Monday, July 17, 2006

Hyman's Point Misses the Point

Mark Hyman breathlessly tells us of the horrors that will befall us in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling concerning detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Soon, these terrorists will be enjoying color T.V., media appearances, and might very well be free to roam U.S. streets as they await trial.

What total crap.

Hyman’s editorializing is based on a host of nonsensical and non-applicable premises.

First, Hyman spends most of the editorial talking about treatment of prisoners at Gitmo, but that wasn’t the issue of the Supreme Court ruling. The ruling simply stated that holding people without charging them with a crime or allowing them recourse to challenge their detention was unconstitutional.

But as long as he brought it up, let’s just note for the record that although Hyman assures us that he’s been to Gitmo and that prisoners are treated wonderfully, not everyone agrees with this. In fact, the
FBI itself has charged that the military has abused prisoners in any number of ways. The abuse has been widespread and publicized enough to get the attention of Amnesty International as well. And it’s also become clear that this wasn’t simply a few “rogue” soldiers mistreating detainees, but that President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld were aware of reports of abuse, and tacitly approved of it. Gitmo has become an international embarrassment as a result, with even our closest allies pushing for its closure.

Second, Hyman’s argument is based on the assumption that everyone detained at Gitmo are terrorists. But, of course, they haven’t been charged, let alone found guilty, of anything. In fact, many have been found to pose no danger to the U.S.

Third, even if the only abuse detainees suffered was indefinite incarceration without the ability to hear the charges against them, cross-examine their accusers, and have their day in court, that in and of itself is abuse.

All the Supreme Court said was that detainees should have a chance to challenge their incarceration. If, as Hyman assumes, all are guilty of terrorism, then there will be no “detainee dilemma.” They should simply be charged with their crimes, stand trial, and be sent to prison if found guilty. The fact that Hyman says the Supreme Court’s ruling will cause problems is based on the tacit assumption that there isn’t enough clear evidence to charge or convict the individuals held.

Hyman notes the irony of those accused of terrorism having better lives in prison under U.S. protection than living free in their home countries. But what about the irony of the U.S., under the aegis of doing away with totalitarian and violent regimes, has taken to using exactly the tactics of such regimes in order to win the “war on terror”?

Of what value is democracy when we throw away its most basic principles when they happen to become inconvenient?

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 4.48


At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard that some of the Bush Chickenhawks are spouting nonsense such as this argument: If we have to adhere to this Supreme Court ruling, Our Troops (TM) will be endangered because they'll have to read terrorists their Miranda Rights prior to a military action.

What a bunch of garbage.

I wasn't a big supporter of Tricky Dick, but his administration looks SO GOOD compared to that of Halicheney, McFlightsuit, and Rove, Inc.


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