LAW: CURRENT CASES AND OPINIONS

ANALYSIS OF THE LEGAL WORLD AND ITS RELEVANCE TO OUR LIVES BOTH TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A PRE-LAW STUDENT

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Terror in the Process of Repressing Terrorist Acts


"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." Article 1 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Over the past few years the U.S. has been under a great deal of scrutiny due to the treatment of its detainees specifically after the 2004 release of photos showing U.S. troops beating, intimidating and sexually abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. After Pentagon's long attempt to omit the Geneva Convention ban, which explicitly prohibits "humiliating and degrading treatment" of prisoners, the ban was included in the revised Army Field Manual entitled "Human Intelligence Collector Operations,"released on Wednesday, which applies to all the armed services and updates the 1992 version. For the first time, according to Lt. Gen. John Kimmons Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the manual bans beating prisoners, sexually humiliating them, threatening them with dogs, depriving them of food or water, performing mock executions, shocking them with electricity, burning them, causing other pain and a technique called "water boarding" that simulates drowning which have become infamous since the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the United States. This past week, President George W. Bush also admitted to the existence of secret CIA prisons around the world where terrorist suspects are held and interrogated including the controversial U.S Naval Base prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There were also talks of a secret section in the manual allowing certain interrogation methods that would remain unknown to political enemies however, Kimmons assured that there is no such section. These realities, although more promising than believed before will continue to create more criticism of the Bush Administration by human rights activists, the people and other countries.


One of the main grounds of criticism that remains towards the Bush Administration stems from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s claim made at the start of the U.S. war on terror. Rumsfeld continues to state that all prisoners are treated humanely and in a manner that is "consistent with the Geneva Convention". George W. Bush however has claimed that because this is not a conventional war "unlawful enemy combatants" would not be afforded the same protections of the Geneva Convention. The ban does not cover the Central Intelligence Agency, which has continuously been scrutinized for mistreatment of prisoners since the September 11th attacks. This leaves a wide gap in the ban and how it will be implemented. If certain individuals are protected and others are not, what is the purpose of the ban? The United States began this war to bring justice both to itself and other countries under terrorist threat. Although initially supported by most, this war continues to bring more casualties than necessary and more controversy than most other wars. If the U.S. is trying to bring an end to terrorism why are detainees being inhumanely treated in manners worse than any terrorist attack caused? The U.S. should be treating its detainees with the utmost respect to prove the difference in the ethics between terrorists and a country that has been devastated by the work of those terrorists. The State Department which had been against omitting the ban told the Pentagon that incorporating Geneva into the new directive would prove to American allies that the American military is following "common standards" rather
than making up its own rules thus creating more opportunities to triumph in this war. As of now the U.S. is setting the wrong example by doing just that and is opening more doors that will only cause more humiliation and devastation for this country. The U.S. continues the streak of terror throughout its process of repressing terrorist attacks creating more harm than good.

There have been several horrific photographs taken of the type of violence that goes on in Iraq and other detainee facilities around the world. It is important for the public to view these photographs in order to understand the magnitude of the abuse. Although the photographs are disturbing they are necessary in educating citizens who are continuously fed one side of the war story. A Stanford University prison experiment from the 1970's proves that mistreatment of prisoners only creates more hatred and anger both in the officers and in the prisoners. If a simple experiment had such grave consequences one can only imagine the magnitude of the damage created in facilities such as that in Guantanomo Bay, Cuba, Abu Ghraib, Iraq and as revealed early last week, around the world. Please view these photographs at your own discretion and perhaps you too will take a stand on this issue.



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