|Blinded by the rocket's red glare|
With over 500 prisoners still held at the now infamous US military base at
Guantanamo Bay for 2 years without trial or access to the US legal system, US
justice is starting to look a little shaky.
If the prisoners were being held in another country, that country's
government could dictate their treatment, if they were in the US they would
have access to US justice, but they are in no-man's land. They have been
deliberately placed in a military base inside Cuba, which the Americans have a
long-term lease on, specifically to remove them from both foreign interference
and US justice.
The US justice system of course is not very good at meting out
justice. While American TV dramas are probably not the most reliable source of
information, any sensible person who has watched Law and Order has been
appalled at the misuses of the system. 'Fruit of the poisoned tree'
means that a murdered body found in the accused's car doesn't legally exist if
even one of the clues leading to its discovery was not legally obtained. The
idea that a detective and a defendent might both be guilty is something the US
justice system seems unable to cope with.
Any real justice system must use all the facts available, and deal with any
illegality of their collection separately. A fact does not cease to exist
because it is distasteful, unpopular or obtained through means disapproved of.
Nothing gets done to fix the broken system. Let's face it - the people being
murdered, raped, mugged and terrorised by the career criminals are mostly just
poor people who can't afford to move out of the high-crime areas. Anyone who is
anybody buys out of the problem by moving to a more expensive neighborhood, and
employing private security guards.
But when 19 Islamifascists kill 3000 bankers, stockbrokers, traders and high
profile white-collar workers by flying airplanes into their offices, something
must be done and the US justice system just isn't up to it. Changing the system
is too hard, but going around it with international legal maneuvering is easy.
So the US justice system will lurch on, while 500 prisoners in Guantanamo
marvel at the contradiction that is the USA. They don't understand how a
society which gives so much emphasis to personal freedom can take theirs away
so willingly; how a culture so obsessed with political correctness can act with
such aggression; or how a society that looks so weak can become so strong when
it is attacked.
Meanwhile, Justice is not dead. Justice is not even blind. Like a dutiful
mistress, she is just conveniently looking the other way.