By Arthur Piccolo
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 19, 2013: So a suspect has been identified in the terrorist attack in Boston thank God.
No need to cover that subject here except that it leads to a broader more inclusive topic that leads right to our government also and President Barack Obama specifically.
What is terrorism and what is not terrorism and what is the distinction our government must make between what is allowable necessary violence and what is not? And what are the consequences of the standards our own government practices?
The United States like every government, prides itself and we as Americans are proud that “we are better” in every way – one being that we have a higher standard in everything we do. At least some if nor all Americans think we do. Others don’t care. Is Obama one?
As importantly are those standards the same or are they changed? And if others do not see a clear difference, does that have consequences? Of course our beliefs and self-images are never as good or pristine as the mythology but there is also a reality to them.
Two current developments in the U.S. view of violence and its use is a definite departure from widespread and acknowledged practices by our government in the past and President Barack Obama is a practitioner of both one very enthusiastically.
The two are and one is a place Guantanamo symbol of a new view of legitimate United States approved torture and confinement, the other is a method drone attacks to kill suspected terrorists. Both raise powerful questions as to whether or not we are doing ourselves more harm or good. And whether both allow most of the world to view us as hypocrites and as providing lessons they have just as much right to employ themselves simply adhering to the same violent “standard” as our government does.
Yes once again this week I turn to The New York Times, one because they have the resources and credibility to cover various matters well and second because I don’t need to try and compete with the quality of the writing at The Times going through the subterfuge of rewriting what is printed there.
First up in Guantanamo. President Obama in his first campaign promised to close the place but he never has because he claims he could not get the support he needed to do so. What he could have done at least is made a basic change to the character of this insult to the very concepts on which our nation is founded and we say we still believe.
Take a look at this Op-Ed piece recently in The Times which they printed after verifying the validity of the account of one of the detainees there not refuted by our government. This individual Amir Naji al Hasan Moqbel detained there for 11 years without ever being charged with anything and without the U.S. government providing even a shred of evidence he ever was a terrorist and as of now likely to be kept there the rest of his life.
What has been his most recent response. To go on a hunger strike along with others to either get some resolution to his detention or if not to starve himself to death rather than live this harsh prisoner’s life for decades to come until he dies of “natural” causes.
Here are a few excerpts in his own words in a piece titled “Gitmo Is Killing Me” is the result as reported in The Times, April 15, 2013. He has and others are being subject to what is a form of torture by American officials for refusing to eat as follows …
“ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago. I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity. I’ve been detained at Guantanamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.”
“Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.”
“I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.”
“I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.”
“During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not. It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.”
These are a few excerpts from the larger piece you can find on the NY Times Website.
President Obama refuses to let those like Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel die because it will make the Obama Administration look bad. They refuse to put him on trial because there is no evidence against him, and the will not release him either. They will keep forever.
This is one face of America’s “war on terror.” Is this the kind of American example we want others to follow or the way we would allow Americans to be treated by others.
You will also find a far wider examination of American torture practices in a new 577 page report by the nonpartisan Constitution Project that concludes “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.” Maybe you should read it. Obama certainly should.
The other related topic for this week is those drone attacks President Obama is so proud of and the many he has individually approved to kill suspected terrorists around the world. How does he know they are all dangerous terrorists planning attacks on the U.S. He doesn’t. He just gets a list ever few days or weeks depending, from the CIA which gives a brief unsubstantiated few sentence description of each and Obama checks those he wants killed in drone attacks. Then they die. What could be simpler or easier.
The BIG problem here the one I am focused on is not these suspected bad guys but the indisputable fact that in many of these unmanned guided bomb attacks otherwise known as drones these large BOMBS frequently kill innocent women and children and men who have absolutely nothing to do with terror. Poor farmers and their families trying to do nothing but stay alive who have no hatred for the U.S. let alone anything worse.
They die too just the same from the U.S. drone attacks.
At least hundreds of innocents so far are dead because it was their bad luck to be in the vicinity when the drone bomb exploded. Their survivors also have their lives destroyed.
Wait a second. Why does this sound like the Boston terror attack?
Why don’t we ever learn the names or see the photos of these foreign victims?
Maybe President Barack Obama knows why.
This use of murder drones like Guantanamo are clear examples of American policy.
Are these the examples and the standard we want to set for the rest of the world?
Is this America as the great shining light for the world we want to believe we are?
Or are Guantanamo and the drone attacks examples of America adopting policies earlier generations would never have condoned let alone celebrate as so many Americans do?
Is Obama the President we elected who was going to be different than the rest?
Or is this the diabolical way he is indeed trying to be different than the rest?
IMAGE OF HASAN MOQBEL IN NY TIMES