Connecting the dots

This is the George Dubya Bush legacy edition of that old standby, connect the dots.

How many people has the USA detained in the last twelve months?

Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson estimates that the US administration has arrested between 30,000 and 50,000 suspects during the past year. Eighty-five percent of them were innocent, according to Wilkerson. “We really have created a mess here. A terrible mess,” Wilkerson says.

How many of the Abu Ghraib detainees were innocent?

Seventy to ninety percent of the detainees at Abu Ghraib, according to an October 2003 International Committee of the Red Cross report and sworn statements made by members of the 470th Military Intelligence Group, the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, and the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, were arrested by mistake or had no intelligence value.

How many of the Guantanamo Bay detainees were innocent?

  • Fewer than 20 percent of the Guantanamo detainees, the best available evidence suggests, have ever been Qaeda members.
  • Many scores, and perhaps hundreds, of the detainees were not even Taliban foot soldiers, let alone Qaeda terrorists. They were innocent, wrongly seized noncombatants with no intention of joining the Qaeda campaign to murder Americans.
  • The majority were not captured by U.S. forces but rather handed over by reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords and by villagers of highly doubtful reliability.
  • Detainees who had no information — because they had no involvement in or knowledge of terrorism — have been put through “humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions” in a systematic effort to break their wills that is “tantamount to torture,” the International Committee of the Red Cross complained in a confidential report to the government, excerpts of which The New York Times obtained in November 2004.

If we connect the dots, what picture emerges?

The groundwork is being laid for a new kind of government where it will no longer matter if you’re innocent or guilty, whether you’re a threat to the nation or even if you’re a citizen. What will matter is what the president — or whoever happens to be occupying the Oval Office at the time — thinks. And if he or she thinks you’re a threat to the nation and should be locked up, then you’ll be locked up with no access to the protections our Constitution provides. In effect, you will disappear.

A very ironic picture indeed:

The president who vowed to lead America in a moral crusade to win hearts and minds around the world has so inflamed anti-American sentiment that America’s moral standing in the world is at an all-time low. The president who vowed to defend the Good in the world from the forces of Evil has caused the United States to be held in deep contempt by large segments of virtually every country on every continent of the world, including large portions of nations with which the U.S. has historically been allied. The president who vowed to undertake a war in defense of American values and freedoms has presided over such radical departures from the defining values and liberties of this country that many Americans find their country and its government unrecognizable. And the president who vowed to lead the war for freedom and democracy has made torture, rendition, abductions, lawless detentions of even our own citizens, secret “black site” prisons, Abu Ghraib dog leashes, and orange Guantánamo jumpsuits the strange, new symbols of America around the world.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for providing the various dots.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Knotwurth Mentioning
    Jun 24, 2007 @ 23:31:28

    A pretty good summation of a lot of material, I think!


  2. Michael (a.k.a. Snaars)
    Jun 27, 2007 @ 21:00:37

    Good post. Puts things into perspective. I can feel the impending judgment of history.


  3. ashishthakur
    Jul 19, 2007 @ 02:52:41

    Lot of effort – lot of thought. Excellent precis. Would be linking to you for sure!


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