It seems to be something about this time of year... maybe it's just a coincidence that May or June seems to bring this sort of thing... to wit, the military is reporting the fifth "apparent suicide" (and sixth overall death) in the ignominious history of GTMO, America's own gulag, now proudly managed by the Obama Administration (via Candace).
Subject was Yemeni hunger striker, age 31, unrepresented until around February or so, and the government was doubtless giving whoever signed on to be his lawyers the runaround to the point where they never met their client... until eventually, Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih, aka al Hanashi, (ISN 078?), succumbed to the effects of his long-term hunger strike, the torture associated with government efforts to break his strike, and the endless, pointless injustice that has kept him locked up for over seven years, without charge, trial, hope, or point.
Maybe he was just a poor schmuck in the wrong place, handed over for a bounty, in which case, our government is responsible for the death of a (yet another) complete innocent. Maybe he was a Taliban fighter, in which case, he was entitled to humane and lawful treatment as a prisoner of war. Maybe he was worse-- in which case he was entitled to charge, counsel, and trial, before punishment. But that's apparently "pre-9-11 thinking". Despite inheriting the situation, the Obama Administration has given no one "hope" for any particular "change" in this department, and hence, this one is charged against its record (since my college classmate took office, two detainees have left GTMO alive, and now, one has left it dead).
I suppose in the kinder, gentler Obama Administration, we won't be hearing a callous Pentagon official call this "asymmetrical warfare"... but one has to admit that there was a certain... honesty... in the Bush Administration's total demonization approach, that seems to be missing from the Obama Administration's... total demonization approach.
I am reminded (h/t Bonnie) that I failed to clearly note that, even if our subject were a gen-u-ine terrorist or war criminal, he would still be entitled to humane, just and ethical treatment.
Both because "it's the right thing to do," and, this is more important (because it's supposed to mean something): our laws, treaties and Constitution require it. REQUIRE IT. And failing to provide such humane, just and ethical treatment is ITSELF A CRIME (a crime believed so serious by Congress at one time that depending on the circumstances it carries the death penalty).
Just something else we have to remember.
Posted by the talking dog at June 3, 2009 11:59 AM