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Old 06-02-2005, 11:58 AM   #196
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Quote:
The John McCain of Bagram Prison
Torture is torture, in Vietnam or Afghanistan.

Margaret Carlson

June 2, 2005

On Memorial Day, I watched the A&E movie about former Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McCain's 5½ years in a Vietnam prison. McCain's face was beaten to a bloody pulp, his bones shattered, his teeth knocked out. Guards hung him from the ceiling by his arms, one of which was broken. It was so painful I had to return repeatedly to my crossword puzzle.

The next morning, I watched President Bush at his news conference respond to a question about an Amnesty International report condemning U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, Guantanamo and elsewhere. Bush called charges of abuse "absurd" allegations by detainees "who hate America."

But how does he explain the Army? The New York Times recently obtained the Army's 2,000-page file on deaths at its Bagram, Afghanistan, detention center. It's as chilling to read as it is to watch McCain's crippled leg being crushed.

The John McCain of this report is an uneducated Afghan villager known as Dilawar, who was sent by his mother to pick up his sisters for a Muslim holiday on Dec. 5, 2002. Before he got there, Dilawar was rounded up as a suspect in a rocket attack.

For much of his five days in custody, Dilawar was brutalized and hung from the ceiling of his cell, even though no one thought he was a terrorist or had any useful information. Military police took turns kicking him above the knee because they found it amusing to hear him cry out "Allah."

When he was too weak to follow orders during interrogations, one sergeant grabbed him by his beard, crushed his bare foot with her boot and then reared back and kicked him in the groin.

That night, an interrogator summoned an MP when he noticed Dilawar's head slumped forward in his hood and his hands limp in his chains. After pressing his fingernail to see that blood was still circulating, the MP left him there. On Dec. 10, dragged in for what would be his last interrogation, Dilawar was incoherent. Angry at his unresponsiveness, an interrogator held him upright by twisting his hood around his neck. An intelligence specialist who spoke Dilawar's Pashto dialect was disturbed enough to notify the officer in charge. It was too late. Dilawar was already dead.

Were the Vietnamese guards who savagely beat McCain any worse?

Then-Lt. Gen. Daniel McNeill, U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, initially claimed that Dilawar wasn't abused and died of natural causes, according to the Times. The case was virtually closed until a March 4, 2003, article in the Times reported that an autopsy found Dilawar died from blunt force injuries that shattered his lower extremities.

The Army reopened the inquiry and, more than two years later, seven soldiers were found complicit in his death. McNeill, on the other hand, was promoted.



Shortly after Dilawar's death, Bagram's chief interrogator, Army Capt. Carolyn Wood, was deployed to Abu Ghraib.

The outrage that followed photos from Abu Ghraib has subsided. Only one of the five top officers at the prison — a reservist — was reprimanded. White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, who wrote a memo saying the Geneva Convention protections against torture don't always apply, was elevated to attorney general. Hearings by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) were quickly put on hold. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has called for them to restart, but so quietly it's as if he were calling on some other party in control of some other Senate to hold them.

I understand Graham's reluctance. I come from a military family, and I risk being called unpatriotic if I so much as criticize unarmored Humvees.

Bush maintains that only enemies of America would allege such abuse. But if the charges are true, it is the perpetrators and their superiors who show contempt for America and what it represents.

Watching the government stonewalling and lie about the fatal beating of an innocent man is as disturbing as watching the torture John McCain suffered 30 years ago rather than betray what America stands for.
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Old 06-02-2005, 12:12 PM   #197
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that's disgusting.
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Old 06-02-2005, 01:35 PM   #198
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What Deep's editorial does allude to, but does not specifically spell out.....

Is it was the SAME PEOPLE as Abu G that killed the taxi driver.

It is NOT representative of ALL of the US Soldiers that were running detention centers.

The SAME UNIT ASW ABU G......SAME COMMANDER as ABU G.

Yes it is disgusting. But it is NOT representative of the US Military and the way decent soldiers have handled themselves.

This deserves another thread. The investigation overwealmingly showed that all of the people held in the detention center that Deep's editorial refers to felt that the American Servicemen treated them correctly.

I am not going to derail it here...but the EDITORIAL also omits the that there have been more servicement charged in relation to this incident and the up to 27 have been found derelict of duty.
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Old 06-02-2005, 02:25 PM   #199
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This thread has gone horribly wrong.
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Old 06-02-2005, 03:01 PM   #200
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Originally posted by Dreadsox


It is NOT representative of ALL of the US Soldiers that were running detention centers.
I agree with your statement.

I don't believe in either/ or

all / none.

I want a system where safeguards are in place and prisoners have basic rights.

Where they can not be held as "ghost detainees" with no oversight.

This is what the USSR did to people that they believed were a threat to their government.


Quote:
Torture, Cover-Up At Gitmo?
May 1, 2005


The story that Sgt. Erik Saar, a soldier who spent three months in the interrogation rooms at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, tells Correspondent Scott Pelley paints a picture of bizarre, even sadistic, treatment of detainees in the American prison camp.

Experts in intelligence tell 60 Minutes that if what Saar says is true, some soldiers at Guantanamo have undermined the war on terror, bungling the interrogation of important prisoners.

60 Minutes also reveals previously secret emails from FBI agents at Guantanamo that warn FBI headquarters that prisoners are being tortured.

"I think the harm we are doing there far outweighs the good, and I believe it's inconsistent with American values," says Saar. "In fact, I think it's fair to say that it’s the moral antithesis of what we want to stand for as a country."

Saar volunteered for Guantanamo Bay in 2002. He was a U.S. Army linguist, an expert in Arabic, with a top-secret security clearance. He was assigned to translate during interrogations. The prisoners, about 600 in all, were mostly from the battlefields of Afghanistan. And Saar couldn’t wait to get at them after what the administration said: the men were "among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth."

With that in mind, Saar went to work, but he was surprised by what he found. How many prisoners did he think were the worst of the worst – real terrorists?

"At best, I would say there were a few dozen," says Saar. "A few dozen [out of 600]."

Who were the rest of the guys? "Some of them were conscripts who actually were forced to fight for the Taliban, so actually had taken up arms against us, but had little or no choice in the matter," says Saar. "Some of them were individuals who were picked up by the Northern Alliance, and we have no idea why they were there, and we didn't know exactly what their connections were to terrorism."

However they got there, Saar and the rest of Guantanamo’s intelligence personnel were told that the captives were not prisoners of war, and therefore, were not protected by the Geneva Convention.

"Your training in intelligence had told you what about the Geneva Conventions?" asks Pelley.

"That they were never to be violated," says Saar. "As a matter of fact, the training for interrogators themselves, their entire coursework falls under the umbrella of you never violate the Geneva Conventions."

"If the rules of the Geneva Convention did not apply, what rules did apply?" asks Pelley.

"I don't think anybody knew that," says Saar.

And so, Saar said, some U.S. military intelligence personnel used cruelty, and even bizarre sexual tactics against the prisoners. Saar has written a book, "Inside the Wire," about his experiences at Guantanamo. Penguin Press will release it on Tuesday.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/...le691602.shtml
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Old 06-02-2005, 04:16 PM   #201
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox

I believe that there would have been prosecution, yes with or without the photos.
Well, I guess a follow up question is - have their been any cases of prosecution for abuse (or any other 'crimes' in the field) that haven't first been publicly/media exposed? That's not a loaded question, and if the answer is 'no' I'm not going to turn around and say "See!" What I'm getting at is, knowing the way Amnesty do business, in part, they see themselves as guiders of attention. If all eyes are on something/someone, they are less likely to do wrong. Prevention of a crime as much as reaction to a crime.

Now, you know the day those photos came out, the Pentagon probably went into a frenzy (a) making sure there were no more PR bombs like this waiting to explode, and (b) making damn sure there'd be none in the future. If they were kinda lax or loose about it before, they certainly wouldn't be afterwards.

Amnesty don't play politics. If you are a member of AI and receive all their mail etc you'll see it's pretty rare for them to comment on something that's already got the media spotlight on it. They may give their take on something (and you may often see an AI representative questioned in the media about something specific), but where they are trying to focus your attention will be to somewhere or something that they think doesn't have the appropriate heat on it. For example the Iraq war happens and all the world is paying attention to the Middle East and AI are waving their hands around "Hey! Don't stop paying attention to Burma!!"

I think their thinking with the US prisons might be something along the lines of:

- The US military/government are incredibly PR sensitive. A regime in some far off country is not.
- We can easily keep the heat on them and we know they'll react to that.
- By keeping the spotlight on, and keeping the media buzz up, we know there'll be plenty of memo's flying around the Pentagon "RE: PRISONERS. DON'T FUCK UP!!"

To simply kick the US, or anyone else, is not AI's style at all. I think on their info there may be some truth to the stories (as in, they think there's some truth), and they believe it's their job to keep the pressure on and the standards high. Once everyone turns their backs, that's when risk rises.

As for the headline.... that's AI's game. As I said they are usually highlighting things that are not the trendy cause (I bet they never had to mention Tibet once in the 90's), but they do play that game and like anyone will make exagerrated claims for PR and headlines. As others have said, that's a shame, but it's the world we live in. You need to make a lot of noise to get noticed.
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Old 06-02-2005, 08:44 PM   #202
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Comparison to gulags will hurt group’s credibility


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Amnesty International’s recent comparison of the United States prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the “gulags” of the former Soviet Union is simply outrageous and disgraceful.

The London-based group, in a 308-page report, branded the prison a human rights failure and urged that it be closed. They accused the United States of shirking its responsibility to set the bar for human rights protections and said Washington has instead created a new lexicon for abuse and torture.

“Guantanamo has become the gulag of our time,” Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan said.

This is reckless rhetoric that damages the credibility of an organization that has done good over the decades by spotlighting human rights abuses in various countries.

“Gulags” were forced labor camps that were set up to imprison political opponents and anyone who spoke out against the government in the former Soviet Union between 1930 and 1950. It is estimated that 50 million people died in these camps.

For the record, not one prisoner has died at Guantanamo Bay prison.

So why the hasty comparison between camps that held prisoners of conscience and a facility that confines terrorist prisoners of war?

Amnesty International was very critical of the prison scandal at Abu Ghraib and rightfully so, but that was an isolated incident that involved a few misguided guards acting on their own initiative. Those implicated are being dealt with appropriately.

The organization’s ill-advised comparison does nothing more than give aid and comfort to the same enemy that we are trying to defeat in the global war on terror.

Although some of these prisoners were battling and killing Americans, we can all agree that enemy combatants deserve humane treatment as dictated by the Geneva Convention.

But there is little evidence to suggest that the prisoners are not receiving exactly that.

The Amnesty report was also critical of what it called indefinite detention at the Guantanamo facility, but we were under the impression that the war on terror was still ongoing. Aren’t enemy combatants normally released at the end of the war?

Amnesty International deserves credit for its important work over many decades in focusing attention on human rights abuses. Its overblown gulag comparison, however, does nothing but hurt the organization’s credibility.
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Old 06-02-2005, 08:52 PM   #203
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Where did that come from?

(and I agree the Gulag comment is stupid, but I'd put it down to a very bad judgement by someone, and not something sinister)
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Old 06-02-2005, 10:09 PM   #204
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Quote:
Originally posted by Earnie Shavers
Where did that come from?

http://www.bgdailynews.com/articles/...ditorials.html


Quote:
For the record, not one prisoner has died at Guantanamo Bay prison.
How would any one know?


Quote:
Amnesty International was very critical of the prison scandal at Abu Ghraib and rightfully so, but that was an isolated incident that involved a few misguided guards acting on their own initiative
Sorry, not so isolated


Quote:
So why the hasty comparison between camps that held prisoners of conscience and a facility that confines terrorist prisoners of war?

The Soviets and their prisoners knew why they were put away. They had a term 5, 10, 20 years.
It is a fact that innocent people have been swept up and detained without charges.

Quote:
Although some of these prisoners were battling and killing Americans, we can all agree that enemy combatants deserve humane treatment as dictated by the Geneva Convention.
I can agree with this,
too bad the Bush Administration does not and has become an international pariah being compared to regimes that the whole world looks down upon.

Quote:
The Amnesty report was also critical of what it called indefinite detention at the Guantanamo facility, but we were under the impression that the war on terror was still ongoing. Aren’t enemy combatants normally released at the end of the war?
The only thing I can say about this
is that it is just stupid.
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Old 06-03-2005, 07:01 AM   #205
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Shamnesty International

By Melana Zyla Vickers Published 06/03/2005


The torture and abuse of terrorist suspects is very much in the news these days, so it's interesting to note the advice on the topic found in an Al Qaeda training manual seized some time ago in the U.K. The manual says that when captured or facing trial, "brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security." Noting the utility of the open U.S. media, the manual also calls "spreading rumors and writing statements that instigate people against the enemy" one of the top-five missions of the terrorist organization.


This is not to say that torture and abuse at the hands of American troops is always a figment of Al Qaeda propaganda: The Abu Ghraib prison scandal proves otherwise. But the manual sure puts Amnesty International's newest annual report, as well as recent claims of torture, Koran desecration, and other abuse, in perspective.



Al Qaeda knows better than any organization that its success depends on peeling both Muslim-world support and U.S. public support away from the Bush administration's war on terrorism. Consider the quasi-reasoned tone Osama bin Laden adopted in a recording he allegedly made last November, calling on the "people of America" to drop their support for the president. The recording was full of contemporary and historical allusions, as is the training manual. If Al Qaeda's savvy enough for that, it's savvy enough to know that civil liberties - even the civil liberties of accused bad guys - are a hot-button issue in the U.S.



In the U.S. alone, there are 65-plus lawsuits claiming abuse of detainees at American hands. There are still more legal demarches overseas. We've seen inaccurate Koran-desecration stories send Muslim crowds raging in protest. We have regular accounts of arrested terrorism suspects being sent to third countries where they face torture-driven interrogation. And, as if on cue, we have Amnesty International calling the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "the gulag of our time."



Naturally, the Bush administration is berating the organization for such a ridiculous comparison. After all, Guantanamo Bay's guards are under the microscope of human-rights lawyers all the time. The inmates are fairly treated. The guard-throws-Koran-in-toilet story was false. And claims that the inmates' detention oversteps the boundaries of international law have been responded to at the highest levels. Besides, the 500-600 Guantanamo detainees wouldn't be there if Al Qaeda hadn't killed 2,948 Americans and others on Sept 11, 2001.



Yet the civil-liberties argument continues. Combine its force with regular bad news out of Iraq, and an unnecessarily large amount of bungling by the Pentagon - such as failing to punish high-level officers for Abu Ghraib, or inadequately vetting the Newsweek report on the Koran when the reporters offered it - and it's quite difficult for the Bush administration to keep hearts and minds on its side.



Which is why it's partly up to the U.S. public to keep some perspective on the torture and abuse issue.



First and foremost, torture, abuse, killing, good guys running amok, these are all standard features of war. They occurred in the past and will again in the future. "War is cruelty," Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman said, and its cruelty is part of the reason the U.S. tries to avoid going to war in the first place. But of course, we are at war.



Second, human-rights watchdogs and lawyers are a veritable cottage industry these days. Whatever the international conflict, there is always a group of them around, wringing their hands, making their names known to newspapers, and pointing out, as if for the first time, that war is hell (another Sherman quotation). They're often well-meaning. But they may be getting wagged by the Al Qaeda training handbook without even knowing - or refusing to believe - it could be so.



Third, it's essential to know the messenger. In this case, Amnesty, the hand-wringer of the week, is no friend of American foreign policy. The group, whose roots lie with early 20th century leftists both here and in Britain, has always bent over backwards to make the capitalist U.S. look bad. Consider that the "Americas Regional Overview" in this 2005 annual report goes on at length about the U.S. and its detention camp, the U.S. and its horrible friend the government of Colombia, the U.S. and its evil counter-narcotics efforts in the region, yet makes not one mention of communist Fidel Castro's abominations in Cuba. Also, the report bends over backwards to blame the human-rights abuses of the quasi-communist Venezuelan government on those trying to unseat President Hugo Chavez.



The report's tone is reminiscent of its Cold War work, when Amnesty rather perversely thought it important to be even-handed in its assessment of Soviet human-rights abuses and our own. Considering Amnesty's fellow-traveler pedigree, perhaps it intended its Stalinist "gulag" comparison as a compliment.



The war against Al Qaeda has led U.S. troops and intelligence personnel to engage in some fairly despicable behavior, sometimes sanctioned, sometimes not. And this latest wave of complaints about the behavior won't be the last. Some of the behavior can be punished and stopped. But the war against terrorism is a real and necessary one, and immunization against its cruelties is necessary if the U.S. is to win.

http://www.techcentralstation.com/060305B.html
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Old 06-03-2005, 07:01 AM   #206
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The training Manual....where they are encouraged to make false allegations agains the US.

http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/trainingmanual.htm
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Old 06-03-2005, 07:37 AM   #207
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It is typical for some media to lick the feet of the Administration. Yes, the journalists! Maybe they´ll get invited to the White House Press Room next time..

Tech Central Station is "where free markets meet technology". That could be Wolfowitz speaking.

It doesn´t come as a surprise that TCS explains that "the most effective way to address all the MDGs [Millenium Development Goals by the UN] is therefore to leave the delivery of aid in the hands of private firms and individuals from developed countries, whose governments should refrain from taxing monies utilized by their citizens for investment and philanthropy in poor countries"

Yeah that´s the right system. Leave it to the Corporations philantrophy (har har) to donate the pennies, cut more taxes so the rich get richer. Actually perfect.

Whereas Bate, the author of above cited article, fails to understand basic principles of sustainable development, he has a well-written article on the subject of the WHO.

However, any criticism of AI just goes along with the government line. The psychological effect articles like that are trying to reach is to make the public feel uncomfortable about donating to help organizations. That´s immoral.

This sudden smear-campaign-tone can not be explained otherwise. I´m confident it is carried by the American conservative movement.

Titles like Shamnesty International enlight the gross incompetence of that type of journalists (?) in expressing themselves.
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Old 06-03-2005, 07:46 AM   #208
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PS. A spot by Exxon Mobil on the right side of the web page illustrates where the site stands when it comes to environmental issues.
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Old 06-03-2005, 09:59 AM   #209
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Shamnesty is about the same level as calling the GITMO base a Gulag.
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Old 06-03-2005, 10:01 AM   #210
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Hyperbole and Human Rights

By E. J. Dionne Jr.

Friday, June 3, 2005; Page A23

Why do President Bush's critics make life so easy for him?

At his news conference this week, Bush was asked about a report by Amnesty International in which Irene Khan, the group's secretary general, referred to the American detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as "the gulag of our times."


Not once but four times did Bush refer to the allegation as "absurd." And he tried to dismiss all questions about the U.S. government's treatment of the detainees as the product of anti-American propaganda.

Referring to Amnesty International, Bush said: "It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth."

The word Bush was looking for there was "dissemble," but never mind, we'll disassemble the president's remarks in a moment. What's maddening is that by reaching for the dramatic, overwrought and, yes, outrageous gulag metaphor, Amnesty's Khan let Bush slip right by the questions raised by American practices in Guantanamo and whether Guantanamo's problems are helping the "people who hate America" in their battle for world opinion.

But why so much fuss over a word? Because some words -- gulag is one, Holocaust is certainly another -- are freighted with such profound, chilling and specific historical meaning that they should never be used as attention-grabbing devices. More generally, a willingness to use hyperbolic language should never be confused with toughness.

Why does gulag matter? The word refers to the vast machinery of political subjugation created by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union and comes from the acronym for Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei , or Main Camp Administration. As my Post colleague Anne Applebaum noted in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Gulag," it eventually came to refer to "the system of Soviet slave labor itself, in all its forms and varieties."

These included "labor camps, punishment camps, criminal and political camps, women's camps, children's camps, transit camps," Applebaum wrote. Gulag also came to stand for "the Soviet repressive system itself," including "the arrests, the interrogations, the transport in unheated cattle cars, the forced labor, the destruction of families, the years spent in exile, the early and unnecessary deaths."

There are many problems in Guantanamo. They deserve attention and criticism. But Guantanamo is not "the gulag of our times."

Yesterday Khan continued to defend her word choice, both at a news conference in Tokyo and in a letter published in The Post. Responding to a Post editorial reproaching her, Khan said the critique of her language "risked letting a semantic argument overshadow extraordinary and unlawful U.S. policy and actions." But that point applies most of all to Khan herself. By reaching for the incendiary phrase, she made it much easier for Bush and his administration to evade Amnesty's legitimate call for outside scrutiny of the practices at Guantanamo.

The shame here is that Amnesty International has long been one of the world's essential organizations. Its willingness to attack dictatorships of the left and the right and to go after human rights abuses everywhere has won it the gratitude of oppressed people of all ideologies. Applebaum notes that Amnesty was one of the great sources of information on Soviet dissidents in the 1970s and 1980s. The organization will certainly survive this "semantic argument."

But I hope the group learns a lesson that all of Bush's opponents should also take to heart. That lesson is not to pull back from criticism or to cower before administration attacks. It's outrageous that Bush tried to dismiss all questions about practices in Guantanamo as the work of "people who hate America."

On the contrary, it's people who love America and the liberties it espouses who are most vehement in insisting that we live up to our creed. Those who care about the fate of our men and women in uniform worry how the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib might affect what happens to Americans taken prisoner in current and future wars.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) has introduced a bill to create a commission to study allegations of detainee abuse and point the way forward. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold hearings on the subject this month. These are not the actions of "absurd" people. They reflect the habits of truth-seekers and truth-tellers.

President Bush drives many people into a fury, and I empathize. But the negative passions the president inspires should not get in the way of the clarity, precision and tough-mindedness that effective opposition demands. Human rights are too important to be lost in bad metaphors.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...060201749.html
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