One more thing

before I go back to changing diapers: from the ever-excellent Secrecy News comes a link to this report from retired US Army General Barry McCaffrey on his visit to the Guantanamo Bay prisons.

The report is well worth reading. As summarized in the newsletter:

"The JTF Guantanamo Detention Center is the most professional, firm, humane and carefully supervised confinement operation that I have ever personally observed," he stated.At the same time, "Much of the international community views the Guantanamo Detention Center as a place of shame and routine violation of human rights. This view is not correct. However, there will be no possibility of correcting that view.""There is now no possible political support for Guantanamo going forward," Gen. McCaffrey wrote.

McCafferey acknowledges in the report that "During the first 18 months of the war on terror there were widespread, systematic abuses of detainees under US control in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Some were murdered and hundreds were tortured or abused. This caused enormous damage to U.S. military operations and created significant and enduring damage to US international standing."

Yet nowhere in this report does he seem to realize that the U.S. also was condemned for its lawlessness:

The great value of the platform of Guantanamo was that it was a military space in which no Federal District Court had primary jurisdiction. For that reason alone, Gitmo has over the past 45 years been the location of choice for US migrant refugee operations (no appeal to the INS process) as well as other secret operations. No applicable foreign law, no foreign diplomatic intervention, no Federal Court civil orders, no nosy intervention by a US Ambassador -- only the exercise of unilateral military power and the tool of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It was the perfect deal. No more.

The mourning of the loss of a place over which no court had jurisdiction, into which no "nosy " US ambassador could look, is entirely unbecoming of any democracy -- let alone one that views itself as the Great Vending Machine of Liberty. Yet this point flies right past the nose of a man who gives an otherwise straightforward and unblinking account of Gitmo's failures.