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Mental decency


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Glenn Greenwald as usual does an excellent job summarizing the Orwellian proceedings surrounding the detention and trial of Ahmed Ghailani.

One point that bears particular emphasis is that the government, or more precisely the Obama administration through its Department of Justice, made clear at the trial that Ghailani would not be released no matter what verdict the jury might reach. Despite this (and despite the fact Ghailani was convicted of a charge that by itself will result in a sentence of 20 years to life, to be served in a Supermax facility, i.e., under conditions of solitary confinement that are themselves somewhat difficult to distinguish from the torture to which Ghailani was subjected, and which made much of the evidence against him unadmissable), people like Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney denounced the proceedings as far too civilized for their taste:

Bad ideas have dangerous consequences. The Obama Administration recklessly insisted on a civilian trial for Ahmed Ghailani, and rolled the dice in a time of war. The Department of Justice says it’s pleased by the verdict. Ask the families of the victims if they’re pleased. And this result isn’t just embarrassing. It’s dangerous. It signals weakness in a time of war. The Ghailani trial was supposed to be a test case for future trials of 9/11 terrorists.

We urge the president: End this reckless experiment. Reverse course. Use the military commissions at Guantanamo that Congress has authorized. And, above all–accept the fact that we are at war


(The enemy in this war is unspecified, but I imagine it’s either Eastasia or Eurasia).

Speaking of Orwell, conservatives have special affection for this quote:

“First of all, a message to English left-wing journalists and intellectuals generally: Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Don’t imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the Soviet régime, or any other régime, and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.”

Apparently they missed the italicized phrase.

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