Gitmo-tube

It's Memorial Day, a time when we think of the many who fought and died for freedom, for the American idea. Who better to remind us of what we still fight for and of the "cunning tyrants" who would take it away than Lincoln:

"And when ... you have succeeded in dehumanizing the negro; when you have put him down and made it impossible for him to be but as the beasts of the field; when you have extinguished his soul in this world and placed him where the ray of hope is blown out as in the darkness of the damned, are you quite sure that the demon you have roused will not turn and rend you? What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our army and our navy. These are not our reliance against tyranny. All of those may be turned against us without making us weaker for the struggle.

Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defence is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you."


(Photo: A feeding tube of the type used on detainees who go on hunger strikes, by Louie Palu. The striker is restrained while the feeding tube is passed through his nose. Hunger strikes have recurred at the camp since it opened. According to The New York Times, the peak number of simultaneous hunger strikers was more than 130, in September 2005. The largest number of those restrained and force-fed was 15, in March 2006. In June 2006, three inmates who were on hunger strikes succeeded in hanging themselves. By Louie Palu. More images of Gitmo here.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.