Old Rules

« September 2006 »

Memo to morons: MAHER ARAR.

The only good news is, they've made it very simple, at least in theory. Whenever some dipshit tries to convince you that the Geneva Convention is too vague, the answer is Maher Arar.

Whenever some dumbfuck tries to tell you "the program" is keeping you safe, the answer is Maher Arar.

Whenever some coprocephalic tells you that you want to coddle terrorists, the answer is Maher Arar.

Whenever you begin to think that maybe keeping 14,000 foreign detainees off the books in secret prisons scattered around the world, hidden from anyone who might notice what we're doing to them is a good idea, the answer is Maher Arar.

Maher Arar is a Canadian engineer. A Muslim. And he was arrested in the United States after the Canadian government put him on a terrorist watch list. We sent him to Syria, where he was tortured and held for a full year. Under torture, he admitted to participating in Al Qaeda terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

This week, nearly four years after his arrest, he was completely and utterly exonerated by the Canadian court system, who found that he had no ties to Al Qaeda, was not an Islamic extremist, Islamofascist, Islamist, or whatever semantic flavor of the month the fearmongers are shoving down our throats these days. He confessed to make the pain stop. He did nothing wrong. He was put on a list by incompetents, sent for rendition by bastards, and suffered greatly so that stupid, complacent Americans can sleep easier.

It cannot be any simpler than this. We cannot trust the government, ANY government, to detain secretly, interrogate secretly, imprison secretly, individuals without due process or trial. Period. If that means that the Khalid Sheikh Mohammeds get rights and protections so that the Maher Arars do too, so be it. I'm fine with that. Any real American should be fine with that.

As Americans, it is our DUTY to demand that innocent men are not shipped off to foreign countries and tortured for a year to lower the insignificant, tiny chance that we might get killed by a terrorist by another insignificant, tiny fraction. And anyone who can't perform that duty is a coward, a quisling, and a traitor.

If we follow the rules, you are a little less safe, and innocent brown people who happen to be in an airport in Washington D.C. are a lot safer. If we bend the rules and let Bush, or his successor (whoever that may be) do what they want without any oversight or check, then you will be a little safer at the expense of the ruined lives of thousands of innocents. That's how it works.

This isn't some hypothetical occurrence, some strawman, like the "nuclear bomb exploding in 24 hours" bullshit they offer up. This has happened. This is happening. This will continue to happen. It's a direct observable result of the policies they are THIS close to enshrining into law.

That's the price you have to pay. And since no sane person, even in today's debased environment, can honestly admit that yes, they will let thousands of innocents suffer for a potential increase in their own personal well-being, the tactic has, instead, been to pretend that the price doesn't exist.

But it does. Maher Arar is that price. If you support the unlimited power to detain, to rendition, to torture, then you're condemning him to hell on earth, to suffer for sure so that you might not suffer in the future. And that makes you a fucking despicable bag of flesh. Get off my planet.