Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 8 August 2007

Subtle US irony, or an amazing lack of self-knowledge ...

The US is considering the request from the UK to release five people from its detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who although not British citizens have prior to their detention been resident in the UK. I wrote about the British request yesterday.

However it seems, according to the BBC report I link to above, that:

A senior US official said Washington would seek guarantees that the men would be treated humanely and would not be allowed to pose a security threat.

This must be some kind of subtle irony from the US administration that I have hitherto been unaware of! Frankly I think it is a lot less likely that the UK will mistreat these five men than the US, which has held them in legal limbo under grtoesque conditions for some considerable time!

The next bit of the story is equally amazing:

When asked whether the US considered the men dangerous, the official replied: "We believe they are."

OK. So why hasn't the US been able to concoct some credible justification for charging these men with something before a recognised and credible court in the US mainland? I have absolutely no doubt that if these people are released into British custody they will be treated humanely as a matter of course and if the British government has credible reasons to hold them in detention it will do so, but if it does not have such reasons it won't; this country, unlike the US, operates according to the rule of law (even if I don't like some of the laws the Labour government has passed, it is clear that our own judicial system has called our Government to book on occasion in the past few years to force it to act in accordance with the law and don't doubt that such a sanction will be repeated if necessary). What this is all about is an attempt at face-saving by the US - it has dug itself into a very deep hole with its policy of illegal detentions at Guantanmao and as President Bush approaches his final year in power his administration is scrabbling to try and sort out its dirty little 'indiscretions' - it is probably desirable for the UK to [continue to] play along with this charade, at least until the five are released from detention, but at least as pertinently until our troops are able to withdraw from Iraq (and Afghanistan). With the benefit of hindsight, and whilst I don't regret in any way our initial involvement in these two 'theatres', it is clear that our acquiescence in the flawed policy agenda of the current US administration over the past few years (since 2001) has not been wise - nor has it resulted in a diminution of the threat from terrorism which we face, rather the reverse.

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