Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another Voice For Sami Al Hajj

I am embarrassed by the fact that I totally missed Nicholas Kristof's column on the Al Jazeera journalist being held at Guantanamo Bay when it was published February 14, 2008 in the NY Times. I finally noticed it when I found it published by Germany's Der Spiegel under a special agreement with the NY Times whereby each publication can print the other's articles. More about that arrangement in a bit.

What embarrasses me about having missed the Kristof column is that I have been grousing for a long time about the silence from the US press on Mr. Hajj's detention and torture. It appears that at least some journalists are now willing to speak openly about this travesty. Mr. Kristof details the horrendous "force-feeding" regimen Mr. Hajj undergoes twice a day, and then makes some rather pertinent comments about what this all means to the rest of the world.

If the Bush administration appointed an Under Secretary of State for Antagonizing the Islamic World, with advice from a Blue Ribbon Commission for Sullying America's Image, it couldn't have done a more systematic job of discrediting our reputation around the globe. Instead of using American political capital to push for peace in the Middle East or Darfur, it is using it to force-feed Mr. Hajj.

President Bush is now moving forward with plans to try six Guantánamo prisoners before a military tribunal, rather than hold a regular trial. That will call new attention to abuses in Guantánamo and sow more anti-Americanism around the world.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pushed last year to close Guantánamo because of its wretched impact on American foreign policy. But they lost the argument to Alberto Gonzales and Dick Cheney. So America spends millions of dollars bolstering public diplomacy and sponsoring chipper radio and television broadcasts to the Islamic world -- and then undoes it all with Guantánamo.


Indeed.

But here's the interesting part: as I mentioned above, Der Spiegel and the NY Times have a reciprocal agreement to publish each other's stories, and this was selected by the German news magazine. That certainly says a lot about how we are viewed by our allies in Germany and in Europe, especially when it comes to everything associated with Gitmo.

337 days

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3 Comments:

Anonymous candymarl said...

This beyond insanity. The treatment of this man is just vile. This is horror on steroids.

How dare we lecture other countries about their treatment of prisoners? How dare we?

They want him to show remorse? For what? For not being grateful enough for his torture and mistreatment? For being innocent?

May The Deity forgive us. I'm sure no one will.

5:45 PM  
Blogger danps said...

Funny enough I was posting on the same topic at almost the same time. It really needs wider attention.

4:58 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

danps, like I said in the post and have said in earlier posts, I am just stunned that the US media isn't making this a cause celebre. For crying out loud, this is one of their own!

Instead, however, most of the time our press is happy to go with the White House handouts.

By the way, great post and a really nice blog.

6:28 AM  

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