Monday, June 12, 2006

"A good PR move"

Hands up who else thinks that this weekend's suicides at Guantanamo Bay were simply a publicity stunt for jihad. Go on. Hands up those of you who really believe that four years of imprisonment in a dusty, arrid cage with no specific charges, no promise of a trial and no contact with family genuinely had nothing to do with it.

"A good PR move to draw attention [and] a tactic to further the jihadi cause."
-Colleen Graffy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy

"I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of warfare waged against us."
-Rear Admiral Harry Harris, Camp Commander at Guantanamo Bay

Regardless of my support for and recognition of the need to end terrorism, and my genuine admiration of the overwhelming majority of American values, I have always believed that Guantanamo is a scourge on the current US administration, and this shockingly insulting and insensitive statement from the man essentially left in charge of the camp does not do anything to alter my opinion. Of course the easy option is to say that radical Islamists use suicide attacks as a means of tactical warfare, of course it is easy to say they are only aiming for martyrdom.

The fact remains that many detainees have been released after nothing has been found with which to justify their continued imprisonment. This is not to suggest that all of them are innocent. But how can it be said they these suicides were only aiming for publicity before we can say with any certainty that the ones who lie dead are indeed terrorists? It goes without saying that all of them have been denied their basic judicial and human rights, and that, faced with a continuation of this "life" for the foreseeable future, we should not be at all surprised when more suicides occur. What do they have to live for if they are not even granted the prospect of a hearing? Guantanamo Bay is a disgrace, and sadly it does nothing to help the West's struggle to maintain freedom and democracy.

George Bush says that he would like to see the camp closed down, and its inmates tried in U.S. courts. The sooner the better.


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