For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Military Prisoner Treatment
Tuesday, March 28, 2006--Dr. David Sanders, Democratic candidate for U.S. representative for the 4th Congressional District of the State of Indiana, discussed military prisoner treatment at 10:00 AM, Tuesday, March 28, 2006 at the Tippecanoe County Democratic Headquarters, 320 Main Street in Lafayette. He was the 2004 Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative for the 4th Congressional District of the State of Indiana having won a contested primary.
He began by asking for a moment of silence to remember the Americans who have died or been wounded serving their country in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and the “extraordinary rendition” of suspects are issues possessing international ramifications. Reports of force-feeding and torture of prisoners, at first denied and later confirmed, have made the task of American forces trying to instill respect for Western values and the rule of law far more difficult. These allegations are not being made only by “terrorists,” but by individuals who everyone has acknowledged were innocent of any terrorist or military activity. Recent information has demonstrated that a substantial number of the people who were imprisoned for years at Guantanamo Bay were there because of mistaken identity or matters unrelated to the “war on terror.”
“In Iraq, American forces have found extensive evidence of Iraqi government-associated forces who are engaging in torture, kidnapping and murder. They are correctly intervening and trying to train the Iraqis in international standards for prisoner treatment and attempting to uproot the legacy of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Their job is complicated by the policies of the Bush administration and the abuse of prisoners by some members of the American military forces.
“The decision to deny the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay rights under the Geneva Convention was the first step that signaled that the United States under the Bush administration would not meet its commitments to international treaties. These treaties protect OUR forces as well as those of our enemies.
“Why would a Congressional candidate speak out on this matter? It is patriotic to insist that America should adhere to the highest principles in treatment of prisoners. It is patriotic to insist that America should adhere to the highest principles of justice. It is patriotic to insist that America be seen throughout the world as embodying strength through integrity.
“The incumbent Republican Congressman does not share my vision for America. He provided cover for the administration’s treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. He stated that they were “the worst of the worst” and “the leaders [of al-Qaida]” and did not merit POW status. We know that this is not true. The terrorist leaders were not sent to Guantanamo Bay. The incumbent Congressman also said that any complaint about the treatment of detainees “was a farce” and “a fictitious argument.” “I have no objections to what they're doing at Guantanamo," the incumbent said.
“The road to Abu Ghraib passed through Guantanamo Bay. The incumbent Congressman helped to pave part of that road. After the details of what occurred in Abu Ghraib prison were known, the Congressman stated, “The United States has not violated the Geneva Conventions.” He must be the last person on the planet to believe this. Even the administration admits that the Geneva Conventions had been violated. If there weren’t photographic evidence of the prisoner abuses, the incumbent Republican Congressman would still be denying that they took place.
“The incumbent has consistently demonstrated a lack of good judgment. In every war abuses such as have been seen in Iraq have occurred. It is therefore essential that the decision to invade another country and occupy it for years be made carefully and only when absolutely necessary. The incumbent has been a consistent, enthusiastic and
unthinking supporter of the invasion of Iraq and its indefinite occupation. “He also demonstrated poor judgment when he claimed to have been called to active military duty in Iraq. I cannot say whether he consciously lied about the matter, but I can say that it was foolhardy for him to make an announcement to Congress about it without having been officially activated. “His attitude towards foreign civilians is illustrated by his proposal to use nuclear weapons in Afghanistan. His attitude towards our treaty obligations is illustrated by his public ridicule of the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross to protect prisoner’s rights.” “He has bragged in an interview in the Veterans History Project that in his role as a lawyer he deceived members of the International Committee of the Red Cross about the rules governing prisoner treatment at a POW camp. “He has bragged on two occasions in Congress about kicking an Iraqi officer who was crying on the ground in a prisoner camp. I am not alleging that this action is in any way similar to the abuses that have been documented recently. It just indicates his attitude towards prisoner treatment. America and the 4th Congressional District of Indiana deserve better.”
A graduate of Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Sanders conducted research at UCSF and the Whitehead Institute (affiliated
with M.I.T.) before joining the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University where he is now an Associate Professor. David Sanders’ three boys,
Honi, Akiva, and Yinnon Sanders attend the West Lafayette public schools.
Dr. Sanders’ connection with Purdue University is mentioned for identification purposes only and does not imply University endorsement.