Saturday, June 10, 2006

Enough with the propaganda, already.

Below is a quick translation of an article by Yves Roucaute which ran in Le Figaro on 7-June-2006:

Yves Roucaute - Guantanamo: enough with the anti-American propaganda.

In a full out world war against terrorism, “the Guantanamo affair” is serious. Instead of supporting those who are on the front line in this new type of war with the cruel forces out against civilization, the poison of anti-Americanism is breaking the morale of our nations.

Anti-American propaganda instructs us to turn our gaze toward Cuba. Not the Cuban reality of Castro who, after having killed more than 100 000 Cubans in his half-century rule, has dominated by terror. Not the Castroists repugnant prisons where several thousands of political prisoners stagnate (336 officially). But in the tourist program of the politically correct, “The Gulag of our time” is American.

Guantanamo, Guantanamo. Propaganda denounces isolation prisoners there and the secrecy. There were those who made claims against it in the American courts, invented prisoners held without cause, imagines tortures, and the rape of individuals’ rights.

Insulation and distance? You don’t have to look hard for precedents which were never disputed. When on June 22, 1940, Hitler launched an unprovoked air against England, Winston Churchill got the Canadian government to detain 3 000 German soldiers captured by the British army, and kept them in complete secrecy in isolated camps in northern Ontario and at Kananaskis in the Rockies. There were three reasons for this: so the prisoners could not return to combat in the event of escape, and prohibited the passing of information within the camps, and prohibited the Nazi prisoners from forming networks. When one sees the way in which the Islamist networks are organized today in French and British prisons, isn’t isolation a mild response to the asymmetrical warfare carried out by the terrorist networks with have propagated worldwide?

The secret? It makes it possible to obtain information without the enemy not suspecting it, not knowing which is taken, nor when. It allows infiltrations, substitutions of people, revealings of complicities, plays of misinformation. Provisional, this type of imprisonment does not remain strategic about it. And it saves thousands of lives.

Court intervention? By what strange, tortuous view would this be necessarily? As in any war, internment of captured enemy does not enter the courts, and is done to prevent them from fighting and to keep them for information. Admittedly, after a while the secrecy of the capture is out. When the information is no longer valuable they can still take up arms. This is why the Americans released prisoners little by little. With regard to the current disputes, after the decision of the supreme Court (June 2004, Rasul v. Bush) and the Detainee Treatment Act of December 2005, the legal debate continues, but no judicious person wants to see the dangerous prisoners of Guantanamo free or to assemble networks in ordinary prisons.

Conditions of detention? Democracies are not without their obligations. As Kant showed, they are entirely different from tyrannies in what violations of human dignity the punished may endure. By forgetting that, a soldier commits a double felony: he violates a natural law and sabotages the moral underpinnings of his country. This always seems to be left out of the propaganda that these sanctimonious hypocrites put out to confuse and control others. The American courts answer this moral concern: they imposed punishment following the revelation of Abu Ghreïb and nowhere did anyone thank Allah for that.

But where is the evidence of torture at Guantanamo? The famous UN Commission on Human Rights Report (of February 2005) on which these anti-Americans lean proves nothing. This commission, which counts among it’s members communist China, Castro’s Cuba and, Saudi Arabia… had found the military authorities that didn’t trust in them improper by accepting their arrival but not letting them question the prisoners. Consequently, they refused to put a foot in the camp and drew up his report thanks in particular to testimony of captive Islamists who were released.

What’s the latest form of propaganda? Poor “a documentary-fiction”, The Road to Guantanamo, with won the golden bear at the Festival of Berlin, with lines so large which they make put Sergeï Eisenstein and Leni Riefenstahl to shame. Was there really no reason to suspect why the three heroes of film were prisoners at Guantanamo? Can you really take them at their world when they say they underwent torture which leaves no marks? Victims of bad luck, they left for Pakistan to attend a wedding in Karachi, the disembarking point for the world’s Islamists on their way to Afghanistan. Then, they go another 1.200 kilometers to Kandahar, the center of Al-Qaida command. They continued to Kabul where many Taliban reinforcements arrived at the same time. During the Allied intervention our heroes are found at the Pakistani border with the Islamists. Fleeing, their bad luck continued when they are stopped by the Northern Alliance with armed members of the Taliban, who hand them over to the American authorities.

Each day anti-Americanism appears more and more like the new opiate of the masses. It is the heart of a world without a heart, where morality is excluded, the strange reference point for the consciences lost by the fall of the Berlin Wall. If the true force of a republic lies in virtue, as Montesquieu said, then virtue is measured by courage one has to fight for it. Guantanamo, it is this courage.

Yves Roucaute is a professor of philosophy and political science at Paris-X Nanterre University and the author of “Le néo-conservatisme est un humanisme” (Neoconservatism is a form of Humanism.)

With thanks to Carine for posting on the original.

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