The news reported the other day the death of Jeremian A. Denton Jr.
Denton was shot down during the Vietnam War, tortured and finally released after seven years of brutal confinement. He is best remembered by that sliver of the country that actually pays attention for using his eyelids to blink out the Morse Code for T-O-R-T-U-R-E during a filmed propaganda interview.
I admire ANYONE who can perform such a marvelous middle finger.
But I had a moment of reflection upon the 45 seconds the news could spare to tell us about this man:
He was shot down on the way to bombing a military target. This made Denton a legitimate target for capture.
He was tortured, and that was wrong. There is no defense for torture, especially of unarmed prisoners. What are they going to do, anyway? This isn’t Hogan’s Heroes. They aren’t engaging in sabotage every week while a laughtrack plays in the background.
He not only resisted, he encouraged his men to resist.
And then I thought about the men being held at Gitmo. The question of whether they were/are legitimate targets is dubious at best. The reports are easily accessible that show some of these men were rounded up based on a sole person’s “testimony” that the man in question was engaged in terrorist activities. The “testimony” was often accompanied by sizable payments that equated to the wages the “testifier” could earn only after years and years of labor. (In any U.S. court, such testimony would simply be ruled defective.)
The men at Gitmo resist. They go on hunger strikes. For this, they are strapped to chairs and forcefed via gastric tube–a dangerous procedure when done by amateurs. There is precedent. The suffragettes got the same treatment.
Do the Gitmo prisoners blink out T-O-R-T-U-R-E? Who knows. Some bright lad at the Pentagon, who probably read about Denton at West Point realized that a total press blackout is the best way to go.
I wonder what Denton thought about what was going on at Gitmo? Perhaps he simply couldn’t look at it, as it would mean that his country had become just as bad as what he had been fighting all those years ago.