Militaristic solutions are futile
Ok, so here we go. What we are doing around the world is evil and it is wrong on many levels. That does not mean that all the troops are evil and wrong, or that even most of them are, but our policies are complete bullshit.
One of the sources of contention in previous discussions has been waterboarding. Is it torture, is it not. Well, until about a year ago it clearly was. It is questionable whether it is torture under the newly "interpreted" geneva convention that Bush recently released, but before that, it was clearly viewed as torture. In fact, at the conclusion of World War 2, the US executed officers in the Japanese army on charges that they waterboarded our troops. I realise that the Japanese did a lot of really evil shit to us, but the charges that we executed people on less than 60 years ago were related to waterboarding. But now, waterboarding is ok. That is inconsistant, and it makes no sense.
Upon the initial invasion of Iraq, several of our soldiers were captured and shown on Iraqi tv. Officials in the administration immediately began chiding Iraq for violating the rules of war, blah blah blah. In the first Gulf war, we were bombarded with images of lines of Iraqi POWs on our tv. This time around, we show Saddam, Khalid Sheik Mohommad, and a number of others that we capture. Once again, What is good for the goose absolutely must be good for the gander.
Perhaps my greatest frustration with the illegal actions of our military is the systemic and continuous implementation of the illegal polices. This is not to say that every service member is involved in illegal acts, but these acts are continous and systematic.
Some sources say that the US currently is holding as many as 75,000 people worldwide in connection with the war on terror. The Bush administration puts this number at closer to 25,000. Either way, it is easy to assume that we have held over 100,000 and maybe as many as 250,000 over the course of the war on terror. To put this in perspective, we were attacked by 19 people out of an organisation estimated at the time to have about 190 members. Some of those being held are held on US ships at sea, where they are subject to "coercive interrogation techniques." In perhaps the biggest irony of the whole thing, one of these ships is the USS Bataan. In addition, there are over a million people on the terrorist watch list. Over a million. Because 19 attacked us.
What these people are subjected to, god only knows. When we went into Afghanistan, we offered $20,000 for turning in terrorists. So we offered $20,000 in a country with an average daily wage of less than a dollar. Surely we got many innocent people who were turned in because of reasons other than they were terrorists. At every step of the game, the administration lies about what we are doing. They said the CIA was not operating prisons in Europe. Now they admit it. They said we did not waterboard. Now they admit it. The only stories that have remained constant are the stories of the people we have released from custody. And those stories are very sad indeed.
And in the backdrop of the war, civil liberties at home have been destroyed. It is not widely understood that the Bush administration grabbed the power to summarily revoke your citizenship. The law stated that noncitizen enemy combatants could be held indefinately without charge and without access to the courts. The problem with this is if I was to arrest you as a noncitizen enemy combatant, and you were in fact a US citizen, you would have no way to prove your citizenship. The government could pick you up and hold you, citizen or not, terrorist or not, and you would have no legal recourse. A few weeks ago, the courts said that the law was unconstituional, and people held under this provision must be allowed to challenge their status as noncitizen enemy combatants. The ruling did not give people access to the courts to challenge the merits of their case, but they could argue that they were citizens and therefore entitled to due process. The administration shit a brick and yelled and screamed about how the courts were enabling terrorists, blah blah blah, but if you are determined to be a noncitizen enemy combatant, you still have no rights to the courts. So allowing citizens access to the court system is helping terrorists under the administrations logic. Fucking brilliant.
I could go on and on. I could really write a book about it, but I will save further insights for future blogs. For now, lets discuss.