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Facsimilemic Representation: or, why Abu Gharib is in Cuba

When searching for a justification for the Iraqi war, the Bush administration posited 2 reasons as to why the war was “necessary.” At first it was that the Iraqi government, headed by the “madman” Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction and that he intended to use them if he got the chance. However, soon after our western takeover the administration found itself at a dilemma, due to the fact that none of the weapons of mass destruction could be found. So, to avoid international hypocrisy, the administration comes forth with the claim that the Iraqi government aids the terrorist organization of Al Qaida. This, of course, is used to justify any number of horrendous events in the name of security – torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Gharib, shooting unarmed men on their knees, and the list goes on.

It seems we find ourselves in a cycle of repetition – of facsimilic representation. Guantanamo Bay merely serves as a surrogate location for the locus of abuse for “unlawful combatants”.

The question to be asked, then, is who is best suited to deal with the aforementioned human rights violations. Certainly we need an international front, a co-operative peacekeeping operation of sorts. It is for this reason I must agree with the position initially posited by Jacque Derrida in Philosophy in a Time of Terror: that international organizations such as the United Nations are paramount in the fight against atrocities in the global picture.

This is made particularly politically relevant by such situations as those in the American Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, and it is for this reason the UN is necessary rather than puppet organizations such as NATO, NGOs, etc., who are far too complacent with the American hegemonic project to serve as anything but a mask for western exceptionalism. By denying the American project in Iraq, the UN puts itself in a position best suited to universalize the concept of human rights.

It is for these reasons the base should be shut down entirely and demilitarized. It has been illegally occupied since 1959, and has had a number of prisoners held outside the status of humanity and subjected to torture since 9/11. The only action taken to curb the abuse are a collection of choice puppet trials perpetrated by the Bush administration. Now is a key time to intervene – and it is my position Guantanamo Bay is the best place to begin realigning the American concept of human rights.