I don’t know about you, but I’m still shuddering over the claim that those guys who committed suicide at Guantanamo were somehow having us on.
I’ve met lots of shits in my life, but I hope I never have to meet the Guantanamo camp commander face to face. Rear Admiral Harry Harris, his name is. “A case of asymmetric warfare” he called it.
I remember when George Orwell’s Newspeak first spilled over from 1984 into real American life and we were “pacifying” villages in Vietnam and using “collateral damage” as a slimebag way of not having to say death of innocent civilians. Now we have this hero in uniform telling us that we’re up against sneaky bastards who are committing “acts of war” by twisting a shirt into a make-shift rope, wrapping it around their necks and hanging by the neck till their eyes bug out, they mess their pants, and they are dead.
How dastardly can you get, attacking the United States of America that way. Man, we’re up against some real sons o’ bitches, these people who, instead of following the Geneva Convention on gentlemanly behavior in wartime, pull a foul stunt like this and hang themselves.
Tony Blair at least had the decency to pronounce the act “sad” and even our Fearless Leader registered “concern.” Not Admiral Harry. To him, this is dirty pool.
The guys left suicide notes, so we know it wasn’t a spontaneous act of depression. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t the result of lots of accumulated depression, however. How would you like it, Admiral Harry, if somebody stuck you in the brig for months on end, without trial or benefit of due process? Apparently these guys were not among those who had no contact with the outside world, and one, apparently, was about to be released. He wasn’t told that, however. In any case, how are we to know what their decision to die was based on when the only person we get to hear speak on the subject is their jailer?
VP Cheney (via Condi Rice) tells us we now live in a world where you can’t afford not to assume the mushroom cloud is just around the corner. We have to give up all the rules of civilization and the world will just have to trust that America will do the right thing without the rule of law.
OK, guys, I’ve read all the discourse rules of effective communication on this new turn of events. How we’re not supposed to make any comparisons with totalitarian governments. After all, Bush is on the ropes and if only the Democrats could get their shit together we could actually vote him and all his arrogant neocon puppeteers out of office, so comparisons with fascism are way over the line. I know I’m not supposed to breathe the word fascist for fear of losing all credibility.
This is not Nazi Germany, OK? I know that. This is not Stalinist Russia, it’s not Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, it’s not Idi Amin’s Uganda. For all its tragic failures as a democracy, this is still a land where things might somehow, by some miracle, get better yet.
But one thing is for damn sure. They can’t get better as long as we think even for a second there is something OK about calling the suicide of a prisoner held without due process an “act of war” against us.
Compared to such language, even motherfucker sounds decent.
Berkeley, June 22, 2006