Reading the stories flung up this morning on the web I had to pick out the one that said, "Bush administration takes its cues from Lenin," on Raw Story. I mean, with a title like that you just gotta pick up, right? So This is pulled out of an interview with Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), and I feel that the lenin bit is really the weaker quote. This caught my eye:
The only prosecution you might get at Guantanamo is not going to be accepted by the rest of the world because it has all the appearances of a monkey trial. So if you’ve got the worst of the worst, it seems like you should try them, so you can punish them.
You know, in Alexandria, Virginia, where I was mayor and I represent, we had the guy that was alleged to be the 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui was his name. And he spouted all this kind of propaganda against the United States. For months, he went on and on and he said the worst stuff about the U.S. [Inaudible] Finally, he went through the trial and he’d sit there, and over time, though, as people came through and he saw the way the system of justice works, he started to quiet down. And when some of the families of the victims of 9/11 said he was not directly involved in the deaths of our loved ones, and so we don’t think he should actually be given the death penalty, Moussaoui fell silent. And I’m told by his defense lawyer that he sits in his cell with his head between his legs because he doesn’t know what to believe now. Going through that trial proved that the US does have principles, values, ideals, that there is a rule of law that applies. It’s everything he was told was not the case. We have disproved that propaganda by putting him through a trial. It seems to me it might make some sense to take the worst of the worst, put them in a prison cell, let them sit in a court room, bring them down to the level of a common criminal, which they are, and try them. That’s a lot better than putting them in a situation where they’re going to be perceived as some kind of martyrs.
Eh? I mean the article is headlined with this boring lenin quote:
"This administration, I’ve never seen an organization that learned the lessons of Lenin as clearly as these guys. These guys must tack up Lenin’s philosophy on their bedstand every night. Particularly when Lenin suggested if you say something often enough, with enough conviction, everybody will believe it."
Hey, we read that king of quote every day about the addministration, but his comments on the effects of a trial on Moussaoui really hit home. All our actions to date, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Iraq in general, only support propoganda and create more terrrorists, (and add to that the lack of funding port security and other *actual* increases in homeland security, that never happened). Wha thave we done to counter the propoganda? Or counter the system of beliefs against us? After all, it isn’t a small bunch of individuals out there that we can round up and kill to stop terrorism, Isreal has proven that, it the Ideas.
I mean, shit, go watch "V for Vendetta" and you can figure that one out.
We hear over and over that we can ever give fair trials or move these dangerous criminals because they are too important, too critical to ever be free. But that has no basis in our legal system, and only presumes that our ability to gather these people is flawless, and that none of them can actually be innocent. ( I realize that If i was a Republican now I would have that innate understanding that since they are Arabic, or at least darker in skin tone, they are probably guilty of something, but being liberal i guess I’m just not that innately smart)
I hear so often that these people are not common criminals, but why can’t we *make* them so? Drag them down off of their high pedistals into the general morass of scum. and yes, this means we let some of them go. It even means we will let some of the guilty ones go, because we just didn’t have the evidence to hold them. That’s fine. We have to do it. To not hold ourselves to our own legal standards reinforces the power of the very propoganda that we are fighting against. We have heard that so many times before, but Moran’s comments above point to another effect.
It may be that going through the process of our legal system sows the seeds of doubt into some of the people we return. Hell, for the innocent folks who get returned they may actually come away with some small fragment of understanding that our system is actually fair, when we ourselves actually follow it. That would go a long way, over time, to weakening the propoganda that attracts more terrorists.
But if we don’t have the conviction to follow through with this ourselves, then exactly what ideals are we fighting for again?