Sunday, June 11, 2006

Assault From "The Tropics"

Here's one of the more bizarre statements I've seen in some time (tip to TCR reader Tim M):
The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says.

The camp commander said the two Saudis and a Yemeni were "committed" and had killed themselves in "an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us".

Lawyers said the men who hanged themselves had been driven by despair.

A military investigation into the deaths is now under way, amid growing calls for the detention centre to be moved or closed.

Walter White, an international lawyer who specialises in human rights, told the BBC the Guantanamo camp was likely to be considered a "great stain" on the human rights record of the US.

There have been dozens of suicide attempts since the camp was set up four years ago -but none successful until now.

The men were found unresponsive and not breathing by guards on Saturday morning, said officials.

They were in separate cells in Camp One, the highest security section of the prison.

They hanged themselves with clothing and bed sheets, camp commander Rear Adm Harry Harris said.

He said medical teams had tried to revive the men, but all three were pronounced dead.

Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair.

"They are smart. They are creative, they are committed," he said.

"They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."
Too much time in the sun for the hysterical Rear Admiral Harris? After all, he is in "the tropics"....

17 Comments:

Blogger Ahistoricality said...

I think that it's important to see this statement in the context of an administration and right-wing media machine that considers any criticism as treasonous, opposition equivalent to terrorism, and civil disobedience unworthy of protection by domestic or foreign law. It's not simply loopy: it's actually paranoid.

6/11/2006 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Antonie said...

It is a hollow remark on the part of the commander.

The whole world knows these people were held for five years without a charge. They were either desperate or they were protesting at their condition in the prison.

6/12/2006 6:30 AM  
Anonymous slomo said...

Please sir, can I have another?

6/12/2006 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Kevin Wohlmut said...

Now come on... if that guy Cheney shot had to apologize to Cheney, then I think it's only reasonable to expect that the dead prisoners, or at least their families, need to apologize for "staining the U.S. human rights record".

6/12/2006 9:47 AM  
Blogger DED said...

I'll second what ahistoricality wrote.

Even if you support the war, how can you support that kind of mentality? Too much time in the sun indeed!

6/12/2006 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harris needs to go watch Patton again:

"Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

6/12/2006 11:55 AM  
Anonymous NeilS said...

I was also saddened and shocked to hear those commments. The Patton quote came to me as well.

Imagine those dastardly terrorists. Killing themselves at us. What country do we have to invade to stop that outrage?

6/12/2006 11:58 AM  
Anonymous semper fubar said...

It's critically important to the republicans and other assorted mongrels who rule us that we maintain our victim status no matter what happens.

As long as we're the victims, we can excuse any sort of abominable behavior on our part -- Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Fallujah, Guantanamo... who knows where it will end?

It reminds me of another sick society somewhere... let me see.... somewhere in Europe in mid twentieth century?

6/12/2006 12:05 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

"Asymmetrical warfare" is a little nicer than calling their suicides a PR stunt. It's wild. Why make that comment, even if you believe it?

6/12/2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Clint said...

Saying it's a PR stunt makes MUCH more sense than saying it's an act of war. However, that's still not saying much.

I think the Rear Admiral should do us all a favor strike back with a similar act of war.

6/12/2006 6:30 PM  
Anonymous nil said...

clint,

Martin Rowson at the Guardian drew something along the same lines.

6/12/2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger mjs said...

Well, someone from the Bush administration did call it a pr stunt. My first thought when I read that Adm. Harris called it an act of assymetrical warfare was to wonder what the target of the attack was? America's self esteem? Bush has rendered language meaningless.

6/13/2006 1:40 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

By coincidence, Admiral Harry Harris goave an interview to a few reporters on June 8 and some of the questions had to do with death. Here is the link to the Miami Herald story. Admiral Harris has only been in charge of Gitmo since March 31 and all sorts of stuff has happened since then including an uprising. But, apparently, Harris's biggest challenge is getting Astroturf installed at one of the camps.

6/13/2006 2:53 AM  
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