Thursday, July 14, 2005

Questions about the Schmidt Report

With all the analysis of the recent Schmidt report on detainee abuse in Guantanamo Bay at hand, a pretty elementary question comes to mind. Considering that it is now fairly certain that an institutional tendency toward what Marty Lederman has called "defining inhumane down" now pervades the entire hierarchy of the armed forces, wouldn't it make sense to ask what quality and quantity of actionable intelligence the detainers and their supervisors had expected to eke out of the more amateurish, neophyte detainees whose cases have now become cause for concern? As it seems fairly clear that determining a standardized, enforceable upward limit to what we can do to any suspected terrorist is to be considered nowhere in the agenda of the federal government or the top military brass, shouldn't we worry about such things as the symptoms of prison backflow, overcrowding, "hyper-interdiction" in general? What happens if we catch bin Laden and al-Zarqawi at once but can only fit one in? This is figurative speech, but it's a concern, I would think.

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