June 02, 2005

The Gulag of Our Times, Revisited

The other day I wrote briefly about Amnesty International’s comparison of Gitmo to the Gulag. I didn’t bother to spell out the differences. They’re obvious to anyone who knows even a little about Stalin’s slave labor camps.

But it’s still nice to see the key differences cited by someone who does it as articulately as John Podhoretz does here.
Number of prisoners at Gitmo: approximately 600.

Number of prisoners in the Gulag: as many as 25 million, according to the peerless Gulag historian Anne Applebaum.

Number of camps at Gitmo: 1

Number of camps in the Gulag: At least 476, according to Applebaum.

Political purpose of Gulag: The suppression of internal dissent inside a totalitarian state.

Political purpose of Gitmo: The suppression of an international terrorist group that had attacked the United States, killing 3,000 people while attempting to decapitate the national government through the hijack of airplanes.

Financial purpose of Gulag: Providing totalitarian economy with millions of slave laborers.

Financial purpose of Gitmo: None.

Seizure of Gulag prisoners: From apartments, homes, street corners inside the Soviet Union.

Seizure of Gitmo prisoners: From battlefield sites in Afghanistan in the midst of war.
UPDATE: Don't miss this post at Beautiful Atrocities - In the Future, Everyone Will Be Hitler for 15 Minutes. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 2, 2005 04:40 PM

Comments

Thank You...your accuracy is appreciated.

Does anyone understand the mindset of these people?

Posted by: g at June 2, 2005 04:56 PM

g: Does anyone understand the mindset of these people?

"All press is good press"?

They're mistaken, if that's the case, but I'll bet that's what it is. At least that's part of it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 2, 2005 04:58 PM

"All press is good press"?

Nah, they really believe their rhetoric, and they consider us stupid for demanding a 1:1 parallel between Gitmo and the Gulag, and for quibbling over minor details such as you've listed. It's the "basic idea" that counts to them and they stand by their comparison.

Posted by: spaniard at June 2, 2005 05:49 PM

And have you all seen the most recent defenses of Irene Khan's usage of "gulag"? They claim that "The Right" is arguing over semantics! Damn straight! It cheapens the language and distracts people from REAL human rights abuses. The hypocrisy and the moral blindness on the Left is astounding...has it ever before been this bad?

Posted by: JABBER at June 2, 2005 05:59 PM

The hypocrisy and the moral blindness on the Left is astounding...has it ever before been this bad?

No, only since 1917. What is different today is that far more domestic organiziations are dominated by the left and those folks who used to be liberals have been pushed right or at least out of their old stomping grounds.

Posted by: chuck at June 2, 2005 06:09 PM

And in case someone wants to argue that prominant leftist like H.G. Wells and the Webbs were simply fooled, I will point out that Emma Goldman and Russell weren't, or a least not for long. The evidence of wrongdoing in the Soviet Union was available, the left just chose to ignore it. They still do, that is why such AI can equate such disparate things as Gitmo and the Gulag.

Posted by: chuck at June 2, 2005 06:16 PM

Please folks - get used to it - Americans are obviously the new Jews! This is the same extremist rhetoric that has been leveled at Israel for some time now (and that has permeated the culture of the UN with its bizarre repeated denunciations of Israel out of all proportion, given the actual state of the world). In fact, I read somewhere on the net today (could have been an article or a comment on a blog) that both Americans and foreigners alike in Iraq are routinely called "Jews". A recent survey of the ME showed a large number of folks estimating the Jewish population of the US to be something like 80%! Well, IMO, we're in good company and anyone who doesn't understand that Israel is the "canary in the coal mine" simply hasn't been paying attention.

Posted by: Caroline at June 2, 2005 06:27 PM

Jabber, if you look back and research and read all the praise heaped on the Soviet Union as the hope of mankind, and Stalin as the shepard of those hopes, the answer is definitely yes. Bertolt Brecht, who remains a great influence in American theatre to this day, wrote lamentations upon Stalin's death and accepted the Stalin Peace Prize in 1955 with delight, plucking down the monetary portion of that award into a Swiss bank account. If you think the Left is vile and hypocritical today, trust me, they didn't get that way overnight.

Posted by: Ray Zacek at June 2, 2005 06:27 PM

Americans and Jews are seen as the "money-changers". Well - that's my gross interpretation of what accounts for the hysteria and propoganda from the left. So, in their hysteria they make strange bedfellows with the Islamist propogandists. Never mind that should the latter ultimately prevail, their leftist enablers will be the first to be executed. I suppose its up to the rest of us to try to prevent the useful idiots from succumbing to their obvious fate.

Posted by: Caroline at June 2, 2005 06:46 PM

This is related.

Everyone should read Bill Whittle's latest essay, Sanctuary over at www.ejectejecteject.com. It's a very long read but it's worth it - his essay will definitely make you think about life in America.

Posted by: markytom at June 2, 2005 07:02 PM

Bertolt Brecht, who remains a great influence in American theatre to this day, wrote lamentations upon Stalin's death and accepted the Stalin Peace Prize in 1955 with delight, plucking down the monetary portion of that award into a Swiss bank account.

He also spent the years 1941-1947 in Santa Monica. Why not the Soviet Union, I ask. Just another good writer, hypocrite, general asshole, and political moron, I'm afraid. It seems to be fairly common on the left. See also Rousseau, Marx, Lenin, Hellman ("Every word she writes is a lie—including 'and' and 'the.' "), etc. in this connection. If these folks would confine themselves to being assholes they might be forgivable, but they preach and condemn everyone else.

Posted by: chuck at June 2, 2005 07:26 PM

Mike,

It makes me wonder, to those who genuinely feel Gitmo is a gulag, do they really believe America is a totalitarian state? Do they really believe that our government is throwing people into Gitmo simply for dissent? Concerns about certain aspects of the PATRIOT Act notwithstanding, we must remember that these detainees are al-qaeda operatives, caught on the battlefield. We're not just picking up people in libraries because they look at controversial websites. These are people engaged in acts against the U.S.

Let it also be known: If that mad butcher Stalin we're still alive, and AI say this about his regime, they'd all be in the REAL gulag, or murdered.

Posted by: Rafique Tucker at June 2, 2005 07:41 PM

Michael, Can you tell me what page you got the "Gulag" comparison from in the AI report? I didn't find it, or are people making it up that it's in the AI report? Any comments on what the AI report says?

Posted by: stan at June 2, 2005 08:28 PM

Stan - It's in the Forward by Irene Khan, the Secretary General of AI.

The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law.

Posted by: markytom at June 2, 2005 08:37 PM

I don't know if you've seen this already, Mr. Totten:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/03/international/middleeast/03lebanon.html

Apparently the idiots behind this car bombing didn't get the hint. You'd think they would've learned something after Hariri's death.

Posted by: RG at June 2, 2005 08:39 PM

I hope you don't mind, Mike, but I disagree. I know that is weird for you on this website and all, but since you are a pretender, let's have a go:

Number of prisoners: uh, yeah, that's 300+ reported at Gitmo...but do ya think that's accurate? Do you think that Joe Totten in 1930's Russia knew what was going on with the Gulags and all that? or maybe his media let him down so he didn't know all that??? Nah, nothing bad ever happens to Mike. Uh oh, what about those 68,000 "detainees" in Iraq? Do they count? Not according to Joe Totten coz they ain't in the same camp! Suckers, ha ha!

And the best part is; we're only two years into our "Gulag" zone, so give us more time (or Pudhurtz!), we'll kill some shit yet.

But seriously, i think it's great that your fucking answer to a charge is to point out that we're not as bad as the Stalin era...keep reaching for the star Mike, for reals!

Also, unlike you, I'm a real left coaster, born in Seattle (nigger on welfare all my life!) and I'm gonna be in Portland this weekend - drop me a line at the above address, lets get together?

Posted by: burnplant at June 2, 2005 09:50 PM

oh, man. i come off like a total fucking tool in that post. I'm not displaying any of my mad democratic ass-kicking skillz! Shit. must be your mad 1997 $1 Photo booth badass face fucking me up?

I think i meant to say; godamn, bitch, give the Busheses some time, they'll get up to Gulag level yet, they only been at it two mfing years...biotch.

Posted by: burnplant at June 2, 2005 09:58 PM

"Does anyone understand the mindset of these people?"

Yes of course. Koffi Annan, the faculties of most universities, Jacques "the worm" Chirac, the Eurocrats in Brussels whose plans for a fascist European superstate were just dealt a blow at the polls, Michael Moore, the anti-globalization street protestors ( who are objectively pro-fascist), parts of the editoral boards of the NYT, LAT, WaPo...they all understand the mindset of these people, because all of the entities and people listed above live agree with such foolishness, and they all exist in a self-contained, mutually-reinforcing bubble of idiocy. These people woke up one day, realized the 1960s was over, and worse, that capitalism was triumphant. Then, instead of accepting reality and getting on with life, they immediately went into a state of chronic denial and anger. You see, in their minds, the US is always and first suspected of doing bad things.

But you see, people like Rush, Drudge and Fox News also understand their mindset, along with just about everyone else. Time will solve this problem. In fact, it already has to some degree. Hence the decreasing relevance of outfits like Amnesty International.

Posted by: freeguy at June 2, 2005 10:01 PM

damn. this must be some good shit, coz my gramma® getting worse and i'm feeling like fucking up some arabs...from my laptop...y'know, safe at home like totten.

Sure, i says to my stoned self, tuff guys like Me and totten could enlist, but shit, that bro is like 33 and has that ingrown dick and shit? how you gonna stand up to arabs when you got reverse dick like totten?

anyway, my keyboard kicks sand nigger ass, just like cafetotten...man it feels good to be a gangster@!

Posted by: burnplant at June 2, 2005 10:03 PM

Some "nigger" bloke wrote: "Also, unlike you, I'm a real left coaster, born in Seattle (nigger on welfare all my life!) and I'm gonna be in Portland this weekend - drop me a line at the above address, lets get together?"

No doubt, the open minded, never so "fundie" black and white Totten will be happy to imbibe a few moderate dances with the young "welfare queen" from Seattle, eh? :)

Posted by: Marc Lamb at June 2, 2005 10:11 PM

Howard Dean, darling of the typical liberal continues: "anyway, my keyboard kicks sand nigger ass, just like cafetotten...man it feels good to be a gangster@!"

Sheesh, I fear for all those GOPer's in 2006, folks. This kinda steamroller stuff is just gonna roll 'em over!

Posted by: Marc Lamb at June 2, 2005 10:20 PM

Perhaps the earnest Mr. Podhoretz can next tackle the differences between his butt and a hole in the ground.

I'll agree that the use of the word 'gulag' was unfortunate and wrong. But that doesn't mean that everything's okay with the Guantanamo camp.

Let's do a little rewrite:

"The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay is built on the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law."

Let's forget the word gulag and concentrate on the latter part of the sentence, that's what's important.

Posted by: Michael Farris at June 2, 2005 10:26 PM

Is it possible that the "left" only cares about African-Americans if they vote for the proper canidates?

Stan you are not Burnplant by any chance, are you?

Posted by: Mike #3or4 at June 2, 2005 10:39 PM

Burnplant,

You are so banned. Don't apologize or ask to come back. You can't.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 2, 2005 11:51 PM

Also, Burnplant, if you change computers to post again I will just delete your comments. It only takes a click of the mouse.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 2, 2005 11:53 PM

Michael Farris: that doesn't mean that everything's okay with the Guantanamo camp

I never once said or even implied otherwise.

If someone accuses the Democratic Party of being Stalinist, is it really necessary for you to acknowledge that the Democrats are flawed when defending them from the charge of being Stalinists? I don't think so, but perhaps it's just me.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 2, 2005 11:56 PM

"I never once said or even implied otherwise."

Nor did ever once say or imply that you did (easy game to play).

Nonetheless, the debate has now been reframed. Instead of "Is what's going on at Guantanamo right?" the new debate is "Is it accurate to compare Guantanamo directly with the Soviet Gulags?" I don't think this was accidental.

And yes, I think it's more important to examine the faults of the democratic party than to waste more than 2 seconds defending it against ridiculous hyperbolic arguments of Stalinist leanings - it's called staying on message.

Which is more important: A one-word bad analogy or what's going on at Guantanamo? For me, it's the latter.

Posted by: Michael Farris at June 3, 2005 12:51 AM

Thanks, Michael, for putting facts into context!

Posted by: jd at June 3, 2005 04:26 AM

Michael,
I had a really good comment in the works, and then I read "burnplant's" comments and my intelligent thoughts were annihilated.

The truly sad part about Khan's gulag comments are the comparisons they draw. She entirely undermines her endeavor.

When I read a comment on that I think of Soviet gulags and how bad they were, not the poor treatment of prisoners at Gitmo.

There are definite abuses going on at Gitmo, but Khan chose to push a political agenda against Bush and the US military instead of addressing the problems.

Even worse, her comments make me - in Lebanon - throw away her analysis. The Lebanon pages don't even come close to depicting all of the abuses in this country. So, her gulag comparison about the US makes me think she isn't really out to defend global human rights, but that she really wants to just stick it to the Bush administration.

If Guantanamo is the gulag of our times, then what are Syrian prisons. Syrian prisons are worse than medieval racks. They are worse than Abu Ghraib. I guess the only comparison is to Nazi death camps, but then that undermines any comment against Syria because they are not commiting genocide.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at June 3, 2005 04:30 AM

As Michael Farris's comments so aptly demonstrate, the Left wants the privilege of using irresponsible, destructive language without having to be responsible for it. They want to be able to inflict the damage but oh big deal, they say, when they're called out on their tomfoolery.

Posted by: spaniard at June 3, 2005 05:15 AM

Which is more important: A one-word bad analogy or what's going on at Guantanamo?

The one-word analogy because it's only the latest in a series of such one-word analogies from "nazi" to "fascist", etc. that the Left has used to degrade the political climate of this country. So far we've come to expect this from the rank and file tomfools, but not so much from their supposedly respectable spokespersons.

Posted by: spaniard at June 3, 2005 05:31 AM

There are definite abuses going on at Gitmo, but Khan chose to push a political agenda against Bush and the US military instead of addressing the problems

Irene Khan and Amnesty's director William Schultz both believe that, as a 'hyperpower', America is somehow directly responsible for the actions of every government around the world. Khan said:
"The USA, as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power, sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide."
Amnesty's leaders seem to believe that, if the US is perfect, then all other leaders will follow our wonderful, shining example, and they will be perfect too. More proof that they're delusional.

They also see American hyperpower, and the Bush administration as a threat to international institutions, like the UN and AI. Which is why they focus all of their anger and bile on Bush, and none on genocidal leaders like Kim Jong il or the Sudan's Bashier. Kim Jong isn't a threat to William Shultz and Irene Khan's power or legitimacy. Bush is.

The UN and these NGOs are like the medieval Catholic Church, consisting of unelected elites, who are, for no good reason at all, allowed to make politically moral judgements. There are no checks and balances or voters to influence their actions. Amnesty doesn't represent the interests of freedom, justice or equality. They only represent their own interests.

Posted by: mary at June 3, 2005 06:07 AM

Michael Farris,
Had this attack by AI been an isolated incident, you would be correct in your idea that the message about Gitmo should not be lost in trying to denounce the comparisons. But this is just another in an incredibly long stream of these types of comparisons; it is obvious that a large percentage of the world (including many in the U.S.) is completely brainwashed about what really goes on. And the actions at Gitmo, while unfortunate, are so incredibly minor when put in the context of the numbers of prisoners held there, and even more incredibly minor when compared to what goes on in the rest of the world. ANd when you consider that these actions were already being dealt with, and the people involved being punished, by the military, it makes it even more ridiculous. The actions at Gitmo merit MAYBE one sentence in the AI report. And to ignore the hyperbole directed against the U.S. is to allow that brainwashing to continue.

Caroline,
I think you are completely right. We are the "new Jews" to Europe and the Islamic world. That should be taken as a compliment.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 3, 2005 06:21 AM

"The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay is built on the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law."

Ah, the famous Farris wheel.

1) Detention Gitmo is not arbitrary. The detainees were not chosen by lottery and picked from the streets, they were taken in combat.

2) Some have been released. Some of the released have been killed in later combat. But in any case, what would you suggest? Traditionally, these folks would be put up against a wall and shot, non-uniformed combatants, you know. I think Gitmo is a reasonable compromise.

3) International law? As far as I know there is no international law covering this circumstance. Is there an international law against flying airplanes into buildings, killing 3000 people for the glory of God? If there is, I have yet to hear the left making a big deal of it.

Posted by: chuck at June 3, 2005 06:21 AM

You are so banned. Don't apologize or ask to come back. You can't.

Heh, I think bumplant was Joan Baez channeling a black person.

Posted by: chuck at June 3, 2005 06:38 AM

I'm sorry. Since when does Irene Khan speak for the mythical "Left"? Is she American? No, she is not. Is she a member of, or does she speak for, any American political party? No. She represents the "Left" to about the same extent that an English CEO represents the "Right." As Americans we should certainly be more worried about Gitmo than about the opinions of a British citizen running an international organization. If our government is acting in an undemocratic manner, inconsistent with American traditions that should be of real concern to us.

Posted by: Vanya at June 3, 2005 06:56 AM

I just came across this:
http://tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w050531&s=bosco060305

A good article at the New Republic along the same lines as Podhoretz. There's your "radical Left" for you, quickly calling out Khan for her silly remarks. Why is it that the National Review and the Weekly Standard never feel a duty to call Rush or Michael Savage to task when they make odious and ridiculous comparisons? Despite the Chomskys and Moores, there is still more intellectual honesty and rigor on the left side of the dial than the right.

Posted by: Vanya at June 3, 2005 07:10 AM

I think we mistake the aim of AI. They are not interested in politics, but therapy.

They simply wish to feel better about themselves, not do anything. (Why are "activists" so opposed to action?)

Gulags are bad, the US is bad, and thus conflating them and opposing them is good.

Therapy, not politics, is the goal of much of the "left" today. (Why we still use the seating chart for the first French National Assembly to define political positions is beyond me!)

Posted by: lancer at June 3, 2005 07:15 AM

Vanya,

TNR isn't the radical left. They even supported OIF if I recall. I don't even know that I would call the Nation or Arianna or Mailer the radical left, just the nutcase left. Is there any other kind these days? BTW, you are not required to identify yourself with the left. Why not be independent?

Posted by: chuck at June 3, 2005 07:16 AM

I'd agree with Chuck: if you peruse hard-left blogs they regard TNR as a sell-out publication, but then the indy-media element regards the NYT and most of the elite media as corporate shills for the Administration and Fox as crypto-fascist. And let also second Lancer's lament: I hate defining the 21st C. political spectrum on the basis of where 18th C. Frenchman planted their derrieres.

Posted by: Ray Zacek at June 3, 2005 07:33 AM

Khan speaks for the left when she condemns the US on principle. The gulag remark was gratuitous, but why not? The US has been the great historical spoiler for grand leftist causes. We can condemn the US if we want, as a matter of routine.

Posted by: Neo-Khan at June 3, 2005 08:00 AM

I was being sarcastic about TNR being radical left. Obviously they are center-left with the emphasis on center, but these days anyone disagreeing with Bush is accused of being in league with Michael Moore. At least in the blogosphere. My real point is that a lot of people here like to rail about "the Left", but what is that supposed to mean? Everyone who voted for Kerry? That would include a lot of people who think AI is way out of bounds. The NYT is only "left-wing" if you believe left wing means pro-business, pro-East Coast elite. The Chomskys and Wade Churchills make a lot of noise, but their threat to the Republic is vastly overrated - a dirty little secret is that a lot of their fans don't even bother to vote or do anything meaningful - they just go to rallies and complain. It is true that the Khans of the world harm America's standing in the world. But if you spend anytime outside the US you'll quickly realize that anti-Americanism is hardly limited to left wing radicals. Go to Greece - everyone of any conceivable political stripe hates us. British conservatives like Peter Hitchens loathe the US, whereas his left-wing brother Chris loves us. We're the most powerful succesful country in the world - we're going to attract enemies and detractors as a matter of course. Better not to pay them undue heed.

Posted by: Vanya at June 3, 2005 08:06 AM

I'd feel more positive about Guantanamo if people in support of it's continuation could answer one question for me: these prisoners there who really are bad guys, Al-Qaeda members, the whole nine yards...when are they going to be either charged and put on trial, or released? When the war on terror is over? When the lion lays down with the lamb?

My other question is this: are we really getting any good, life-saving information from our interrogations in Guantanamo? If we are, it is probably still classified, and taking the Administration at it's word that the interrogations are helpful requires a leap of faith that they are honest purveyors of facts.

Even if Gitmo interrogations are marginally helpful, their utility needs to be weighed against the value of shutting down the place, putting certain prisoners on trial, and sending the rest home.

Friedman agrees that this is no gulag, but that nevertheless says we should shut the place down. I'm with him on this. (See May 27 Times, unfortunately the article costs $ now to read online)

Posted by: markus rose at June 3, 2005 08:20 AM

When the lion lays down with the lamb?

That's my pick. These guys are prisoners of war, but as they don't belong to a state, with whom shall we deal? Several who were released were later killed in combat in Afghanistan, so it is not as it they are all harmless little lambs who got swept up while marauding in wolf's clothing. Ideally, they could be released under parole, but there is little evidence that they would keep any pledge to refrain from hostilities. Much of the traditional conduct in war was governed by the concept of honor. The left has done its best to discredit such silly bourgeois ideas.

Re. TNR. I think it is what was once called a liberal publication.

Posted by: chuck at June 3, 2005 08:51 AM

Michael Farris: Nor did ever once say or imply that you did (easy game to play).

Wrong answer. I've been accused of hysterically harping on torture many times on this blog.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2005 09:22 AM

By me?

Posted by: Michael Farris at June 3, 2005 09:30 AM

So AI went a little overboard on the rhetoric - well big f@ckking deal. It's not like some commenters here are restraining their rhetoric, when they are calling the US "the new jews", a comparison which would be only ridiculous (been enduring forced labour, torture or genocide lately? no? - thought so) if it wasn't trivializing the terrible suffering of the European jews.
So you go on and on about the dismal state of the totally powerless left, while failing to sufficiently scrutinize the actions of the people who really call the shots at the moment, who really determine what is actually happening right now, the people with real power. Nice rhetorical niche you got there, but ultimately totally irrelevant.

Posted by: novakant at June 3, 2005 09:47 AM

You Americans really are considered the new 'Jews', but this designation is certainly not meant as a compliment. Think 'Jews' in the original sense of The Merchant of Venice. Pound of flesh and all.

What's amusing is your apparently sincere inability to grasp why.

I will take the liberty to speak for the rest of the world for just this one occasion.

1. We don't appreciate you invading foreign (our) countries. All those supposedly good reasons you keep coming up with fall on deaf ears here. We don't want you to teach us your 'democracy'. You have merely two political parties and they're nothing but siamese twins. So kindly take your imperial armies home and keep pretending democracy with your donkies, elephants and silly hats.

2. We don't appreciate the 'free trade' and other supposedly 'good' international agendas which your government is pushing with bullying threats all around the world. Those merely results in your crap culture being spread around the world and destroying it by rot. Junk food, pornography, Hollywood dung, drug abuse, etc. There may be many regimes more brutal than yours in the world, but none is so totally bad, in every pore of its being, as yours. Your country is the center of evil in today's world. So much more reason to want to get our cultures rid of yours. So please keep your quasi-culture to yourself. We don't need the citizens of our nations to double their weight. To spew out their most private problems on national television. To become like you. Because you guys are simply disgusting.

3. The academic, entertainment and legislative culture of the U.S. of A. has in all its emanations become communist. That is not meant as an euphemism, to strongly make a point, but that is what has litterally happened. The march through the institutions stuff. Many of our countries have suffered under various variants of communism/socialism and now you're forcing it down our throats once again. You meddle into internal affairs of supposedly 'friendly' countries. You are 'not satisfied' or even 'disappointed' with election results in our countries. This your government has stated openly, without shame. Guess what, WE are 'the people' here, not YOU. Therefore YOU have no say in our elections. Like we have no say in yours.

Yes, we do hate you. The Arab world, the Europeans, the South Americans, in fact everybody.

We hate what you do to us and that you steal from us. We don't hate you for your 'freedom', of which you have none, btw. You are for all practical purposes the brainwashed cattle of your elites. Which is still no excuse. We will kill your sons on the battlefields and not the sons of your elites. Because they will not fight for you, like you will (and do) for them.

Either change your elites or we will change them for you. I hear your stupid laughs 'Heh-heh, no one can touch us... We're a superpower... Flatten your country with nukes... Heh-heh... Parking lot, we'll turn your country into a parking lot, heh-heh...'

Well Beavis, it's not that simple. Besides, you should stop playing Empire and planet Earth bully for your own sakes primarily. It will do you good, as well as it will us.

Until that, remember that we are many times more numerous than you are.

We have nukes.

And we hate you.

Posted by: Kunta Kinte at June 3, 2005 09:53 AM

Novakant: So you go on and on about the dismal state of the totally powerless left, while failing to sufficiently scrutinize the actions of the people who really call the shots

Read my next column. Then stuff it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2005 09:53 AM

Novakant: It's not like some commenters here are restraining their rhetoric, when they are calling the US "the new jews",

Tell it to Kunta Kinte.

Kunta Kinte:You Americans really are considered the new 'Jews', but this designation is certainly not meant as a compliment... ®emember that we are many times more numerous than you are. We have nukes. And we hate you.

Kunta Kinta is banned, by the way.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2005 09:57 AM

Michael Farris: By me?

Who cares? Why on earth would that possibly matter?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2005 10:00 AM

So you go on and on about the dismal state of the totally powerless left, while failing to sufficiently scrutinize the actions of the people who really call the shots at the moment, who really determine what is actually happening right now, the people with real power

History proves that incompetent, hysterical and power-hungry loons do a lot of damage if they get real power. It does the world a real service to do everything possible to guarantee that they stay powerless.

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it..

Posted by: mary at June 3, 2005 10:01 AM

markus,

It's customary to detain POWs until the conflict has been resolved.

Since the terrorists have chosen a form of conflict (terrorism) that does not really have an easy or definitive resolution, they should expect to be detained for a very long time.

Is that fair? You tell me. Who is it that's pledged unending jihad against the great satans? It sure sounds to me like "unending detention" is an appropriate part of that package.

Posted by: stutefish at June 3, 2005 10:10 AM

No one has quibbled with the facts of what was posted above in the main post. Those of you who are hysterically angry - or just plain annoyed - that I published these facts might want to seriously ask yourselves why.

Are certain facts off-limits? Impolite? Bad form? Please explain your answer in detail. Suggesting that only Republicans ought to be criticized is not an acceptable answer.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2005 10:13 AM

You were playing a silly rhetorical Did-I-ever-say-X-? game and I was just playing along by following the standard script. If you want to stop, that's perfectly fine with me.

I'll go back on topic:

It occurs to me that Guantanamo is a good microcosm of the Waronterror™. It seemed to make sense at the time (to those who planned/supported it), but it's turned into a no-win, embarassing situation we don't know how to get out of.

My suggestion, start classifying the prisoners (prisoners of war, spies, dupes, etc) and treat them accordingly. There's no excuse for holding people for three years with no transparency or accountability.

Posted by: Michael Farris at June 3, 2005 10:14 AM

It seemed to make sense at the time (to those who planned/supported it), but it's turned into a no-win, embarassing situation we don't know how to get out of.

I suppose it all depends on what your reality is. Your narrative looks loony to me, nothing but hopeful slogans, so I don't take it very seriously. YMMV.

Posted by: chuck at June 3, 2005 10:22 AM

History proves that incompetent, hysterical and power-hungry loons do a lot of damage if they get real power.

Irene Kahn on the verge of world-domination - I'm shivering in my boots as we speak.

Tell it to Kunta Kinte

A silly anonymous poster on a blog who is threatening nuclear action is calling the US "the new jews", well then the US must be "the new jews", there's just no way around it.

Read my next column. Then stuff it.

Thanks for the kind hint, if I only listen to his master's voice I'll surely realize the error of my ways, how I have been wrong all along and you were right - I can't wait to be enlightened.

Posted by: novakant at June 3, 2005 10:38 AM

Irene Kahn on the verge of world-domination..

When I talked about incompetent power-hungry loons, did I say that I was talking about Irene Khan?

Since you believe that Irene is an incompetent power-hungry loon, why do you object when we criticize her?

Posted by: mary at June 3, 2005 10:53 AM

The fringe loonies like Kunta, or AI, are too few in number to damage the US in any meaningful way. The same is not true for the followers of radical Sunni clerics, who are generally unhinged, but still dangerous for all that.

These are mass murdering fanatics who hide among civilians, when they are not massacring the civilians that is. Stalin would not have wasted gulag space on their sort. A bullet to the head and dumping in a mass grave is all they would warrant from papa Joe.

Posted by: Malkhantent at June 3, 2005 11:10 AM

Chuck to Michael Farris: Your narrative looks loony to me, nothing but hopeful slogans

Actually, now that Michael is done beating up on me for pointing out that Gitmo ain't Gulag, he has something to say: My suggestion, start classifying the prisoners (prisoners of war, spies, dupes, etc) and treat them accordingly.

What is loony about that, Chuck? It's not self-evident. Do advise.

Something has to be done with these people at Gitmo. I don't think anyone really has a clue what to do with them, and I'm including the Bush Administration, Amnesty International, and myself when I say that.

Really, what are we going to do with them? They're in legal limbo and they need to come out of it. That does not mean they need to be sent back to the battlefield.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2005 11:10 AM

"So you go on and on about the dismal state of the totally powerless left, while failing to sufficiently scrutinize the actions of the people who really call the shots at the moment, who really determine what is actually happening right now, the people with real power."

novakant,

then why don't you "powerless" Lefties address what the people in power are REALLY doing, instead of what you want the world to BELIEVE they are doing. It isn't even that helpful to you Lefties, let alone the people you're criticizing.

See, now we're talking about how stupid Irene Khan and other Lefties are, instead of Guantanamo. Was that Ms. Khan's objective? And who's to blame for that? It is our fault for calling bullshit on you? And who's to blame when the country laughs at you for your "Hitler" and nazi hyperbole? YOU are to blame, and nobody else. How many times will you Lefties have to be slapped down and ridiculed before you grow up and act like fucking grownups?

And FYI, this isn't the first time the folks at The New Republic have shown disdain at what's happenning on the Left. And it isn't "intellectual honesty" but rather a growing sense that the Left is being taken over by dangerous loons. Don't be surprised if the next Christopher Hitchens comes from the New Republic.

Posted by: spaniard at June 3, 2005 11:12 AM

Michael,

The third rotation of troops in Iraq has taken place, it is a training rotation. Our troop levels are being drawn down - by some 20,000 since Feb. - and the IDF continues to increase by about 1500/wk. It is pretty clear to me that we do have a plan, that it is developing nicely, and if I look at the news it seems that the Iraqi troops have reached a turning point: they are fighting and going over to the offensive. I find todays posting on Iraq the Model interesting in this context, and I recall a recent incident where the Sulaiyman (sp) tribe drove al-Qaida out after their sheik was assassinated, fighting for three days without asking for help. After they had redeemed their honor and al-Qaida had fled, the informed the marines as to the enemy location and air strikes were called in.

These sort of things indicate to me that the tide has turned. I am feeling more hopeful now than at any time in the last year. Yes, I think Michael Farris' assertions are loony.

Posted by: chuck at June 3, 2005 11:25 AM

Chuck,

Okay, but what does that have to do with Guantanamo?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2005 11:51 AM

Begin Rant

Once upon a time, Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord said unto the blogsphere:

"Use the right word, not it's second cousin. Don't call a fat, liberal filmmaker an anti-semite (or neo-anti-semite), don't call the anti-war people fascists. If someone is fighting forign soliders on their soil, don't call them terrorists... these are the wrong words."

And the blogsphere said unto me, "Ohhh, you and your silly postmodern views, you think everyone is ok (which, of course, doesn't reflect my view at all). You just don't want to admit the moral bankrupcy of the Left!!!!"

So, eat cake my friends. The fool Leftist who thinks Bush is Hitler and GitMo is a gulag is no different than your own pathetic libel and slander. I hear that a lot of people who are Republican like that old book of religion that gets called the Bible, yet so many wander around with rafters sticking a couple yards out of their eyes, damning all those who have a bit of straw stuck in their tear duct..

Pat each other on the back, my dears. Be proud of your own self-importance, your own self-righteous fury and know that when history gets written, Bush may have an honored place... but you will be forgotten, or better yet... pointed to as examples of poor citizens in times of trouble.

Post your screeds, paste your labels, rail against your fellow man because he hold different priorities.

And fail as true Americans, defenders of the right to dissent.

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

END RANT

Posted by: Ratatosk at June 3, 2005 11:59 AM

Maybe Ratatosk the Squirrel of Discord should be renamed the Chipmunk of Why Can't We All Get Along.

Posted by: spaniard at June 3, 2005 12:28 PM

You left out the number of deaths in captivity.

Some of those gulags were meant to work you to death.

Posted by: Thomas at June 3, 2005 12:41 PM

Posted by JABBER at June 2, 2005 05:59 PM

"has it ever before been this bad?"

Maybe when they made excuses for the communists (re: users of the gulags)... or Stalin.. or later the USSR...

Posted by: Thomas at June 3, 2005 12:44 PM

Federal Election Commission records show that William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty USA, contributed $2,000 to Mr. Kerry's campaign last year. Mr. Schulz also has contributed $1,000 to the 2006 campaign of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.
Amnesty International's Web site states it is "independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It does not support or oppose any government."
- via "Doug" at the Belmont Club.

Confirmation?

Posted by: mika. at June 3, 2005 12:48 PM

America's problem isn't that people will confuse Gulag with Guantanamo, its that people will confuse Guantanamo with America. If the administration dislikes the comparison with a Soviet era political prison, stop behaving like one. Much like the old trope, 'its not enough for justice to be done, it must be seen to be done' we need to 'see' more of it. Prisoners need to be 'seen' to get access to tribunals to determine their status, their names should be made available to organizations like the Red Cross and yes, Amnesty International, they should know the charges against them, they should have access to legal advocates, and there should be an acknowledgement if mistakes are made compensation will be forthcoming. Now, does this mean there aren't military concerns? no of course not. There obviously are legitimate reasons for secreting the names of some prisoners for some amount of time, and interrogating them, but not indefinitely. Let an American court set an appropriate maximum time that a prisoner can be held in secret without visitation from and registration with the IRC.
I think its a seriously loosing argument to claim that because of the alleged status of prisoners being 'illegal' that Geneva conventions should not apply. I think its in the best interests of AMERICA (in all its public diplomacy forms) to simply declare that all prisoners will be treated in accordance with the Geneva conventions, and to be fair, by and large, America already does this, but for some reason wants to be able to 'legally' shield itself from accusations of torture, NOT, by not torturing, but by claiming it isn't 'illegal'. America should stop using 'limbo' locations like Guantanamo and Diego Garcia. If you're a prisoner of the American government you should be in an American military prison, either in America or in theatre.

Posted by: cynical joe at June 3, 2005 01:01 PM

I am reserving judgement on Gitmo, but the context and equivalency of the arguments against, gives me pause. I wonder how many people really balance the nature of the prisoners and the nature of the conflict against the legal standards they want to apply to them? Legal standards that are either intended for citizens or based on international agreements between essentially civizilized nations?

Quiz: How many war enemies of America observed Geneva Conventions since they were adopted after WWI?

I think a lot of this boils down to whether or not you really believe we are in a war or not. I don't think people who rail against Gitmo are neccessarily stupid or evil, but I wonder if they aren't willfully taking a world view that assumes we are completely in control and can parse justice anyway we choose. In other words, they are so used to being completely safe, that they can afford to apply an ACLU mentality to those who have sworn to either subjugate or destroy us.

I would like to treat the captured enemy in a Geneva-like fashion, but I can see where GWB and team may have thought ... the opposition (not Al Qaeda, the other one) will plague us with legal battles so lets set up a place beyond the reach of the occasionally wacky jurists.

As to the Gulag and other overblown rhetoric, I would like to share this article on a recent book on Stalin that sheds light on the truly reprehensible nature of the man, his closest people, and the party (the Bolsheviks). When people drag in Hitler and Stalin to paint their opponents who haven't really gotten past their first million kills, they really make me mistrust their world-historical-sanity.

The most interesting thing to me about this take on Stalin (based on recent access to archives - definitely worth a read) is that the Communists are depicted as religious fanatics and even referred to themselves as such. Can you imagine what could happen if we let fanatical Islamists win?

From the author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar:

MONTEFIORE: I think something like 30 million. I think something like 30 million. But that
line is one of the most important in the book. After they say 30 million had died, after 30 million had been
through camps and deportation, yes, so we`re talking 60 million victims of this -- of this monstrous regime,
these absolutely diabolical characters, they still believed. They believed until they died. They were
absolute fanatics. That`s the key. They were religious fanatics. And they had much more in common with
the Taliban or the ayatollahs, or Osama bin Laden in a way than they did with a secular party. They talked all the time about this. As I said, they talked -- when Stalin was killing people, I found
notes in these amazing archives which I found, which I was using, in which he said, we`ve got to kill these
people. We`ve got to finish them off because they`ve lost faith. Which is interesting, interesting choice of
words.

It seems reasonable to me to treat an enemy like this with some harshness. They get a lot better from us than they would give.

The opening paragraph on AI's site:

Hypocrisy, an overarching war mentality and a disregard for basic human rights principles and international legal obligations continue to mark the USA's "war on terror". Serious human rights violations are the inevitable result.

"war on terror" - It seems to me that they don't suscribe to the war meme. I do, so there is this disconnect.

Posted by: at June 3, 2005 02:38 PM

Hypocrisy, an overarching war mentality and a disregard for basic human rights principles and international legal obligations continue to mark the USA's "war on terror".

AI opposed the invasion, and Saddam's rape dungeons would still be full. Does that make Amnesty International a "human rights" organization?

Posted by: spaniard at June 3, 2005 02:54 PM

Okay, but what does that have to do with Guantanamo?

Nothing. If you look at the quote preceeding my comment, you will see that I was not responding to his remarks about Guantanamo.

Now, to respond to this:

My suggestion, start classifying the prisoners (prisoners of war, spies, dupes, etc) and treat them accordingly.

the assumption here is that this has not been done. My impression is that this attempt has been made, it is one of the purposes of interrogation. After all, some detainees have been released. We should undoubtedly keep an eye on this, but there are lots of smart people in our armed forces, vastly more educated and experienced in the sort of thing than we are. The offhand assumption that they are too dumb to think of this reminds me of the insulting caricatures that show up in the work of some cartoonists where the military is dipicted as thugs and morons.

Posted by: chuck at June 3, 2005 03:19 PM

Did anyone else notice that Khan also insists on putting the word terrorist in scare quotes? She says:

Respect for human rights is the best antidote for “terrorism”.

Let's leave aside for a moment the truth value of this warm and fuzzy assertion. Right now, what I'd like to know is: Why the quotes? Can you not bring yourself to say the word?

In the previous sentence, she mentions "blowing up commuter trains in Madrid, taking school children hostage in Beslan, and beheading humanitarian workers in Iraq" (followed of course by the ubiquitous "but," and an admonition aimed at the US). How do get from that little litany of atrocities to a refusal to use the word terrorism without irony or apology? In the same breath? Pardon my French, but WTF?

Listen, I give money to AI. About $50/year -- not a lot, but they have a place my my yearly slate of charities. I don't think it's fair to characterize this contribution as "therapy," merely a way to assuage my liberal guilt (as Lancer did above). I think it's a good thing that someone catalogue atrocities and injustice around the world and spread the word about them. It's important that we civilized people who believe in human rights make sure that such victims are not forgotten. I think this is a principle that can appeal to right-minded people across the political spectrum.

But this kind of thing not only pisses me off. It gives me pause. Calling Gitmo a "gulag" is obnoxious. It is, as others have said, a weak form of denial of human rights, in that it diminishes the suffering of the real victims of real gulags. But, at the end of the day, I'm willing to say that it is an ill-considered bit of hyperbole, one that Khan is too headstrong to back off of.

But this refusal to use the word terrorism is more troubling to me. It's Orwellian. It's dishonest. It erodes my trust in AI considerably. It makes me wonder whether my support might be better spent elsewhere with another humanitarian organization. That can't be what they want.

Posted by: Browning Porter at June 3, 2005 04:35 PM

If you want to support humanitarian efforts, find some way to donate to the U.S. military. They do more for human rights than all the other organizations in the world combined.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 3, 2005 04:51 PM

"If you want to support humanitarian efforts, find some way to donate to the U.S. military. They do more for human rights than all the other organizations in the world combined."

You could always enlist.

Posted by: cynical joe at June 3, 2005 05:03 PM

exhelodrvr: find some way to donate to the U.S. military

I outsourced that part of my financial chore list to the IRS.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2005 05:22 PM

You could always enlist.

and if you're pro-choice you could always go out get an abortion.

Posted by: spaniard at June 3, 2005 05:30 PM

"Novakant: It's not like some commenters here are restraining their rhetoric, when they are calling the US "the new jews",
MJT: Tell it to Kunta Kinte."

I’m chuckling over the irony of this exchange. I found KK's comments interesting nonetheless. He said:

“You Americans really are considered the new 'Jews', but this designation is certainly not meant as a compliment. Think 'Jews' in the original sense of The Merchant of Venice. {yup – like I said – the ‘money changers’} Pound of flesh and all…..Your country is the center of evil in today's world. …Those merely results in your crap culture being spread around the world and destroying it by rot. Junk food, pornography, Hollywood dung, drug abuse, etc. There may be many regimes more brutal than yours in the world, but none is so totally bad, in every pore of its being, as yours. Your country is the center of evil in today's world. So much more reason to want to get our cultures rid of yours. So please keep your quasi-culture to yourself. We don't need the citizens of our nations to double their weight. To spew out their most private problems on national television. To become like you. Because you guys are simply disgusting.”

Looks to me like Gitmo isn’t really the problem. Any more than Israel’s actual actions to defend itself against terrorism are the real problem. I don’t think it would actually matter whether we gave the Gitmo detainees a piece of chocolate every night on folded down bedsheets. (we’re already giving them Korans, prayer beads and mats, halal meals etc.).

We appear to have entered the Twilight Zone - a place where McDonald’s and Oprah are considered more revolting than the torture chambers of Saddam Hussein. And no, I don't think this guy's view of the US is an exception. Next thing you know, there will be videos circulating depicting the evil Americans force feeding burgers and fries to the Gitmo detainees until they die vomiting in buckets - I'm picturing here that disgusting scene in the movie "Seven" (IIRC the guy's sin was gluttony). Surely, 'Protocols of the Elders of McDonald's' can't be too far off.

Posted by: Caroline at June 3, 2005 05:33 PM

Caroline,

they don't hate our country, they just hate our """government""".

Posted by: spaniard at June 3, 2005 05:37 PM

Or Spaniard, maybe they just hate.

(I think someone needs to show Kunta how to work the "off" button on the remote control.)

Posted by: Caroline at June 3, 2005 06:46 PM

The only visual record of the Gulag

Click on 'Catalog' for a tour.

Check out 22: Punishment By Mosquitoes

Amazing similarities to Gitmo, yes indeedy.

Posted by: jdwill at June 3, 2005 06:46 PM

Cynical Joe,
I've already done 20, and they won't let me back in.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 3, 2005 08:59 PM

That wasn't a 'chickenhawk' dig, I wasn't even disagreeing with your assertion, the US military is having recruiting problems not funding problems. The plan to replace American soldiers with Iraqi security personnel is slowly going forward, but in the meantime more recruits, reservists, and rotated regulars will have to be found.

Posted by: cynical joe at June 4, 2005 12:06 AM

Spaniard and Caroline,
Most of it is just hate.

The lefties like to fire up the engines for every wrong in the world.

Then, they use worthless arguments about appeasing the masses, etc., that come from worn out thinkers like Adorno. But I'll spare you the attack on the Frankfurt School.

Their arguments are easily countered by mere observer. Dunkin' Donuts would not have over 22 locations in Lebanon if it was not making money.

DD is not on a mission to convert us to the American way of life. Perhaps the neo-cons are. Perhaps the right wing.

But, in reality, I see the leftwing in far more of the imposing position. They would deny us Dunkin' Donuts because they don't like it. That means they would be denying us the prime venue for homosexual exchange in Lebanon.
Cops don't eat donuts here. Oddly enough, homosexuals do, and DD has become the prime gay meeting area.

But leftists like to deny us our agency.

When the neo-cons and the rightwing threaten the Lebanese constitution and our right to accept any product into our country that we choose, I'll yell.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at June 4, 2005 09:26 AM

Lebanon.profile - DD as a gay meeting place? Now that's funny! I'm not sure where Kunta lives but I have to assume he's never been to any city in the U.S. where he would see millions of shops and restaurants that have brought every conceivable foreign cuisine to our country. The leftists know this too. And some of that cuisine is pretty darned fattening! But you don't see any Americans up in arms over it. We welcome the choice. I also wonder whether Kunta, in his little rant against America, appreciates the irony that he is posting on the internet. Probably not.

A brief history of the internet

(Or, that he sounds like a perfect candidate for the Jerry Springer show himself.:-))

Posted by: Caroline at June 4, 2005 10:36 AM

LP: Cops don't eat donuts here.

Where do cops eat, then? I didn't notice while I was there.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 4, 2005 11:39 AM

Hey Lebanon,

There are NEVER enough attacks on the Frankfurt School! Come on man, give'm both barrels! :)

Posted by: spc67 at June 4, 2005 01:39 PM

As a female in this world I have no empathy whatsoever for the Gitmo prisoners and would suggest using the International Law for punishing criminals by digging individual holes for each and every criminal, sticking each one in each of those holes, bury them up to their necks then having the Mullahs provide the properly sized stone, in order to produce maximum effect as not to kill too quickly or too slowly, to be thrown by the Muslim mother's of the executed innocent Muslim daughters.

This way no one can take issue with such justice by respecting the criminals culture, religon and all. Edward Said would most probably agree.

Posted by: syn at June 4, 2005 03:29 PM

Yes is a bit to say Gulag when it's just a prison.

But arguing over the terminology still cannot excuse torture, desecration of anothers religious icons, or imprisoning someone without charge or the right to a fair trial.

So any arguements about the terminolgy really only seeks to cloud or change the issue concerning that above known actions.

Posted by: IXLNXS at June 4, 2005 08:37 PM

Political purpose of Gitmo: The suppression of an international terrorist group that had attacked the United States, killing 3,000 people while attempting to decapitate the national government through the hijack of airplanes.

Not really the case; a more accurate version:

Political purpose of Gitmo: The creation of an extra-legal detention facility where the Administration has established a precedent of total power -- the ability to do anything to anyone without the oversight of US courts or civil society.

Still not a gulag, more of a concentration camp. But why quibble over various terms which mean "area where the rule of law doesn't apply"?

Posted by: Kimmitt at June 5, 2005 01:17 AM

Michael,

Security officers eat saj or manaqeesh. These are warm, rolled sandwiches normally filled with either thyme, yogurt, cheese, or minced lamb.

However, I have seen lots of security guys eating ice cream.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at June 5, 2005 07:08 AM

Donuts??? Now you're talkin'! My grand-folks OWNED a donut shop, and I got to work there in the 8th grade, before they retired. Sigh. Cream-filled chocolate long johns. (Winchell's, in So. Cal.; actually still there on Tweedy Blvd, in South Gate -- thru 2001, last time I checked)

"Walk Like an Egyptian" has a fine line about cops hanging out in donut shops. Ours gave the cops free coffee -- it was good, safe, to be known as a cop hang-out.

On Gitmo:
Bush should give the Afghan prisoners to Karzai, and when a democractic Iraq president asks, should give Iraqi prisoners to that president. Executing those who were "seen" by eyewitnesses to be fighting, without a uniform, would be a reasonable message to send (AND fully "legal").

But the IRS has no jurisdiction, so if they are no more guilty than Al Capone (or OJ), there is too much doubt to convict them of "crimes."

Yes, many in the world hate America
The USA is the "best" country in the world, as well as the "greatest". That will always cause discomfort, at least, among those who are patriotic for their own countries. When the USSR was an alternate "super power", the USA could look better, but was not unchallenged. Today, with no other country close, every flaw of America will be compared with Unreal Perfection, not the UN or China or Russia or anything real.

Better get used to it.

Jews were hated because they were different, did NOT interbreed, considered themselves superior, AND were more successful, on average. [Blacks were hated because they were different, were considered inferior, and the males were physically more successful, on average. East Asians were hated because they were different.]
Hatred born of "difference" has a long pedigree.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at June 5, 2005 03:05 PM

Kimmit, paranoia is a posisitive quality, like skill at cunnilingus; don't flaunt it until you need to.

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 5, 2005 03:20 PM

I know he's banned, but woo hoo!:

I will take the liberty to speak for the rest of the world for just this one occasion.

No problems there, mate!

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 5, 2005 03:28 PM

Kimmitt: Political purpose of Gitmo: The creation of an extra-legal detention facility where the Administration has established a precedent of total power -- the ability to do anything to anyone without the oversight of US courts or civil society.

Wow, why on earth would Bush want to do that?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 5, 2005 06:58 PM

Because his theory of government is inconsistent with any oversight over his actions, and he takes whatever action he can to bring US government institution and tradition in line with how he thinks it should be run.

Posted by: Kimmitt at June 5, 2005 10:11 PM

Kimmitt,

But why is there a prison in Gitmo in the first place? Any particular reason, or did King George set that up just for kicks?

I'm just trying to figure out what you find factually inaccurate in the following:

Political purpose of Gitmo: The suppression of an international terrorist group that had attacked the United States, killing 3,000 people while attempting to decapitate the national government through the hijack of airplanes.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 6, 2005 12:32 AM

The question is not, "Why are we detaining people we suspect of terrorist activities against the United States?" The answer to that question is self-evident. The question is, "Why are we detaining them in the fashion in which we are detaining them?" It was obviously vital to the Administration that the facility be plausibly not on US territory -- more important than, say, the ability to expand the detention facility to an arbitrarily large size or for it to be near our intelligence centers for easy access to linguists and analysts.

To put it another way, it was so important to the Administration that no rights whatsoever be afforded to the prisoners that the argument was made in front of the SCOTUS that Guantanamo is not US territory in order to keep those rights in check.

Posted by: Kimmitt at June 6, 2005 11:27 AM

"The question is,'why are we detaining them in the fashion in which we are detaining them?'"

I can't get away from the sneaky suspicion that we'd get roasted no matter HOW we detained them.

Posted by: tsmonk at June 6, 2005 03:26 PM

Sorry, can't see you from behind this pyramid of naked detainees. Could you scoot the dead guy over and say that again?

Posted by: Kimmitt at June 6, 2005 10:32 PM

"The question is,'why are we detaining them in the fashion in which we are detaining them?'"

And which state has volenterred to have terroists imported to it for the sake of detention? There is a PR nightmare.

Posted by: Nick at June 8, 2005 12:38 AM

Very nice site.

Posted by: Wyszukiwarka cenowa at June 27, 2005 05:12 AM

I'm entirely new to this site, and perhaps it's not really intended for me. I'm not an American, and would be described in your political vernacular as a 'liberal'. What drives me to comment, however, is the unwillingness on both sides of this debate to concede what appear to be two fairly obvious points:

Gitmo is not a gulag; and

terrible mistakes have been made there in the name of the war on terror and the people of the United States.

Both of these concessions are important, for very different reasons. As one of the earlier posters pointed out, debate is cheapened by these comparisons to historic evils, such as nazism, stalinism and apartheid. Neither side in American politics is free of guilt on this point -- over the last two months prominent Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate have compared their opponents to Nazis.

Secondly, it is clear that the abuses at Gitmo can only harm America's interests internationally, and the interests of all others who value a clear stand against torture and terrorism. Respect for the rule of law, and through it basic human decency, is one of the key defences against totalitarianism. Pointing out that the other side does not respect the rule of law or human decency in any form is not really convincing in this context. This is largely because the terrorist's aim is and has always been to make a more powerful enemy change their way of life, what makes their society precious and worth defending to them. Gitmo is gradually becoming a capitualation to this terrorist aim. Abandoning one of the most basic institutions of a free society in the name of defending it can only be ultimately self-defeating.

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