This is your America. And this is what is being done to people by the US government in the name and with the tax dollars of American citizens.
There are currently over 100 inmates at Guantanamo Bay who are carrying out a hunger strike. On July 5, the Guardian reported that approximately 45 of those who are on strike are “being fed enterally” — or, to use the lay term, are being force-fed. The human rights organization Reprieve has staged one of those force-feedings, with the help of rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), following the standard operating procedure outlined in leaked instructions.The session was filmed and published by the Guardian.
Guantanamo prisoners have filed a motion asking for the practice to be stopped, arguing it’s torture, the Washington Post reported. Force-feeding is considered a violation of medical ethics by World Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Torture Does Not Make Us Safer
People say we need to do this to catch terrorists. That it makes us safer. But do we? And does it?
Crime and terrorism are not going to go away and they are not unique to the United States. All we can do is control how we respond to them, such as bring those who commit crimes to justice by utilizing a justice system under the rule of law with clear protocols and procedures aimed at ensuring that peoples constitutionally guaranteed civil and human rights are not violated, which means no unlawful detainment or locking up anyone without due process. It also means not resorting to torture and all sorts of other uncivilized, barbaric means in order to get information out of suspected enemies.
We cannot control the behavior of people, all we have control over is how we respond to it.
Yes, some people did heinous things, terrible things, but we as a society don’t have to do the same. That is the difference between us and countries that run kangaroo courts where people are tortured and then executed after speedy trials and under the auspices of “security”.
We have a choice as a society and government, and torture is not the answer.
It doesn’t matter what these men are guilty of – if anything – the point is that they do not deserve endless days of this torture and disrespect. Free them and put them on trial and then prove their guilt in a court of law instead of detaining them and making them prove their innocence under torture.
Innocent until proven guilty is not just a line in Law and Order, it is a very fundamental legal right that is essential to freedom That the accused bears no burden of proof is a very fundamental legal principle put in place to insure innocent people do not end up in jail or be found guilty without proof.
Just as we do not suspend the rights of the accused for crimes like rape and murder, we ought to not suspend them for terrorism. While terrorists exhibit seemingly inhuman cruelty, people accused of terroristic actions deserve the same rights we afford others accused of crimes because if the rule of law does not apply to everyone, it applies to no one.
Torture does not make us safer and it diminishes us undoing everything we fought for all this time to set us apart from the barbarians we used to be just a hundred years ago – where human life had no value.
If we decide that the life of certain people has no value and thus it is ok to torture and degrade them in such a manner, then again, we diminish ourselves and this society, not to mention that we then also set a precedent for such transgressions.
Once you set the precedent that in some random cases torture and the disregard for the rule of law is acceptable, who is to stop someone else from coming in and trying to take it a step further and apply it to something “very similar”? Since there is no accountability, and secret courts issue all the warrants, who is going to stop them?
A court that operates in secrecy is not much of a court and not much justice and due process and rule of law can be expected to apply. It is a kangaroo court, a tribunal where one is guilty until proven innocent.
Secret courts don’t dispense justice, they dispense sentences violating a person’s constitutional rights while not accountable to anyone.
Torture, which is approved and condoned by such secret courts is inhumane and it is a disgrace to this nation to treat human beings in this manner – no matter who they are and what they did.
They say violence is not the solution and terrorists are condemned for trying to use violence to make their point. But if we continue in this manner, then we are no better than some terrorist who believes that violence and atrocities are ok as long as they happen for a noble, worthy cause. In that case, our crimes would exceed anything Al Qaeda has done.
We need to evolve past those crude ways of thinking of and treating people. Torture is barbaric and uncivilized and it does not make us safer and I do not believe it would be justified, even if it did.