Special Guest Item: A Moment of Reflection

Alex_the_Tired here:
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.

10 thoughts on “Special Guest Item: A Moment of Reflection

    • There exists a group of self-selected simpletons who can sort the good from bad by merely reading the R or D after their name.
      The problem then becomes to determine which letter refers to which characteristic.

      As for me, either letter means bad guy. All others to be determined by other means.

  1. I’m wondering how Senator John McCain, also a POW of the Vietnam War, can condone the torture of the detainees at Guantanamo. Has anybody dared ask him? 🙁

  2. Actually, it is easy to tell the bad guys.

    When you went through something, and then turn a blind eye to it being done to others? Yeah, you’re a bad guy.

    L’il George Bush (the original Affluenza victim)? I don’t expect him to have empathy. I don’t expect him to have the moment of realization. He’s never had an adult moment in his life. But McCain? He has the personal experience, he has access to the chain of command, he has the ability to force the issue onto the floor for discussion.

    And he does not.

    That, by definition, is evil.

    • During Bush’s second term, McCain proposed legislation that would have banned torture, and pressured Bush to sign it, but then Bush issued one of his notorious signing statements that undermines the contents of the bill. At the time, McCain was privately furious but refused to denounce what had happened in public. Which is of course why he is guilty.

      • McCain is one of the very most dishonorable, flip-flopping hypocrites I’ve ever seen. I was aghast at how far he sank in the 2008 election. No credibility or moral standing left.

      • Whatever balls McCain had left post-Vietnam were gone when he refused to attack Bush in public for smearing his child during the 2000 South Carolina primary. And then letting Bush con him on his torture bill.

    • As much as I despise Dubya, I think I’ve been too hard on him in the past. I suppose he can’t have empathy, but he does have sympathy–and some sort of moral compass. He did increase aid to African substantially for instance. I mean his moral compass is wrong almost all the time, but it is there. And while what we do to detainees is torture, it is almost nothing like what used to be done. Anyway, since it seems so difficult to convince some people that forced nakedness, waterboarding, etc. is torture, I prefer to smash their main argument that it is effective in gathering intelligence. Yeah, bad intelligence.

      • @ Jack Heart –

        “… but he does have … some sort of moral compass.” . Unfortunately, that “compass” was affected by the “magnetic” personalities of the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld, which distorted the direction of the needle from true north.
        [My apologies if this shows up twice (or more). I tried previously, and it didn’t post.]

  3. since using prisoners for propaganda is against the Geneva Convention, the USA carefully avoids allowing any of the prisoners speaking time on tv. it is for their own good.

    oh. except, they are not prisoners. so they are not covered… so we can print those pics with them in the orange jumpsuits…