Guantanamo: Empires Grow Through Terror
By Sara Correa (2/23/14)
Editor’s note: These are excerpts from a student paper in response to the Close Guantanamo Now! program at Cal Poly Pomona on 1/17/14. Her comments address directly the question of why Obama refuses to close Guantanamo despite promises to the contrary and what it will take to force him to close it.
Guantanamo Bay is very important symbolically because it allows the U.S. to maintain its power... Intimidation is the best way to keep control under those who you see as your competition or enemy… These people who are incarcerated were arrested on no actual charges, just on mere suspicion of committing a terrorist act… These acts are all characteristics of a tyrannical empire. In the United States we pride ourselves on being a democracy, yet we invade other countries and kill innocent people under the name of [combating] terror from other countries while terrorizing others. Perhaps we believe that the lives of Americans are more valuable than lives from other countries.
The United States is an Empire that grows on subordinating other countries; this is how Empires grow. An Empire does not grow by befriending others with good acts; it grows by demonstrating power and subordinating other countries. Obama understands that in order for the U.S. to remain as a top Empire, threat and terror must occur. This is the foundation to imperialism.
They [Obama and members of Congress] believe that the men [held]... are for the protection of the American public and if released they must [first] show signs of never committing a terrorist act. What is interesting is that you can never prove that someone will not do something. That is impossible unless we have real fortune-tellers to predict crime. We as people do not have that capability nor the technology to predict people’s future acts. [Similarly] Obama has drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan hovering over people and shooting people that the U.S. suspects would be a possible threat to the United States.
As Americans, we are thinking very one-sidedly… The act of incarcerating others under preventative action is not logical. We cannot predict any crime done by people. All we can do is try to make things better at an international level. We must understand that the lives of Americans are not more precious than others. We cannot kill people because we believe our lives are more valuable.
There needs to be massive action to guarantee the closing of Guantanamo Bay. The United States cannot continue to incarcerate people in a torture institution because of mere suspicion of terrorist acts. Americans must unite and protest the existence of Guantanamo and demand that Obama close it forever. We must think of the families that are suffering because of missing loved ones. We must not look at these prisoners as the “worst of the worst” but rather as people like us that have been picked by our government as possible terrorists. Change in our criminal justice system must occur and it starts with the structure. If we do not find a way to stop the government from making up their own rules as they go, things will never change.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Second, in order to get at the truth and because the ways in which humanity's historic striving for understanding and its capacity to wonder and imagine are very rich and diverse, we seek to reflect that richness and diversity on our site. See "About Us" on navigation bar. We intend to be engaging and compelling, as the best investigative journalism and art are, and relentlessly scientific, rigorous, and direct, as those who cherish the truth are. We believe that we can be both accessible and sophisticated. As Loo lays out in his book,
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)