps. … We had FBI interviews, I actually sat down and examined the evidence they’re going to use at trial with prosecutors. It was very detailed.

HOST: That was some kind of access.

NAPOLITANO: It was. It was great.

Napolitano offered his fair and balanced review of conditions at the prison: among other glowing reviews, he claimed it is “now gentle, almost child-like the way they treat the detainees.” ...

posted by amberglow at 7:04 PM on June 23, 2006


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