Will Bunch: Look, on one hand, the government's more dramatic claims about Padilla and dirty bombs have never panned out. That said, he stands a
December 3, 2006

padilla-dentist.jpg Will Bunch:

Look, on one hand, the government's more dramatic claims about Padilla and dirty bombs have never panned out. That said, he stands accused of plotting terroristic acts against the United States, and so if that's true, he should be tried as a criminal, and if convicted, he should serve a long time in prison.

But seriously, what is accomplished by this kind of crap? It doesn't make America any safer -- in fact, it does just the opposite, by needlessly dropping respect for the U.S. even lower in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of Muslims. More importantly, it's just flat out immoral and wrong -- regardless of what anyone else thinks.

We should be ashamed.

Talk Left describes the torment of a US citizen named Jose Padilla in her post.

Here's how he got taken to the dentist for a root canal:
Several guards in camouflage and riot gear approached cell No. 103. They unlocked a rectangular panel at the bottom of the door and Mr. Padilla’s bare feet slid through, eerily disembodied. As one guard held down a foot with his black boot, the others shackled Mr. Padilla’s legs. Next, his hands emerged through another hole to be manacled.

Wordlessly, the guards, pushing into the cell, chained Mr. Padilla’s cuffed hands to a metal belt. Briefly, his expressionless eyes met the camera before he lowered his head submissively in expectation of what came next: noise-blocking headphones over his ears and blacked-out goggles over his eyes. Then the guards, whose faces were hidden behind plastic visors, marched their masked, clanking prisoner down the hall to his root canal...read on


Mr. Padilla’s situation, as an American declared an enemy combatant and held without charges by his own government, was extraordinary and the conditions of his detention appear to have been unprecedented in the military justice system.


In his affidavit, Mr. Patel said, “I was told by members of the brig staff that Mr. Padilla’s temperament was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of ‘a piece of furniture.’ ”

This "piece of furniture" had to have blackout goggles and earphones, manacles and a force of men in riot gear in order to go to the prison dentist. I do not know if they made him wear the goggles and earphones when he had his root canal. But I'd be willing to bet they did. It would be so much more punishing not to be able to see and hear, but be able to feel. Why waste an opportunity to further dehumanize the furniture?

Oh, and be sure to read the whole article to remind yourself of just what a pathetic, absurd case the government is bringing against this guy...read on


It should go without saying (though I have no doubt that, for some, it does not) that whether Padilla is ultimately found guilty has absolutely no bearing on the disgraceful crime of detaining him with no charges for years and torturing him.

But the fact that the case against Padilla is so weak ought to cause any rational person to understand the dangers of vesting the power in the President to order people imprisoned forever without any real judicial process. Unfortunately for the U.S., the majority of the Military-Commissions-Act-approving 109th Congress was not composed of people who reason that way or who actually believe in the way America was designed to work....read on

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