US President George Bush has dismissed as “absurd” an Amnesty International report that said the US was setting back the cause of human rights. The human rights group described the US Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba as “the gulag of our time”. There have been allegations that guards at the camp had desecrated the Koran, prompting protests in Muslim countries. But Mr Bush said on Tuesday: “The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world.”
Earlier, US general Richard Myers has described Amnesty’s report as “absolutely irresponsible”. How do you handle people who … who aren’t part of a nation-state effort, that are picked up on the battlefield … that if you release them, or if you let them go back to their home countries, that would turn right around and try to slit our throats, our children’s throats?” he said.
Cf. the evidence of former US Sgt Erik Saar who stated that, of the 600 prisoners held at Guantánamo, no more than a few dozen were “hardcore terrorists”. He added: “The US Government portrays Guantánamo as a place where we are sending the worst of the worst, but this is not true. Guantánamo … set a precedent in labelling people as enemy combatants, blurring the line between right and wrong. You can see it as the seed that may well have led to the naked human pyramids in Abu Ghraib.”
Still, Michelle Malkin has read Saar’s account of abuse at Guantánamo, and declares herself impressed by “just how restrained, and sensitive to Islam – to a fault, I believe – the officials at the detention facility have been”.
For Amnesty’s reply to Bush, see here.