Java News from Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The U.S. Army has released Captain James Yee, the first of three Arabic speaking soldiers arrested at Guantánamo for helping the prisoners. He will be allowed to return to duty at Fort Benning, Georgia. However, the original charges (taking classified information home without the proper covers) have not yet been dropped, and several new ones have been added including adultery and storing porn on a government computer. I haven't heard of pornography charges like this before, though if this particular offense were prosecuted uniformly, I somehow doubt the Army could muster 100 troops in Iraq, much less 100,000. The Army does have a long history of bad faith and malicious prosecution with respect to adultery charges. Who gets charged has a lot to do with who's screwing who (quite literally). In this case I suspect the adultery and pornography charges, factual or otherwise, were cooked up to try to justify an arrest that couldn't stand on its own merits. I think the original arrest of Captain Yee was based on nothing more than religious bigotry. In all likelihood he pissed off some higher up by treating the political prisoners at Guantánamo like human beings.

This whole disgusting affair (and that of the other two Arabic speaking soldiers still imprisoned on similar charges) should give pause to any Muslims or Arabic speakers considering serving in the U.S. military. Just because you're willing to serve, does not mean the rest of the military is willing to let you serve. You will not be treated fairly. Not only will you be subject to the little racisms, to fellow soldiers snickering behind your back, making ethnic slurs, and passing you over for promotions and assignments you deserve. You will be subject to vicious, institutional racism and legal lynching. You may be charged with capital offenses for no reason other than the language you speak in your home or how you choose to pray. You may be placed in solitary confinement and locked in manacles on trumped up charges that would never have been pressed against a white Christian in the same circumstances. Your service will be rewarded with hatred, isolation, and betrayal.