Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, February 13, 2006

UN Chides US On Guantanamo

A draft UN report leaked to LATimes reporter Maggie Farley challenges the US contention that it can hold enemy combatants in Guantanamo and accuses the US of torturing detainees.

The report frets that detainees are not receiving appropriate due process to determine if they truly are enemy combatants. Forget that they were, for the most part, picked up during hostilities.

While it acknowledges that the US has the right to detain combatants in the interest of safety and security during war, the UN report says detainees are just to be held, not used for intelligence-gathering purposes. Ridiculous on its face. If they have knowledge of operations, methods or command structure, we have a right to that information.

Should we use torture to get it? Of course not -- unless you're subscribing to the UN definition of torture. Then torture away. Here's what I mean:
The findings also concluded that the simultaneous use of several interrogation techniques — prolonged solitary confinement, exposure to extreme temperatures, noise and light; forced shaving and other techniques that exploit religious beliefs or cause intimidation and humiliation — constituted inhumane treatment and, in some cases, reached the threshold of torture.

Nowak said that the U.N. team was "particularly concerned" about the force-feeding of hunger strikers through nasal tubes that detainees said were brutally inserted and removed, causing intense pain, bleeding and vomiting.
The UN simply does not have evidence of torture in the conventional sense of the application of intense physical or psychological pain to case a person to break. What they have is (in the first paragraph) evidence of forced discomfort and (in the second paragraph) evidence of keeping people alive -- an odd type of torture.

The report attempts to correctly apply existing protocols for war fighting to Guantanamo and finds reasons to challenge what we're doing. But the fault isn't the US; it's the protocols, which reflect conventional warfare.

If the world community can't update the protocols to reflect the changed reality that comes with precision-guided human weapons capable of taking out hundreds -- even thousands -- of lives with the triggering of an explosive belt or dirty bomb, or the crashing of an airplane, then we will lead the world in creating the necessary new protocols.

And if it can't take political correctness out of its definition of terror, we will have to continue to hold to our own standards, and to watch those standards carefully, as a nation that is not vicious.

Of note: Commenting on the report in the LAT piece was Human Rights Watch, a George Soros-funded organization.

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