Screw Semantics. It's a Concentration Camp

Prisoners at Camp X-Ray

I don't know how I missed this story. I might very well be the last blogger in the Western world to learn about this, but if what this British detainee says is true, then Americans have a moral duty to see to it that George Bush cannot continue to establish law-free zones around the world in order to torture and abuse detainees.

This Guantanamo Bay prisoner claims he was physically assaulted on a regular basis, shackled for 15 hours a day in a hunched-over position with the schackles cutting into his skin, forced to live in a wire cage with no protection from the elements, given contaminated food and water and denied access to toilet or washing facilities. According to his story, this only just scratches the surface of the abuse endured by other prisoners at Camp X-Ray.

Now that instances of torture and abuse have been, and continue to be, revealed at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, it makes me wonder how we can justify this systematic lawlessness and failure to abide by our own rules. We see photographic evidence of torture and mistreatment of prisoners, confront the administration and hear back nonsense about it being appropriate for the U.S. armed forces to "set the conditions" necessary to extract information from prisoners.

The semantic game that our administration has been playing is insulting. We ask whether people are being tortured and the administration responds with, 'Well, what do you mean by torture?' This is insulting. It's time to avoid playing the semantic game and call a spade a spade.

Camp X-Ray is a concentration camp. The Abu Ghraib prison is a concentration camp. "Just following orders" is not an excuse.