. . . Monday November 14, 2005

Out of the Sunlight?

Those orange jumpsuits are like kryptonite for our moral values.

Here’s a very interesting OpEd by a lawyer who is doing pro bono work on behalf of a (innocent, as it turns out) Gitmo detainee.

Detainees Deserve Court Trials:

In a wiser past, we tried Nazi war criminals in the sunlight. Summing up for the prosecution at Nuremberg, Robert Jackson said that “the future will never have to ask, with misgiving: ‘What could the Nazis have said in their favor?’ History will know that whatever could be said, they were allowed to say. . . . The extraordinary fairness of these hearings is an attribute of our strength.”

The world has never doubted the judgment at Nuremberg. But no one will trust the work of these secret tribunals.

And then there’s this article in Denver Post from two other lawyers:

The logic of placing these prisoners on the edge of the American consciousness, just south of Florida, is to reassure us by their presence that somewhere, there are shackled men in small cells wearing orange and fitting our stereotypes. Their function is to be far enough away so that no one regularly thinks of the abuses they are suffering but close enough to make us feel safe – like the president and the government are doing something about terrorism. So we leave them there, suffering at the hands of frustrated interrogators and guards, an incomprehensible policy and an administration that seems to ignore the core values of constitutional peoples.

We’ve been trained not to think about these details, but this sounds ugly. And where is the moving statement from the opposing perspective?

Think about the play we give to the so-called morals debate in this country as compared to the silence with which we greet these stories.

Concentration is important!