( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Crossposted at Dailykos.
What can one say, when confronted with acts that defy our understanding of what it is to be American? Or, for that matter, simply a human being?
Can you bear to hear yet one more story, one more offense against the rule of law, against respect for human rights, against all that we hold true and precious?
Watch this film. This is an Iraqi doctor, accompanied by several US soldiers, touring a prison in Iraq, questioning detainees. Follow the progress through the outdoor holding pens set up in the desert, filled with Iraqis who have been swept up and held, some for over a year, without trial or charges being brought. Then, watch as the doctor and his assistants walk further into the camp and encounter an enclosure filled with children.
All under 18. Some as young 12, one claiming to be 9 years old.
Then, think about this:
What are you prepared to close your eyes to? What are you prepared to ignore? What, as a human being, defines the limit of what is acceptable to you? What is the line that must not be crossed?
I ask you to simply watch, to bear witness, and to know what is being done in our names.
Excerpt from ACLU statement May, 2008:
“It is shocking to know that the U.S. is holding hundreds of juveniles in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even more disturbing that there is no comprehensive policy in place that will protect their rights as children,” said Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program. “Juveniles and former child soldiers should be treated first and foremost as candidates for rehabilitation and reintegration into society, not subjected to further victimization.”
According to the ACLU, the lack of protections and consideration for the juvenile status of detainees violates the obligations of the U.S. under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict that the U.S. ratified in 2002, as well as universally accepted international norms….
According to the government report, approximately 2,500 youths under the age of 18 have been held, in some cases for months and years without being charged with a crime, in U.S.-run facilities overseas. As of April 2008, there are approximately 500 youths being held in US-run detention facilities in Iraq alone. The government report claims that it is holding Iraqi children in prison in order to educate them to “contribute positively to the future of Iraq.”
The report also reveals that approximately 10 youths are being held in U.S. custody at the notorious Bagram military base in Afghanistan, and that as many as eight youths between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time of their capture have been held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. According to the ACLU report released yesterday, that number is closer to 23, and some sources estimate the number of youth held at Guantánamo at as high as 60.