While condeming other countries for inhumane treatment of detainees the US Government is at the same time using the same inhumane treatment on its own detainees in a deliberate effort to break them.
I’m referring to the treatment of Bradley Manning, the person alleged to have leaked secret information to Wikileaks. He’s been held in solitary confinment for seven months now. He’s been denied pillows and blankets for no apparent reason. He’s not allowed to sleep when he wants to, and his one hour per day “exercise” time has strict limitations, for example he’s not allowed to run for some reason. There is no good reason for any of it. He’s not on suicide watch, although I guess if this keeps on going for much longer, he soon will be. It seems as if his treatment is entirely punitive. He’s been punished for something he’s not even been convicted yet. Not only that, but even if he was convicted his treatment would still not be appropriate.
There are significant second order consequences to treating people like this, as outlined in the article, but what’s most interesting is how the general opinion has changed in recent years to accept treatment of this kind, becase “those rotten terrorist belong in jail”. As described by Glenn Greenwald:
I think the worse part, is that very few people care what kind of conditions the incarcerated endure. We have essentially accepted prison-rape. The New Yorker piece asks is solitary confinement torture? I’d ask, even if it is torture, whether we even care?
It’s the perfect example of do as we say, not as we do. On the other hand the US is always preeching to other non-democratic nations how important human rights are and you savages are doing it wrong, and then on our own backyard we’re doing the EXACT same thing. Other countries are catching on to the deceit. So much for the “moral superiority”. It even looks like human rights organizations are investigating US for violations of human rights due to this.
And before some Internet tough guy starts accusing me of defending Bradley Manning’s actions…I’m doing no such thing. If he actually did what he’s alleged to have done, he’s guilty and deserves appropriate punishment for his crimes. Torture is not an appropriate punishment, especially since he hasn’t actually been convicted of anything yet.