Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Gitmo Itself Was Torture!

When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best

...Especially the young, the struggling, and the poor.

(from The BBC)
A former guard at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay has spoken in his first television interview about the brutality he witnessed to inmates.

Chris Arendt told the BBC what he saw amounted to ''torture'' and that some of his fellow guards were so violent as to be ''psychotic.''

Chris Arendt's interview on the BBC about . the
abuses at Guantanamo (Sorry I couldn't imbed the video.)

Arendt enlisted in the army at 17. He was stationed at Gitmo when he was 19. in January of 2004. From his testimony at the Winter Soldier Hearings:

I was 17 years old when I joined the United States Army National Guard in Michigan. My family had been displaced and I was living with friends and I decided to join the military because I had no other options. My family was poor, I was poor, and I wanted to go to school. I was promised a significant amount of money for this purpose--which I have yet to receive.

He went on to say that just being interred at Gitmo was (to him) torture. You can read Arendt's entire testimony here.

This all sounds so familiar. Yep, it's Abu Ghraib all over again. Only this time the torture was sanctioned by the highest ranking politicos in the United States. The prison guards who were exposed in the Abu Ghraib Prison torture were from poor families and most had signed up with the National Guard in order to go to college. Some were from West Virginia. Can you imagine an 18 year-old from Appalachia who's never even seen another county let alone another country handling prisoners in Iraq?

Tomorrow, President George W. Bush will address the nation in a "farewell" speech. He might touch on the subject of torture (he's definitely stupid enough to do it). Think of Chris Arendt's testimony. Think of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Think of poor kids who have never experienced another place or culture promised money and an education if they enlist. Think of them ordered to torture other human beings.

Just a thought.