What happens when you create a class of human beings who are designated as having less than human status?
You get gassed Jews in Nazi Germany.
You get massacred intellectuals in China and Cambodia and the Soviet Union.
You get Hutus massacreing Tutsis.
You get Shi'a murdering Sunnis, and Sunnis murdering Shi'a.
You get oppressed women in Taliban countries.
You get torture and atrocities in Iraq.
You get the American Gulag of prisoners in Club Gitmo.
That is how it's done. One creates a class of persons who, by virtue of your having designated them as comprising that class, one no longer has to treat as one would treat a "fellow" human.
Quoth Cheney, "The important thing here to understand is that the people that are at Guantanamo are bad people."
Aha. Bad people.
Not really people at all. Not good people. There are laws for good people, but bad people are you know, bad.
Then, everything changes, morally speaking. You get to have power and control over them. You get to torture them. You get to round them up. You get to kidnap them. You get to put them into concentration camps. You get to imprison them without trial.
You create a new reality merely by claim--claiming that this class is so awful, so bad, so inferior, that we rightly may to do anything we want to them.
From the Dred Scott Decision, Mr. Chief Justice Taney delivering the opinion of the Supreme Court:
In the opinion of the Court the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument....
They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit (sic) . . . This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized (sic) portion of the white race . . . And upon a full and careful consideration of the subject, the Court is of opinion that, upon the facts stated in the plea in abatement, Dred Scott was not a citizen of Missouri . . . and not entitled as such to sue in its courts . . . .
No rights for the inferior. They don't deserve them. End of story.
We have created in Guantanamo -- or rather Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney have created -- a new class of being, for whom laws do not apply.
They're vermin, they're insects, they're less than nothing.
One may drive them mad and not feel remorse. One may cause them physical and mental suffering and feel no remorse.
Because they are bad.
Thus, down the road, you get to kill them or disappear them or do whatever you wish.
Why have we gone so far down along this road?