Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Help Me 

Ohhhh, my country, my country, my country. Why have you foresaken our most cherished beliefs? This column in the New York Press, by Matt Taibbi, concerning Afghan prisoners in Guatanamo Bay Detention Camp, has me so ashamed of my own country:

"Here’s one of the most amazing passages:

There is some dispute as to the cause of some 25 suicide attempts at the camp and the fact that more than 5 percent of the detainees are being treated with antidepressants.

Capt. Albert Shimkus, the chief medical officer, said in an interview that for the most part, those prisoners arrived already suffering from mental illness. Some outside experts disagree and say depression is a logical consequence of being imprisoned with no certainty about the future.

For this passage alone, Lewis should be fed his own testicles. How can a responsible journalist allow anyone to assert that there can be "disagreement" over the cause of 25 suicide attempts among prisoners who are being held in a permanent stateless limbo, without any rights or any chance at due process, on a rock in the middle of the ocean from which there could never be any escape? And Lewis allows some Army doctor–not exactly an honest medical authority–to claim that the problems were that these people had mental illnesses back when they were free, and not stuck in a square metal cell to shit in a hole in the floor for all eternity?

People forget that reporters have choices when it comes to stuff like this. When an interview subject feeds you an obvious line of crap, you can either leave it out or point out that it’s a line of crap. In fact, it’s your duty to do so, to point out that a spokesman for the government has tried to put a line of crap over on the people’s press. But not according to the New York Times. They see it as their duty to put one over on you."