Steinberg's introduction to this topic was the case of Bo Kyi, a dissident from the country of Myanmar, who spoke in Chicago recently about the plight of his friends back home who received 65-year prison sentences for "attending protests [and] distributing leaflets." Sound familiar?
Interestingly, several other speakers at this event mentioned the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, and their hope that the United States would soon shut down this facility, which many citizens believe has become a "blot on America's reputation."
But Steinberg lamented that too many Americans do not view this detention facility as a problem:
They don’t understand the company we’re keeping, don’t realize just how frequently torture is used around the world. Nor do they grasp that their excuse — national security — is the exact same rationale offered up by every barbarous regime for the confinement and abuse of heroic champions of justice such as Bo Kyi.Sound familiar?
In the post-September 11 world, why should we even care about what others think of us? Read the entire (very short) article. Do you agree with Steinberg's argument(s)? What has our own history taught us? Think about your own studies grappling with the events of 7 eras of American warfare. And consider these parting words from the author:
The truth is, in times of peril, our nation’s overreactions — from Lincoln suspending habeas corpus to the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II to Guantanamo Bay — never make us safer, never improve the situations they were meant to confront.