Friday, May 22, 2009

Pay Torture Reparations Monthly?

In a major speech yesterday on detainee policy, President Obama spoke of those who can never be released. He hopes to confabulate some special union of Congress and the Courts and the Executive that can jointly manage secret government, in particular the perpetual extra-constitutional confinement of certain detainees.

Could he include the Fourth Estate - the press - in his formula? They will certainly be a part of whatever happens. Every detainee who is to be held "indefinitely" will inevitably develop his own "Free Mumia Now!" supporter group. Every detainee's story will be a detailed wiki history. Are they are being held forever just because they have physical scars from torture? That should be known. Do they have a family with a story?

There may be a better way to protect America.

Sooner or later, we will need to pay reparations to our released detainees for the torture they have suffered. Why not now? Why not monthly? Keep them interested in our nation's health. Start with the ones we have already released. Could someone ask the ACLU to sue for this?

The whole world is watching. World Court is watching. We are in discovery phase. Cheney is self-identifying as the madman who ruined things. The pox that was upon us will soon be only scars. Transgressors will be detained. We will then owe their - our - victims big-time. Will world courts make us pay our victims big bucks? How much will we want to fight this?

Suppose that we conclude the process by punishing ourselves first? Suppose we grant reparations to the innocent tortured as we release them? Suppose we send them a monthly check for 20 years? Would they be so likely to turn against us?

For each of them this would instantiate the kind of support we would want victims of the past regime to have. While they may show their scars and talk about what the old America did to them, they will also speak for what the new America can do.

Would we still need to detain people forever?

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