Monday, April 10, 2006

Guantánamo.

I worth this over on Richard's Critics Corner

The reason for going to war in Iraq and the reason I support it is simple. Democracy. One of the worst crimes against a person is to deny them their say on polling day. Be you the Taoiseach or some one on the dole in Leitrim on polling day you are equal. The Iraq people have the right to this too. Anyone who says that they are not ready for this system need only look at history to see that people like the American's when they got their democracy embraced it and flourished. It can happen in Iraq too now thanks to the coalition.

But Democracy is about more then just polls. It is about certain values. Truth, Justice and human dignity. Tony Blair called the War on Terror not a war of civilisations but a war for civilisations. We are on the side of civilisation; we are the ones that has right on our side. But what is civilisation? One of the earliest definitions was "law which makes a criminal process civil". What is civil about not giving a person one of the most basic rights their day in court? Dostoyevsky said that you can tell what a nation is like by the way it treats its prisoners. So what does Guantánamo say about us. Whether or not detainees in Grantanamo are tortured or treated better then Belgian prisoners doesn't matter. By denying them their day in court we have already crossed the line that divides civilisation from terror.

When we capture a criminal we read them their rights. Why? Because they have rights. We are not the Taliban we have due process. Bush said "Our enemies murder because they despise our freedom and our way of life. We believe in human rights, and the human dignity of every man, woman and child on this Earth".

America intern people in Guantanemo without trial. Recently the US Supreme Court refused to question the government's power to hold US citizens indefinitely as enemy combatants. Interment in the North was brought in to stop the IRA did it? No. Sure it captured some of the heads of the IRA but it also radicalised hundreds that would never have been radicalised otherwise. By abandoning civilisation the British did not beat the IRA they made it stronger.

Many argue that these enemy combatants might go back on the field of battle if released. But isn't releasing these people not the very essence of what we are fighting for. For our beliefs. We let criminals out on a reasonable doubt. True they might offend again and true we might save a life by not letting them go but we do it all the same. Why because we believe in Justice. And if we let your selves give in, to abandon our beliefs, to deny the human dignity of even one person then we have lost the war for civilisation as we have become our enemies.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Excellent argument.