Monday, January 31, 2005

31 January 2005: Disagreements

Law isn't aboslute, it seems, but is all about interpretation.

Today a federal judge in the US decided that Guantanamo Bay prisoners (referred to in my previous entry) actually should have some rights and that it's not fair to hold people indefinitely without trial, even if it's offshore. This conflicts directly with a decision made two weeks ago in a case involving different prisoners from Guantanamo, where the judge said that if they weren't held on the US mainland, they had no right to protection under the constitution. Which to me seems a little harsh, since they're being held by US forces under US authority in US controlled territory. Still, it's all about interpretation, isn't it?

On the upside, there was a good turnout at the Iraq elections, especially outside of Baghdad. Within the capital, 35 people were killed as voting continued, which in any other country or situation would be regarded as perhaps preventing the election from being "free and fair". But this is inside the bubble, so who's to say what's right and wrong? I'm pleased the election has been greeted so warmly by the average Iraqi; my worry is that it wasn't postponed, at least for a couple of weeks, so that people could go and vote without fear of being killed for it. The situation in Baghdad is still hairy, some might say war-like, but the elections went ahead nevertheless.

And for some reason, my mind kept flicking back to Apocalypse Now, the scene where Robert Duvall tells his soldiers to go surfing, despite the ongoing bombing of the beach they are trying to secure in Vietnam.
"If I say it's safe to surf this beach, Captain, it's safe to surf this beach!"

Was it really just pride on behalf of Bush and Blair that prevented this election being held a couple of weeks later, and instead saw those 35 people killed?

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