Saturday, August 25, 2007

Destroying democracy whilst sprucing up Saddam

(464 words)

by Tom H Hastings

When I was an inmate in Wisconsin’s prison system I noted that not many of the inmates felt all that positive about society, the economy, or the government. This is hardly surprising. The Wisconsin prison system, like most of America’s prison systems from the Bureau of Prisons to states to counties and towns are based on retributive justice, not restorative justice. This helps account for high rates of recidivism. Why try to fit in if you’ve deepened your hatred of the system during your time sequestered?

The American military now reports that it has “detained” some 24,500 in Iraq as insurgents (no figures for those detained by Iraqi troops or police), up some 50 percent in the past few months, a manifestation of the surge. They also report, says a 25 August New York Times story, that the “detention system itself often serves as a breeding ground for the insurgency and a training opportunity for those who, after they are released, may attack Iraqi or American-led forces.”

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Tom H Hastings is director of PeaceVoice and a founder of Whitefeather Peace Community in Portland, Oregon. He is the co-chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

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