Strange Musings *hyuk*
Monday, June 20, 2005
  12:28 PM — Comparisons
A number of people have been comparing Guantanamo Bay or Gitmo with Nazi death camps or Soviet gulags. Many people have vehemently retorted that doing so is belittling the worse atrocities. My thought is it's merely a matter of degree. Two main arguments against the comparison are the numbers involved, and the innocence of the victims. Millions of people were killed in WWII; hundreds are in the US overseas prisons. WWII victims were innocent; US victims are innocent until proven guilty. Is it worse to torture and kill millions of known innocents, or a few individuals whom are not proven guilty? The whole reason these camps have to exist overseas is because if they were within our boundaries the prisoners would have the protection of the law.

I think those making the comparisons are using hyperbolized exagerations to get their points across. The net effect, however, is to lose credibility and to insult those with ties to the earlier atrocities. If accusations and comparisons are grounded in fair facts, then the arguments will be exponentially stronger and persuasive.

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I agree, Jason. The comparison between Guantanamo Bay and, at least, Nazi death camps is invalid not because there is a difference in matter of degree. Rather, the comparison is invalid because there is absolutely no relation in degree at all. The Nazis were seeking to exterminate entire populations. As far as I can tell, the US Government has yet to approach that aim in the slightest, even if their actions are, to say the least, questionable. That is why the comparison is belittling the atrocities of WWII.

Regardless of the US Government's motivations, the results of their actions are to inflict injustices upon members of a narrow segment of humanity. However, even though the actions of the US Government may appear to be (or may in fact be) directed at a specific cultural or racial group, there is no way in which one could construe those actions as genocide. Comparisons between certain current leaders who exhibit disregard for human dignity with those of the past who sought to erase a segment of humanity from existence are made all too readily these days (because of haste? convenience? ignorance?) and are offensive to all involved.
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