You\’ve Heard This One Before.

You know, the one about the bloke who murdered his parents and then asked the court for leniency because he was an orphan?


It\’s a defense of Gitmo from … the commander of Gitmo for the last year. It contains this priceless nugget:

Joint Task Force doctors have performed more than 370 surgeries, including restorative eye procedures, and a recent back surgery that restored movement and avoided possible paralysis for a detainee. Shortly after, that detainee sent me a note saying "Thank you, I have been wrong about Americans."

That back surgery? The prisoner in question, Abdul Zahir, detainee number 75, who is represented by Professor Kermit Roosevelt and a team of law students at Penn Law School, required surgery because an IRF team cuffed his wrists to his ankles and jumped on his back after immobilizing him.

That\’s the sort of thing these civil liberties are all about….that they may not do these sorts of things to us.

17 thoughts on “You\’ve Heard This One Before.”

  1. Tim

    Love the blog, and I’m all about civil liberties.

    But if you seriously believe that an IRF team cuffed and immobilized this gentleman, jumped on his back, and that the US then quietly performed a reconstructive surgery on him, (with no investigation carried out into the back-jumping, in the country that brought you the Haditha hoax, the Jenin hoax, the Jesse MacBeth hoax, the TNR fairytales, and countless other examples of credulous left-wing clowns running with half-ass tales from motivated complainants only to be shot down by, ahem, the facts, at a later point), and the only ‘evidence’ offered is from uncorroborated blog anecdotes, you’re becoming like a mainstream journalist.

    Which is a shame; but like I say, I love the blog.


    Tim adds: Willing to correct it if Andrew Sullivan was wrong…..

  2. As a child, you were taught to admit to breaking a window with a baseball (or British sporting equivalent). Imagine if you had access to a military-industrial complex that enabled you to fix the window and launch a campaign to discredit anyone that claims it was broken in the first place. You could even stage moon landings and the like.

    Thankfully, there is no need to shave your head and drink the Kool-Aid. I’m not yet convinced that a government that produced the IRS is also inventing thank you notes for cover-up surgeries at Gitmo.

  3. Sullivan does tend to get a bit menstrual about these sorts of things. Besides, this isn’t really a civil liberty thing. You could probably make a fair case that under the laws of war, half the inmates of Gitmo are liable to be shot out of hand. It’s really quite unusual in the annals of warfare for irregular troops to be given any legal consideration beyond a drumhead court martial and a firing squad.

  4. But, David, the “fair case” that could be constructed is already `finished and in regular use: it’s precisely what “the baddies” use to justify their attacks whenever, wherever, and on whomever earns their ire.

    The closest we’ve (or, actually, most cvilized nations) come in the past to such a situation are cases in which extra-legal (and covert) action is employed by secret intelligence or security forces. Regularization of such such practices is precisely what is meant by “police state.”

  5. When Tim posts something sensible which the despicable idiots who mysteriously frequent this site hate, it reminds me precisely why I actually quite like right-libertarians, and despise neocons who pretend to be libertarians because they prefer the word…

  6. No Max, the fact that you have access to a computer and an internet connection is the real mistake.

  7. Gene, the point I was making was that it is precisely the fact that we don’t just shoot irregular combatants out of hand which is the remarkable thing. Guantánamo’s very existence is an anomaly. Abuses of enemy combatants occur, but as far as we can tell, they are investigated, and punished where this is warranted. I don’t think the fact that this guy’s injuries were allegedly caused by coalition troops vitiates the fact that his subsequent surgery is, compared to even very recent history, a highly unusual thing to have been provided. It is not ‘creepy’ to point this out. It is a testament to just how much higher is the moral ground on which we stand compared to our enemies. I have yet to see an alternative to Guantánamo proposed that is both morally and militarily serious.

    And john b: if that barb about libertarians vs. neocons was aimed at me, think on. I’m most definitely a ‘right libertarian’ (I prefer to think of myself as a minarchist in the Friedmannian vein.) It’s not inconsistent for a libertarian to simultaneously oppose the horrible encroachments on liberty that are occurring in the UK in the name of the war on terror, and to support action taken in Afghanistan and Iraq to defeat Islamism.

  8. I couldn’t care less who John B decides to annoint as his favourite group of the week (go and be Pope somewhere else, Egoboy).

    What I’d really like to know is whether this alleged incident really happened. Sullivan doesn’t provide any evidence.

  9. ” and despise neocons who pretend to be libertarians because they prefer the word”

    Well who wouldn’t prefer any other word to neocon. From overuse, it has become a meaningless term of abuse much like facist. WTF actually is a neocon, other than some person that leftwingers don’t like?

  10. A neocon is an ex-marxist who has transferred his good character and fine sense of practical judgement onto another route to power. It is also used in leftish American circles – where people abjure all racist sentiment – to mean something like “power hungry Jew”. Pah!

  11. “A neocon is an ex-marxist who has transferred his good character and fine sense of practical judgement onto another route to power.”

    That’s about right, to be honest: a neocon is someone who’s kept the dogmatism and authoritarianism from their Marxist days – but who’s decided that Western Imperialism is something they need to mindlessly support at all times, rather than mindlessly oppose at all times.

    “And john b: if that barb about libertarians vs. neocons was aimed at me, think on. I’m most definitely a ‘right libertarian’”

    No – aimed at Martin and Max, primarily. And retrospectively at Cranial. “Ooh noes, if something criticises the US then it mustn’t have happened”.

    However, there’s a big difference between “we were right to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan” (justifiable statement for a pro-civil-liberties minarchist), and “once we had people we believed to be terrorists from Iraq and Afghanistan safely in our custody, we were right to hold them without trial and torture them” (not a justifiable statement for a pro-civil-liberties minarchist).

  12. So anyone who expresses doubts about an Andrew Sullivan claim for which no evidence was provided is a ex-Marxist neocon… Does John B read palms and tea-leaves as well?

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