Sunday :: Jan 24, 2010

Guantánamo Deaths not Suicide

by Mary

When reading Scott Horton's amazing account that the deaths of three prisoners at Guantánamo were not suicides, but deaths caused while they were being brutalized, I couldn't help but remember that Rear Admiral Harry Harris described their so-called suicides as "asymmetrical warfare" and blamed them for their intransigence.

Today Scott reflects on these deaths and notes that these prisoners were powerless and were greatly wronged by Harris.

On the day of these deaths in 2006, the American commander in Guantánamo violated the Homeric rules of decorum by taunting the dead and afflicting their families. The deceased prisoners “have no regard for human life,” he said. But in the end we must ask to whom those words more appropriately attach–the prisoners or those who have orchestrated the tragedy at Guantánamo?

What struck me about this was the fact that two of these prisoners had been slated to be released, so why were they the target of extreme tormenting/torture that led to their deaths? Why did Harris decide they must be slandered after they died?

What I think is these prisoners had been embarrassing the US in their prison camp by their hunger strikes and Harris took it personally. They had to be taught a lesson, but the lesson went too far. And when they died, they caused Harris an even bigger problem. So he hurt them in the only way that remained by besmirching their honor and hurting their families.

But for the courage of the American guards who spoke out, this injustice would never have been known. And we should acknowledge their courage.

But above and beyond the implausible narrative constructed by NCIS and the bizarre throat autopsies on the deceased, four military guards at Guantanamo felt compelled to come forward and report their concerns about prisoner abuse, and nobody seems to think it warrants any discussion. Members of the military deserve our honor and respect. And one of the ways we can show that is by paying attention when soldiers raise questions about the honor of the military. Even if we've learned to sleep at night despite the fact we have tortured, we should spare one toss or turn for those soldiers who cannot.

Mary :: 11:28 AM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!