Saturday, October 9, 2010

"That's Not Us!"--Except When It Is

This blog has a been real outlet for most of my frustrations with the economy and the government in general. Every now and again, however, there comes a reminder of what happens outside of our borders and the very real evil that is committed not by simple soldiers or by generals, but usually by agents, statesmen, and the vile politician in general. And then, for a while, each day I wake in a lower-middle class abode beside a sleeping wife on a comfortable, warm bed is invariably juxtaposed against the reality that thousands of prisoners under the US and/or it's sponsor states wakes on a dirt floor in a confined cage, likely sore, sick, hungry, weak, anguished, desperate, and terrified. Men, women, and children, young and old, meet a morning like this every day of their never-ending nightmare as "enemy non-combatants" at Bagram in Afghanistan, Abu-Graib in Iraq or Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. This is aside from whatever countless number of torture sights are still maintained by US insistence and collaboration in other countries, whether they are Poland, Israel, Pakistan, Egypt, or Indonesia.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not totally naive. I know that the percentage of US inmates of the 2,000,000 officially incarcerated in the US that are physically or mentally tortured is no small number. I've read the stories coming out of our prison system and the exception is that gang rape on a daily basis for multiple years, torture to the point of death, and horrible disfigurement at the hands of psychopathic interrogators is less commonplace in the typical state or federal penitentiary--the "typical", mind you. Nonetheless, it is indicative of the American attitude towards crime and "criminals" that we not only could care less about our inmates, we tend to think that whatever they get they deserve. This is a woeful attitude to have, especially as it has helped allow the realities of the torture regime we have become to proceed smoothly under the self-righteous guise of the War On Terror.
As to the victims in our CONCENTRATION CAMPS worldwide(and that is exactly what they are), they have this also as exclusive from the American brand of prisoner abuse--they are largely innocent men and women, many of whom have never been charged with a crime in the first place. They were simply rounded up as US forces do dragnets of any brown-skinned Muslim who looks dangerous and pops them in the back of a truck. As disgusting as the American citizens attitude is toward the convicted criminal stateside, the idea of "deserve" has some relative foundation in that a crime has likely--60-70% chance--been committed. So, rather than comparing me day-day existence with that of a Muslim prisoner of the US, why not compare a US prisoner to a foreigner held by the US.
A US prisoner has access to food, water, toiletries, clothing, books, television, communication with the outside world, free thought, legal representation, a parole board, and visitors. These are commonplace "perks", if you will, that the US convict "enjoys"(and I loath to say "enjoy" on account of the overall humiliation and maltreatment a convict receives). He/she may wake early, may face violence from other prisoners or prison guards, may get labor duties, may suffer unnecessarily from medical condition untreated, etc. Largely, the usual convict does not face a series of life-threatening situations day-to-day, although such situations can easily occur.
An "enemy non-combatant", on the other hand, can face any number of horrific ordeals and tortures, often multiple times, often repeated over and over for effect as well "intelligence gathering". That the horrific screams of Dr. Aafi Siddiqui were heard for YEARS by so many prisoners in Bagram that many went on a hunger strike in protest is some indication of the limits on America's EVIL. Aside from the physical torture, there are the conditions these prisoners are kept in. You see, when there are standards to be kept, as in the US, appearances must be kept up. Not so in a place that no middle American citizen has ever stepped foot in. Here in the concentration camps they are kept like animals in wire cages, sporadically fed, often beaten, starved, humiliated, defiled. They live at the whim of their captors, they can be taken at any time and brought to some dark room somewhere where it will their own screams echoing into the rest of the prison. They can repeatedly raped and savaged at the will of their jailers, and for the Muslim women that is often the case. In other words, the very value of human life drops down the same level that EUROPEANS have ALWAYS treated non-whites.
We treat them like Native Americans.
We treat them like Chinese immigrants.
We treat them like Africans.
We treat them like they are less than us, and in doing so we prove to the world that WE ARE FAR LESS THAN THEY.

Not a week ago or so I listened to Earl Caldwell on WBAI talking about the Al Queda trials in NYC. He was making some point about torture and prisoners of war and he made the point the "We aren't like that! That's not us!"
Sorry, Earl.
We ARE like that.
That IS us.
And not just the ones who are actually committing the crimes against human dignity and respect. It is we who are more concerned with interest rates, tv shows, gasoline prices, political campaigns, and our own soft, padded, SORRY ASSES(mine included). There's really no time to think about all of that, and even if we do it can be passed off with thoughts like "They probably deserved it," or "Don't mess with the USA, man--9-11!"
So forgive me if I have lost all respect for that piece of shit Constitution, that useless Bill of Rights, and all of the other meaningless COVER that is supposed to make you people feel like you have it right and everyone else has it wrong. You DON'T have it right and you NEVER DID! That's the mistake you Americans always make. There never WAS a time when people who clamored for rights weren't savagely beaten down and killed for raising for their voices. The history is there if you look for it. If you care. If it matters. Here's a good start if truth matters to you--"A Peoples History of the United States" by Howard Zinn.
But truth is supposed to matter, right? "Truth, justice, and the American way?"
I guess Truth, like everything else in this fuckall sham of a civilized state, is just a question choice--not of substance.

Put on that seat belt and enjoy the crash.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post!
    I agree everyone should own "A Peoples History..." Howard Zinn helped a ex-war vet like myself find peace with my actions/ military service....