Wednesday, June 15, 2005

World-Herald Spins Guantanamo Bay

by Kyle Michaelis
The OWH ran another in a long line of editorials today gleefully characterizing anyone who questions the Bush's Administration's tactics in the War on Terror as fear-mongers who jeopardize the security and resolve of the nation. Their chief target this time, unsurprisingly, was former President Jimmy Carter, the peacemaking patriot and America's unofficial goodwill amassador to the world.

Carter recently called for the closing of the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention camp for the questionable, likely illegal tactics reported there that have done much to destroy America's credibility as a freedom-loving democracy the world-over. Here's the World-Herald's response:
Americans like their public policy direct and unambiguous. They can be impatient with nuance, indirection and seeming contradiction, deeply uncomfortable when something upsets their innate sense of fair play.

All this may be a factor in whatever support former President Jimmy Carter has received for his call to shut down the Guantanamo detainee facility. Guantanamo is unpleasant to contemplate, the thinking goes, so it ought to be eliminated. Carter's call, however, is at best premature.

Certainly a moment may come when the facility is no longer useful in the war against terrorism and could be retired. We hope the moment arrives soon. For now, however, no such need to shut it down has been established.

Instead, we are seeing a political campaign that has embraced and exaggerated allegations of detainee abuse and made them a political vehicle against the foreign policy of President Bush. This has been aided at times by news organizations overzealous in their efforts to document examples of detainee abuse.

No story of human mistreatment is too lurid to be circulated on the Sunday morning talk shows and the streets of the Muslim world, so long as America is the villain....

The world that exists in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, is different in significant ways from what went before. Bush, in determining to frame the U.S. response to al-Qaida as a war on terrorism, helped clarify the realities.

It was a new kind of war, without borders, without an organized enemy - a war, consequently, in which the established rules often don't apply....

Terrorists by definition have waived the rules of civilized behavior. While the detainees have a human right not to be physically injured or religiously humiliated in the course of being interrogated, civilized society also has its right to defend itself - even if that requires interrogation methods lying somewhere beyond the outer limits of the Miranda warning.

Americans might ask themselves: What kinds of interrogation would have been justified if, by making the right person talk, 9/11 could have been avoided? Would sleep deprivation be too much to tolerate under those circumstances? Dripping water on the person's head?

Guantanamo may be an unpleasant reality of the times, a necessary weapon in the war against terrorism. But it is no gulag, the incendiary term with which Amnesty International chose to politicize the anti-Bush campaign. Closing it now might make America more popular in Arab countries, as some contend, but even that's far from provable. It might just be seen as another example of the infidel's lack of backbone.

Jimmy Carter says just shut it down. Fortunately, any future decision will be made by people who are in a far better position to weigh the consequences of being wrong.

Nothing new there. The World-Herald again refuses to question any of the Bush Administration's actions. They stick with the party line, making a complete mockery of the independent media ideal, insulting those who criticize the Administration (overzealous, politically-motivated, sensationalistic) and seek to safe-guard basic freedoms from fear-mad excess. Everything is justifiable in the wake of 9/11 - there is no sin too great.

But wait, while targeting the usual suspects - Democrat Jimmy Carter and Amnesty International - the World-Herald completely neglected to mention Guatanamo's most recent critic - Republican U.S. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, a former member of the Bush Cabinet. They ran the story of Martinez's call for Guantanamo's closure this weekend yet left it entirely out of their editorial. Wonder why because I'd love to hear how they could dismiss him as just another Bush-hating liberal with political motivations.

Here's a bit from the World-Herald's own pages that points out just how cheap and dishonest they are in feeding us the Bush agenda with no regard for the facts:
Sen. Mel Martinez, who served in President Bush's first Cabinet, on Friday became the first high-profile Republican to call for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp for terrorism suspects.

Speaking at a meeting of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in Key West, the Florida politician called the camp "an icon for bad news."

"At some point you wonder the cost-benefit ratio: How much do you get out of having that facility there?" Martinez said. "Is it serving all the purposes you thought it would serve when initially you began it? Or can this be done some other way a little better?"

The high-security prison camp in Cuba has been a lightning rod for controversy since it opened in January 2002, three months after the invasion of Afghanistan.

Inmates have accused their American captors of abuse and of violating their Muslim beliefs as a method of interrogation. The International Red Cross and internal FBI documents have corroborated some of those allegations.

In calling for the camp to be closed, Martinez joined former President Carter and Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, both Democrats, who also said this week that the camp should be shut.

They don't even need to read their own newspaper to write editorials - just Karl Rove's talking points. This doesn't even qualify as spin - it's flat-out dishonesty.

How long can this continue? When will the people of Nebraska finally be free of the World-Herald's daily dose of deception?


Anonymous Chad W said...

What you forgot to mention, is that your second article was not an editorial. It was a simple statement of words.

Both Mr. Carter and Mr. Martinez are wrong in their conclusion to shut down Gitmo. All it would do would be move what ever abuses their might be there, to another location.

It would not solve any problems. - That is their ignorance.

Fix it, don't chuck it. Dems want to do it with Social Security, why not this?

Where are these criminals supposed to go when we close it? Iraq - so more Americans can die. hmmm

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...


This post isn't about whether or not Gitmo should be shut down - it's about the under-handed and dishonest tactics the World-Herald uses to dismiss those who criticize Bush Administration policy.

Personally, I'm not convinced that closing Gitmo would do a whole lot of good - especially if its just an empty gesture for PR purposes in the Arab world. I'd rather see a more comprehensive reconsideration of our tactics in general. There should be a leveling with the American people about what is and is not acceptable in our War on Terror. No more platitudes and playing games with international law - give us some truth and let the people have a voice.

Blogger Cornhead said...

The Omaha World people actually still read that rag for news? I thought we dismissed it long ago as more along the lines of a tabloid..........

Anonymous Chad said...


I may have misinterpeted your meaning. Yes, I too have not come to a conclusion that closing Gitmo would solve any problems. Even for PR value.

In my first reading, I took it more in meaning of agreeing with those individuals that whom wanted to close the camp.

There is no doubt that the Bush admin. has been 'laxed' in their ability to tell us what 'legal' means of conduct is being granted to these prisoners.

They are called 'combatants' which in itself is brought up in the Geneva Conv. but the doc. does not specifically detail what legal means these individuals have in rights.

That is where I do think most citizens are confused. - In essence, they are in limbo.

Blogger HumeanBeing said...

How about REALLY CLOSING Gitmo - the whole damn base - and finally paying a fair fucking rent for it ???

Sad that we "economically terrorize" Cuba, offer many of the scummiest Cubans special status upon setting foot on US shore (illegal if they were citizens of ANY other country), and we have the most horridly unfair "contract" granting us eternal "lease" on Guantanamo Bay for something like 100 pieces of gold a year. We can only be evicted if BOTH parties agree to it, never mind that that agreement was signed by a former US puppet dictator of Cuba.

God bless the USA.

(before any comments about the hyperbole of equating our embargo as terrorism, Cuba has/had serious food shortages, hardly any medicines, lack of technological equipment, energy shortages, and zillions of other shortages after the fall of USSR. It's illegal for any ship that DOCKS in Cuba to even visit America for months afterward, and it's illegal for companies selling products (medicines) in USA to sell to Cuba. Cuba's avg calories/day, infant mortality, and other measures all declines in the 90s during rationing)

Ooops I didn't comment on the World-Herald. Who cares about them anyway?


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