Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bagram=Obama's Gitmo

"If I deserve imprisonment, then imprison me. If not, let me go free." -Abdul Raqeeb in above video

This is a great interview. Note not only the extreme abuse of their human rights, but also the impact it has on the perception of the occupation. No wonder so many Afghans want us out!

Theoretically speaking, could the occupation take a more benevolent form without unjustified home invasions and indefinite detention without habeas corpus? Yes but you'd have to be naive as hell to think that would happen (remember when Rummy talked about winning hearts and minds?). This attitude toward the occupied people is part-and-parcel of American counterinsurgency efforts there. Given Obama's record so far on war and civil liberties, I think we can expect more of the same.

Glenn Greenwald notes in yet another great post that Bagram is also home to rendered terror suspects from other countries. It is clear now that the closing of Guantanamo is a big deal symbolically, but doesn't represent a huge change in policy. Bagram performs the same function that Gitmo did except with less scrutiny because it's way off in Afghanistan and exists under a president who is supposed to be a big civil liberties supporter.

Here's Glenn's summary of recent events:
"So, to recap: we have indefinite detention, military commissions, Blackwater assassination squads, escalation in Afghanistan, extreme secrecy to shield executive lawbreaking from judicial review, renditions, and denials of habeas corpus. These are not policies Obama has failed yet to uproot; they are policies he has explicitly advocated and affirmatively embraced as his own."
We're closing in on a year of Obama's presidency. He is now responsible for these assaults on the rule of law, transparency, and human rights as much as Bush was. We need to join Glenn and others in criticizing these policies with the same vehemence we excorciated Bush's.

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