Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oh, my goodness, there’s violence today; isn’t that different

I meant to say in the last post that I don’t consider it a huge security risk that an Emirati multinational corporation rather than a British or an American one will be hiring the illegal immigrants who work in our ports.

General Bantz Craddock, head of US Southern Command, which includes Guantanamo, admits the use of restraint chairs on hunger-strikers, and, more or less, to using brutality to try to break the hunger strike. “Pretty soon it wasn’t convenient, and they decided it wasn’t worth it. A lot of the detainees said: ‘I don’t want to put up with this. This is too much of a hassle.’” Imagine what sort of a “hassle” it takes to dissuade people already committed to starving themselves to death. One form of hassle revealed by the NYT: not leaving the NG tube in in between feedings, but removing and re-inserting it each time. That’s where the argument that this is being done on medical grounds falls away, and it becomes torture, pure and simple. Craddock, however, portrays the hunger-strikers as pampered children, “indulged,” the says (I’d have liked the actual quotation), “to the point that they had been allowed to choose the color of their feeding tubes.”

The US is still paying Iraqi newspapers to print puff pieces, despite Rumsfeld’s denials last week. Or perhaps not. Rummy said Tuesday that “It was put under review, and I don’t have knowledge as to whether or not it’s been stopped.”

Rummy on Iraq: “There has been sectarian violence in that part of the world for decades. ... And so it’s -- to isolate out violence today and say, ‘Oh, my goodness, there’s violence today; isn’t that different’... would be out of context, because in fact there’s been incredible violence in that country for year after year after year.” After year.

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