There were two posts on different blogs I read on Wednesday that did an excellent job of framing the absurdity of the hyperbole surrounding Guantanamo. The first is from Bad Hair Blog and details the conditions and treatment French journalist Florence Aubenas experienced during her brutal 157 day captivity. (HT Michelle Malkin ).
Aubenas, mind you, was an observer, not a combatant. Here’s how she reports she was treated:
—She was held in a cellar that was 13′ x 6′, and only 5′ high, along with as many as a dozen other hostages. The cellar was totally dark. There was no light in the cellar. There was no window, and the cellar had no ventilation.
— She was bound and blindfolded all the time she was there.
— The hostages were not allowed to speak. If they spoke, they were beaten. Ms Aubenas states she was beaten twice for having been accused of speaking.
— Other punishments included having their hands painfully bound behind their back, and the withholding of meals and water.
— Aubenas said that her captors imposed a daily limit of 80 spoken words and 24 paces to go to the bathroom.
— She realised only towards the end of her captivity that she had been kept in the same basement as Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi, her Iraqi guide.
— Which brings me to my next point: imagine being a woman, held in a cell with men, during your menses. For five months.
— She spent her days sitting cross-legged on her mattress. She ate with her hands bound.
— Several times she was beaten by her guards because she had moved or because they thought that she had whispered to another hostage taken into the basement.
Bad Hair Blog goes on to contrast the grim fate of the so-called 20th hijacker, Mohammed al Qahtani, who has been held in an air-conditioned cell large enough for him to stand and move around, fed three meals a day, and allowed to exercise daily. He has also had to suffer the following:
According to Time Mag,
Now the interrogators could use stress strategies like standing for prolonged periods, isolation for as long as 30 days, removal of clothing, forced shaving of facial hair, playing on “individual phobias” (such as dogs) and “mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing.”
When things got rough, “interrogators poured bottles of water on al-Qahtani’s head when he refused to drink”, and made him listen to Christina Aguilera’s music, or watch a puppet show. When he became dehydrated because of refusing to drink water, he given an IV drip, given an EKG, transferred to a hospital, a CT scan is performed, and hooked up to a heart monitor, which, as Lileks said,
This guy got more medical care than anyone in non-Gitmo Cuba.
That’s what Amnesty International’s calling the “gulag of our time”?
For Ms. Aubenas, her words had painful consequences while in captivity. Those bloviating in the Senate and on behalf of “neutral” agencies suffer no such consequences, but it might be a useful object lesson if they could since they appear to have trouble comprehending a dictionary. As for those who advocate closing Gitmo down, Varifrank did his usual excellent job of getting to the heart of the issue:
Now, think of all the things that happened afer 9/11. Think of that pitch that The President threw in Shea Stadium just a few days after the Massacre. Think of when we all wondered if we would ever see planes in the sky again. Think of the fear we had for the Winter Olympics in 2002. Think of every event, every parade, every gathering, every opportunity that could have and probalby should have been attacked or destroyed since then.
Ponder that for a bit. Do your own math on the number of times you’ve flown since 9/11, the number of concerts youve been to, the amount of raw unrefined freedom that you’ve tasted since 9/11. Remember that for a few days after that utterly horrible day we all thought it would end. Remember how politics as gone on as normal since then, that elections have been held, the President has been accused of the very worst crimes by people around the world, large and small,rich and poor none of which have served a moment in jail for their seditious and sometimes treasonous acts. Not once, not nowhere. Its not even been suggested.
Think of the Rose Parades, Thanksgiving Day parades, St. Patricks day parades, and so on.
Think of the Olympics.
And remember, Without Guantanamo, Without the ability to gather information and to literally chase the terrorists from one end of the globe to the other, shut down their funding, find the safe houses, shut down their cells, none of that would have occured.
There is a lot more good stuff in both of these blogs and I strongly urge you to follow the links and read them in their entirety to gain some perspective. Perspective seems to be a commodity in short supply lately, but you’ll have hit the mother lode with these.