More on Guatanamo

More on Guatanamo

The more I read and hear about what’s really going on in Guatanamo Bay, the more I realize that whatever the definition of torture is (pace my previous blog entry), what’s happening at Gitmo isn’t it.

For example, if they were treating the prisoners inhumanely would they be standing on the runway, arguing with their guards, refusing to go home? Another report said the prisoners had gained an average of 9 pounds of weight from all the good food. Others said some of these guys were given more showers in a week than they’d had the previous year.

Is this the Gulag? Is this a concentration camp? The Hanoi Hilton? If the interrogations at Gitmo are torure then we don’t know what torture is anymore.

  • The best compliment I ever received (second-hand) was when my wife went to a neighborhood gathering and during a few introductions explained who she was and where we lived.  One of the ladies said, “Oh, yea, I know where you live – your husband is the one who always outside with the kids.”

    Maybe we fathers recognize the “need” based on our own “needs” back when we were kids.  But why would my generation recognize it more so than prior generations?  I know, especially with my son (8), that there’s a need for Dad to be around.

    I remember as a kid throwing a football around by myself alot.  Now, when I see my son outside doing something like that, I’ll go out there because it bothers me that he’s out there alone.  I don’t know why exactly.

    My own father has recognized this and will make comments about the closeness.  Maybe because he wishes he’d have done the same, or that he had the opportunity to do the same. 

    I remember that my father, through his company ( 7 Up ) had season tickets for the Washington Capitals in their first season (1974).  I never went to a game, although he’d go plenty with guys from work or clients.  When I was older, we made a habit of going to games, and now I take my son to baseball games a few times every year.

    But recently I was invited to go with a rep from our health insurance provider.  He said he had two tickets and asked if I wanted to go.  I told him that I’d been taking my son to games since he was 3 and that I couldn’t ever go to one and not take him.  So this guy gave me both tickets and said have a good time. 

    Maybe we see in our sons the needs we had when we were kids.

  • Where are people like John McCain at times like this?  Surely he knows what inhumane treatment is.  Surely he could weigh in on the comparisons of Guatanamo to a real POW camp.

  • An interesting exercise is to compare numbers.  For example:

    Nazi Concentration Camps: Six Million dead.

    Khmer Rouge killing fields: Two Million dead.

    Soviet Gulag: 30 Million dead.

    Liberals need to reach out with both hands and get a firm grip on reality. 

  • if they were treating the prisoners inhumanely would they be standing on the runway, arguing with their guards, refusing to go home?

    Possibly.  First, they may only be treating certain prisoners inhumanely.  Would you really expect prisoners who have been tortured by the U.S. government to be released, particularly at this moment? 

    Second, the inhumane treatment may be considered more humane than the treatment likely to be meted out to the prisoners at their destination.  That doesn’t mean that our treatment meets our own standards for humaneness.

    Third, these particular prisoners may have readily cooperated, and been enjoying certain “carrots” offered by the interrogators. 

    Fourth, we should not allow the atrocities of the 20th Century to redefine torture.  The use of physical or moral violence to extract confessions is torture, plain and simple.

  • Those who claim Gitmo is a gulag should read my father’s diary which he smuggled out of Stalag Luft III on the Death March.  I guarantee that neither he, nor any of his crew (those who survived, that is) gained any weight.  And those Stalags were run by the “humane” Luftwaft, not the SS.

    Our society, and the media in particular, is so out of touch with reality.

  • It may also be that some did experience a close relationship with their fathers and want to replicate the same.  My son is still in college, but he also talks about career options in terms of family life.  He is well aware that his dad bypassed some lucrative opportunities in order to have more family time, and none of us has any regrets.  Dh & I enjoyed the DINK life for a while, but never so much as we have enjoyed our more frugal life with children.  I hope that some of these other young men are responding to similar positive histories and not just in reaction to being daycare kids.

  • And has anyone yet provided a definition of “physical or moral violence”?

    I have a hard time believing that turning up the AC or turning it off or making someone sit or stand for a long qualifies.

    Would you really expect prisoners who have been tortured by the U.S. government to be released, particularly at this moment?

    No one said this happened yesterday. This happened sometime over the past couple of years.

  • I read with interest the previous blog concerning the situation at Gitmo, and thought my reaction might not be appropriate, but I will offer it here.

    My husband is in his 23rd year of military service. If sleep deprivation, lousey food, inconvenient toilet arrangements and extremes of heat and cold are torture, then it’s been 22+ years of torture for him and millions of other servicemembers!

    Seriously, when he deployed to the Gulf War, and when he deploys to Iraq [it’s inevitable], their “normal working conditions” would fit the torture standard there at Gitmo. I know there is an objective standard as far as conditions that POWs should have to endure, but has it been violated at Gitmo?

    When he was deployed, was I worried about lack of sleep and other “normal” wartime stresses? No, but I was indeed extremely stressed out at the thought of his being captured. If he wrote and said “They don’t let me sleep and the food is lousy and the room is too cold/hot and I have to stand for 8 hours at a time”, I would have been relieved!!!

    Don’t get me wrong – inhumane treatment is never NEVER acceptable.

    These guys are in prison. Imprisonment means a certain amount of deprivation.

  • My nephew spent a year as a guard at Gitmo.  I have spoken to him at length about his experience.  The only physical violence he talked about involved extracting unruly and violent prisoners from there cell, sometimes to serve them a meal.  He was privy to interrogations, and did say that there are moments of hot lights, and lengthy standing sessions, but never physical violence for the sake of acquiring information.  He said that the prisoners are treated well, but act in way you would expect from any person incarcerated for a long time.  They get angry and agitated, and occasionally act out. Bear in mind these prisoners feel they did nothing wrong.  This feeling of being locked up unjustly leads to occasional violent behavior.  He said their living conditions are pretty clean, but it does get hot.  It is Cuba after all.  But he also points out that the living conditions for the guards/ soldiers often don’t include working A/C either.  The prison and the guards living quarters are not very close to our military base there, and our soldiers do not have the benefit of the living conditions of our Marines stationed there.  I cannot say if this is liberal bias, or political muckraking, but the recent news reports I have read generally do not match up with the first hand accounts my nephew has given me. 

  • No one said this happened yesterday. This happened sometime over the past couple of years.

    Gitmo “torture” has been an issue since the place opened. 

    I have a hard time believing that turning up the AC or turning it off or making someone sit or stand for a long qualifies.

    Turning off the AC in a car on a summer’s day with the windows shut would qualify.  Soaking the inmate with water and turning the AC down to 45 would qualify.  Was the temperature control inadvertent?  No, in fact it was methodical.  What were the actual temperatures?  We’re not quite sure, but the FBI agent reports that it was “well over 100 degrees” and that the inmate had literally pulled his hair out in clumps, and that it was so cold that a “barefooted detainee was shaking with cold.”  This was done for periods of 18-24 hours or more. 

    Requiring the inmate to urinate and defecate on himself is an assault on his dignity.  Are there situations when this might be allowed?  Sure.  In a totally controlled environment for the purpose of extracting a confession?  Come on. 

    Finally, we hear that “extremely loud rap music was being played” in one room, “and had been since the day before”.  This certainly sounds physically and morally violent.  But perhaps the FBI agent exaggerated a little urban background music played by one of the bored guards?  I don’t think so.

  • Growing up, having friends with divorced parents was the norm. My Dad left when I was 3 and never came back. It’s a real testimony to their generation: Self indulgent Baby Boomer slackers who never measured up to what their parents did.

    What boggles my mind is what it must be like for my kids … to actually have a Dad around. In a weird way, I’ll never be able to relate to their experience as children, but I don’t need to and I don’t need to poison their minds with my rotten experience.

    This is an absolute reaction to day-care and its full blown cousin: divorce.  The numbers don’t lie.  Dads who were abandonded as children are notoriously sensitive to being involved with their kids.

  • I saw nothing that said he wasn’t living at the rectory. He is a pastor in Branson, Missouri, and the house is in Albequerque, New Mexico. It’s either a vacation home or rental property.

  • Jointly signing kids’ birthday cards, co-ownership of a private residence, maintaining such a “close friendship” with a non-related female—it’s all wrongdoing.  A priest belongs to Christ to the exclusion of all others—a more profound bond than between husband and wife since, among other things, the holy priesthood is “forever according to the order of Melchizidech” and death ends the marital bond.  Not only have we dumbed down torture, we’ve dumbed down scandal, which used to be defined as any behavior or gesture that causes others to stumble in their faith, ie, to be confused by a mixed message. 

    “Grandma and Philip.”  Please.  It reminds one of teenagers who say, “But we really do just SLEEP together, mom.”

  • It’s politicial.  The critics, all Democrats, believe it will get them votes in the next election no matter who the Republican presidential candidate is.  The Democrats simply have nothing else to complain about now so they complain about Gitmo.

  • The FBI Agent’s firsthand report clearly describes torture.  It is not the only such report; there are at least several others

    In the absence of contradictory information, such as evidence against the agent’s character, or extraordinary and verifiable alternative explanations of what the agent observed, or evidence directly refuting the agent’s observations, then the only reason to conclude that there wasn’t any torture is blind faith in the U.S. military. 

    A thousand soldiers can swear and testify truthfully that they personally saw no torture, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

  • It wouldn’t suprise me to learn that Glenna McKitterick accumulated a very large file including physical evidence and recordings to back up her claim of sexual harassment.  This doesn’t look like a spur of the moment thing.

    In one blog I read, Fr. Bucher was reported to be Archbishop Liebrecht’s vicar general.

  • Seem like a reasonable explanation to me, Thomas.  The Father Who Wasn’t There is a far greater black hole than most of society wants to admit.

  • And has anyone yet provided a definition of he contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.

  • “The Father Who Wasnanifest evil, a grave threat to the Church and requires extreme measures to rectify.

  • If it is a case of a priest having an intimate relationship with a married woman, and then assisting her in arranging for a phony annulment, then I would be opposed to that. Generally, i am opposed to the huge number of annulments given out and the ease with which people are getting them.  However, if it were a case of an unmarried woman, I would guess that this might be a situation which is best left for the local bishop to sort out.

  • Seamole:

    I never said “punishment” was the purpose of criminal law, merely that it was the end of the “physical and moral violence,” i.e., the result achieved by that violence and an essential element of all criminal law. Pointing out that punishment itself has some other end (in the sense of “end purpose,” telos) is neither here nor there.

    Thus, your editing of 2266 is, in this context, so misleading as to constitute a lie. Four times in 2266 does the word “punish” appear in one of its grammatical forms and you conventiently semi-quote 2266 so that it never does, to bolster your point that punishment is not the purpose of the law.

    Also, “punishing the aggressor” has long been considered one of the legitimate justifications for war, from Augustine and Aquinas.

  • I never said e family, the former in the order of authority and the latter in the order of love. The former is Petrine and the latter is Marian.

    But other information was illuminating, including some statistics on changing attitudes of men toward careers and work vis a vis family life.

    [M]any younger men want to be more engaged in family life than their own fathers were. In 1992, about 68 percent of college-educated men said they wanted to move into jobs with more responsibility, according to a recent study by the Families and Work Institute. A decade later, the number fell to 52 percent. Meanwhile, a 2000 study by the Radcliffe Public Policy Center found that the job characteristic most often ranked as very important by men ages 21 to 39 was a work schedule that allowed them to spend more time with their families. Seventy percent said they were willing to sacrifice pay and lose promotions to do so.

    It’s not hard to figure out why this is so. This is a generation of men whose fathers were never home and whose mothers worked outside the home too. This is the latchkey generation and they don’t want their children to experience the longing for parenting that they did.


    2005-06-21 21:02:24
    2005-06-22 01:02:24

    2005-06-22 07:36:26
    2005-06-22 11:36:26
    Because their wives are working so they don’t need more money but they want more time off.

  • Before you hand Msgr. Bucher by his collar from the nearest tree consider that this suit was filed AFTER the woman was fired.  Any article that begins “A former employee of Our Lady of the Lake church has filed suit against the local Catholic diocese…(Springfield News Leader should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Since John Leibrecht has been Bishop of Springfield-Cape (1984), there have been three accusations of sexual abuse and all three priests have been dismissed.  Until now, there has never been a lawsuit filed (again the News Leader).

    Our Lady of the Lake has VERY deep pockets.  As the article points out, the parish has 350 member families and an average weekend attendance of over 3,000.  I have visited the church off and on for years and I can tell you that Msgr. Bucher is extremely good at asking for money.  Imagine supporting a physical plant that large with so few families.

    Clohesky and $NAPare advising the alleged victim.  Aparently she went to them before she filed her law$uit.

    A similar development in today’s $t. Louis Post Dispatch,, “A St. Louis-area man sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Raymond Burke and a dead priest Wednesday, claiming the church covered up sexual abuse by the priest in the early 1970s.”

    The thing that make$ this intere$ting comes further along in the $tory:“It is the first time that Cooper has been sued or accused of abuse, according to $NAP. ”  and “The suit says the archdiocese turned a “blind eye” to reports of previous clergy sexual abuse and abuse by Cooper. ”  Hmmm, even the $NAPers say the priest was never accused yet the Archdiocese turned a “blind eye” to reports of abuse.

    Too bad the poor man isn’t alive to defend himself and his reputation.

  • Hate to be the meanie here but a person having consentual sex with a priest is NOT a victim.  Not only were we brought up to respect the priest, we were taught they were celibate. 

    Why is it that it’s guilty until proven innocent.  You can never un-ring that bell.

  • Priests need to be living at the rectory.  Period.

    Lack of fraternity is one of the biggest problems out there for priests. Living in your own privately owned home certainly won’t help, but neither will living in the rectory when those you live with aren’t the kind you can connect with, in order to help carry you through the triumphs and difficulties of daily living.

    Being a priest can be pretty lonely. This is something that never really hits a man in seminary, since his formation requires that he spend so much time with his brothers. But when that gets severed and a man goes out on his own, it’s easy to lose that sense of fraternity, creating a kind of emptiness that just isn’t filled in a man’s life.

    And when there is something missing that isn’t easily fixable, people seek compensation. Those priests I know of who strayed from their priestly commitments all did so because there was a lack of fraternal bond; they had nobody close to them daily to help them positively express their need for companionship.

    The answer, in my opinion, is exactly what my bishop has suggested; priests need to live with other priests that they genuinely like and enjoy being around. It should surprise no one that some get along better than others. I’ve always liked the European model, where “living above the shop” in a rectory doesn’t even exist; most priests live in an apartment-style situation, where there’s a higher chance that like-minded individuals can live with and support each other.