Posts tagged ‘War on Terror’

June 22, 2011

Bagram, not Guantanamo, has most U.S. terror detainees

by Vince

Allgov tells:

While the number held at Guantánamo is currently estimated to be about 170, the total imprisoned at Bagram is about 1,700. The two prisons have been moving in opposite directions in terms of their detainee numbers, with Guantánamo shrinking from a high of more than 700 to its present count.
Bagram, though, has been growing in recent years. Its detainee total has tripled in size since 2008, with more than 1,300 suspects arrested and imprisoned in 2010 alone.
Another distinction between the two facilities is that detainees at the Afghanistan prison have fewer rights than their counterparts at Guantánamo.
Guantanamo, also know as “Gitmo”, grabbed the national spotlight when it came time to shine light on how we have treated detained terror suspects. It could be that Gitmo was much closer than Bagram (located in Afghanistan) so in essence Bagram was even more out of sight and mind.
Advertisements
May 21, 2011

“They hate us for our freedoms”

by Vince

Glenn Greenwald explains a major reason why many Middle Eastern denizens hate America. Hint: it isn’t because of our freedoms but because of NATO strikes that killed three children in four days:

Just imagine the accumulated hatred from having things like this happen day after day, week after week, year after year, for a full decade now, with no end in sight — broadcast all over the region.  It’s literally impossible to convey in words the level of bloodthirsty fury and demands for vengeance that would arise if a foreign army were inside the U.S. killing innocent American children even a handful of times, let alone continuously for a full decade.

It’s the perfect self-perpetuating cycle:  (1) They hate us and want to attack us because we’re over there; therefore, (2) we have to stay and proliferate ourselves because they hate us and want to attack us; (3) our staying and proliferating ourselves makes them hate us and want to attack us more; therefore, (4) we can never leave, because of how much they hate us and want to attack us.  The beauty of this War on Terror — and, as the last two weeks have demonstrated, War is the bipartisan consensus for what we are and should be doing to address Terrorism — is that it forever sustains its own ostensible cause.

For the war hawks, many of whom are Republicans, you may see this as a pro-life war in that it protects your life and your families life and ensures your freedoms, etc. This is not pro-life for all of the innocent deaths in every war.

May 13, 2011

Oh Great of the Day

by Vince

Some news on our toxic relationship with Pakistan and their military:

 Despite mounting pressure from the United States since the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden,Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, seems unlikely to respond to American demands to root out other militant leaders, according to people who have met with him in the last 10 days.

While the general does not want to abandon the alliance completely, he is more likely to pursue a strategy of decreasing Pakistan’s reliance on the United States, and continuing to offer just enough cooperation to keep the billions of dollars in American aid flowing, said a confidant of the general who has spoken with him recently.

Mind you, we have provided $20 billion since 2001 (that figure doesn’t include covert aid) to Pakistan. This article is worth a full read; it’s quite interesting.

May 10, 2011

For Those Who Agree With Torturing

by Vince

Whether or not torturing (or it’s euphemism “enhanced interagation techniques” (EIT) lead America Navy Seals to OBL, it strips humans of their dignity and God-given image.

Now that that is out of the way, I want to confront this ideology mix-up. When the Khmer Rouge (the architects of the Killing Field in Cambodia) tortured, we called it inhumane and torture. When the Nazi’s tortured Jews, we called it inhumane and torture. When America tortures terrorist suspects (while there are more effective legal alternatives out there), we call it “protecting our country”, “defending liberty”, “fighting terrorists”, or some other Americanized slogan that could go on a bumper sticker.

I want to know why we don’t see our torture as what it is: torture. It isn’t any nice, prettier, or better if we do it, too. We will go down in history as torturing and we have little room to condemn others (even radical Muslims who torture Americans and their own). An eye for an eye, even when doing it for “just” causes, leaves all blind.

This all reminds me of the death penalty and the war on terror. We kill people who kill people to show that killing people is bad. We torture people who torture people to try to attain some righteous outcome. That doesn’t sound like logical math to me.

May 2, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince

“Whenever America uses violence in a way that makes its citizens cheer, beam with nationalistic pride, and rally around their leader, more violence is typically guaranteed. Futile decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may temporarily dampen the nationalistic enthusiasm for war, but two shots to the head of Osama bin Laden—and the We are Great and Good proclamations it engenders—can easily rejuvenate that war love. One can already detect the stench of that in how Pakistan is being talked about: did they harbor bin Laden as it seems and, if so, what price should they pay? We’re feeling good and strong about ourselves again—and righteous—and that’s often the fertile ground for more, not less, aggression.”
Glenn Greenwald

May 2, 2011

Reflecting on the Murder of Osama Bin Laden

by Vince

I put off my lesson plans today in school and dedicated all 5 of my classes to discussing this momentous world event, listening to Obama’s speech, and reflecting on our own thoughts and reactions. It produced some interesting thoughts and teachable moments.

I centered much of the discussion surrounding Osama Bin Laden’s (OSB from here on out) death around these questions:

  1. When did you first hear the news? How did you hear it? What was your first reaction?
  2. Do you feel any safer now that OSB is dead?
  3. Should be celebrate the death of OSB or anyone? Should it matter that many Americans have celebrated OSB’s death just as many people from around the globe celebrated on September 11th, 2001? (One caveat: the American military is not bent on killing innocent people – terrorists are. However, drone attacks by the American military kill many innocent people).
  4. Should we of buried OSB in another way instead of at sea? Does it matter to respect his corpse? What message does it send to the Muslim world when we respect (or do not) their customs?
  5. Will OSB’s death impact the war on terror? Will it be the demise of al Qaeda? Will it eventually bring out troops home?

Many of these questions, to me, do not have easy, simple answers, let alone answers at all.

In retrospect, this was one momentous weekend. The royal wedding was Friday, the anniversary of Hitler killing himself (1945) and Saigon falling to the Communists (1975) was Saturday, and OSB’s death was Sunday.

Here are some images from outside the White House as well as a telling quote from presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on the death of OSB:

Welcome to hell, bin Laden.