Thursday, February 10, 2005

Guantanamo goes mainstream 

Wednesday night I watched one of my favorite shows, NYPD Blue. The plot of this episode was disturbing and horrifying.
An Army recruiter is shot in front of a school, and the first suspect found by the detectives is a teenager - 17 years old - who had argued previously with the recuiters because his brother died in Iraq. And the boy admitted he had learned how to shoot in Scouts. Oh, and he also had taken a school trip to Spain and Morocco the previous summer.
So, according to the Army CID guy helping the NYPD investigate the case, the boy fit the profile of an "enemy combatant" and the CID was therefore entitled to use "special interrogation methods" to force him to confess. The good detectives of the squad, though, wanted to investigate a little further. and of course they finally found the real culprit. And in the end, the boy went up to the recruiter and basically apologized for causing so much trouble.
What was horrifying about it was, first, that on the basis of coincidence, with zero evidence, the Army CID type concluded the boy was guilty and was all set to ship the boy to Guantanamo, and second, that everybody else in the squad accepted without a murmur the right of the CID to do this. They all acted like torturing the boy and condemning him without a trial would be perfectly OK if they couldn't find a better suspect.
I was reminded of this plotline when I read Digby today writing about Death in Life "We are disappearing people, rendering them to friendly governments that aren't afraid to put the electrode to genitals and threaten with dog rape. And we are building our own infrastructure of torture and extra legal imprisonment. It is a law of human nature that if you build it, they will come. This infrastructure will be expanded and bureaucratized. It's already happening. And when they decide, as Professor Yoo has already decided, that an election is a sanctioning of anything the President chooses to do in the War on Terror, it is only a matter of time before internal political enemies become a threat.
And then it will be us."
Perhaps it is time for people like Digby and Kos and Atrios and BOP and Frog and the other progressive bloggers to start making some back-up plans, like European mirror sites. And does anyone know if the Weathermen safe houses still exist? Canada would welcome you all, of course.

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