Sunday, September 02, 2007

Retired Ranger

I just came across rangeragainstwar which I find interesting and thought provoking.

Ranger's most recent post is worthy of wider dissemination. With that in mind:

Unfortunately, GWB misunderestimated [sic] when he heard "God said unto them. . .[subdue and] have dominion over. . .every living thing that moveth upon the earth." He did not mean the U.S. executive branch, via the military and judicial system.

But this is, after all, the man who said, "It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." (The satin sash emblazoned "South Carolina" which he wore campaigning should've been a hint.)

The New York Times Op-Ed charges "Abu Ghraib Swept Under the Carpet" following the dismissal Tuesday of most charges against Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, leaving the tag of misfit deadenders on the 11 low-ranking soldiers who were skewered with charges for their abusive treatment of prisoners.

The higher-ranking misfits, "President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top officials have long claimed that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were the disconnected acts of a small number of sociopaths. It’s clear that is not true."

"Abusive interrogations, many of them amounting to torture, were first developed for Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after Mr. Bush declared that international and American law did not protect members of Taliban or Al Qaeda, or any other foreigner he chose to designate as an 'unlawful enemy combatant'."

But Abu Ghraib and Gitmo were not the first instances of torture in U.S. policy in the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©).

How quickly America forgets the story of Californian John Walker Lindh, captured while serving as a Taliban rifleman in Afghanistan.

As a result of confused combat, Lindh was captured as an enemy combatant, which surely he was. Combatant--yes; terrorist, no.

U.S. citizen Lindh was held incommunicado 55 days following his capture. Testimony seems to bear out the fact that U.S. military brutalized and massacred Taliban captives (or allowed the Northern Alliance to do so) at Qala-i-Janghi fortress near Mazar-i-Sharif, where Lindh and his band were trapped.

Lindh was shot through the leg in a prisoner melee. After being secured, Lindh was stripped, taped to a stretcher and kept unfed inside a dark and freezing metal container for two days prior to his FBI interviews. When his blindfold was removed after this ordeal in the crate, an FBI agent presented him with a form waiving his constitutional rights. Lindh never received a note from his parents, sent via Red Cross, that they had retained counsel for him (Chertoff and Torture.)

The FBI interviews continued for two days. Afterwards, he was transferred to the USS Peleliu, where he was treated for dehydration, hypothermia and frostbite. The next day the bullet was removed from his leg.

Ranger reckons this is where it all started. The Departments of Justice, State, Defense and the CIA all learned that murder, torture and degradation were acceptable behaviors in the name of good. Thank you, Jesus, for wiping the true believer's slate clean for any number of atrocities.

However, the most egregious offense was to be committed later by the DoJ and the Federal Court system. None of Lindh's statements could be considered voluntary, and should not have held up to a Fifth Amendment challenge. Instead, he is now serving a 20-year sentence obtained in a plea bargain, for committing a felony while in possession of a firearm.

One can expect CIA and DoD to trample upon the rights of a U.S. citizen, but not the Federal Court system. Its independence and allegiance to an inviolable document, The Constitution, was hitherto sacrosanct.

Now, contrast Lindh's treatment with that received by Lt. Col. Jordan. This is the brave new version of fair and equal treatment that has become the hallmark of American justice.

Kind of makes me wonder what law school these folks attended.

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