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GITMO: Compare and Contrast

A Marine Sergeant has come forward with a report of widespread detainee abuse at the GITMO prison, based in Guantanamo, Cuba. Not too long ago, my Congressman, Michael Burgess of Texas' 26th district, went on record as to how the GITMO prisoners were being treated. Let's see how his words compare to Sergeant Heather Cerveny's account ...

Congressman Burgess says:
"Even though we are dealing with some of the most vicious and dedicated terrorists, they are treated humanely, even down to the detail of having the direction of Mecca stenciled on an arrow on their bodies. This way, they know which direction to point in order to pray."
[Muckraker - Is it just me, or does that make no sense whatsoever?]

Sergeant Cerveny says:
One said, "I took the detainee by the head and smashed his head into the cell door," she tells ABC News. Another "was telling his buddy, 'Yeah, this one detainee, you know, really pissed me off, irritated me. So I just, you know, punched him in the face.'"
Congressman Burgess says:
"One of the things they're taught is, if they have an opportunity to speak with the Press, always claim torture. What do they have to lose? What are we going to do, take away their fingernail files? We already did."
Sergeant Cerveny says:
Sgt. Cerveny says the guards also talked about taking away detainees' privileges "even when they're being good" and denying their requests for water. In her affidavit, she states she was told "they do this to anger the detainees so they can punish them when they object or complain."
Congressman Burgess says:
"Well, you could argue that we're killing them with kindness because diabetes has become an issue in some cases. But, of course, they're not told they have to eat 4,200 calories a day. The food is specially prepared in accordance with religious tenets."
Sergeant Cerveny says:

She says she was "shocked" to hear several guards from different parts of the camp speak openly of mistreating prisoners.

"Everyone in the group laughed at all their stories of beating detainees," she recalled. "None of them looked like they cared. None of them looked shocked by it."

Congressman Burgess says:
"If I'm asked to vote on this legislation, I'll be able to make an informed vote by virtue of the fact that I've been there and observed conditions, rather than just relying on what I've read in the New York Times, Washington Post or you name the publication. There's just no substitute for firsthand observation and that's one of the things I've learned in three short years; if you really want to know, you've got to go."
ABC News retorts:
Soldiers told HRW [Human Rights Watch] that in direct violation of international law, detainees at one camp "were regularly stripped naked and subjected to beatings, forced exercises, severe sleep deprivation and various forms of degrading and humiliating treatment."

The report also states that soldiers who felt that these practices were wrong and illegal "faced significant obstacles at every turn when they attempted to report or expose the abuses."

One soldier, who was stationed at Forward Operating Base Tiger near al Qaim, told HRW that some of the soldiers were troubled by the what they saw there, but that it was difficult to complain.

"I asked a few questions and stuff like that," he said, "and it was pretty much kind of 'shut up' or 'drop it now.'"

Congressman Burgess says:
"Frankly, I have a feeling that a lot of my constituents would have difficulty with just how humanely we're treating some of the detainees."
President Bush says:
"Our troops can take great pride in the work they do at Guantanamo Bay, and so can the American people."
Reality says:
Never lose your Love of Truth, America.

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