The Talking Lion

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Now that's what I call excellence in broadcasting

Amnesty International called it the gulag of our time. Rush Limbaugh, however, has a slightly different analogy in mind when it comes to Gunatanamo Bay. He believes a more accurate comparison would be a luxury resort.

And from this proposterous conclusion comes one of the most offensive things I've seen in awhile: Club Gitmo merchandise and the Club Gitmo brochure along with a special kid's section.

I think we've all heard the whole "prisoners are treated to well" spiel from the right when it comes to Americans in jail. As little merit as these arguments have, there is a hint of merit in them. After all, these are criminals who have been convicted by a jury of their peers. At least most of the time, these people are guilty, and probably shouldn't be treated to a life of luxury. To call prison a luxury is ridiculous of course and doesn't even take into consideration what prison life is like and the fact that these people have no freedom at all.

But let's give this argument the benefit of the doubt for a second. Maybe the American prison population shouldn't have access to cable TV. That's fine, I don't have a huge problem with that.

What Rush and many other fail to acknowledge when it comes to the deatinees at Guantanamo is the fact that these men and women have not been found guilty of any crime whatsoever. They were simply picked up by the United States government, swept away, and labeled as enemy comabatents without any access to lawyers or any sort of trial to argue their case. The least we can do is provide these people with prayer mats and a proper Islamic diet because they have not commited any sort of crime. The government just considers them to be dangerous and locks them away for an indefinite amount of time.

That is the whole problem with Gitmo to begin with. Almost half of the detainees should not have been there to begin with (see my post from earlier today). If we're going to continue this practice of holding "suspected terrorists" in Guantanomo indefinitely the absolute least we should do is provide them with the materials they need to practice their religion.

In yesterday's New York Times, VP Dick Cheney strongly defended Guantanomo and cited a couple of examples of detainees who, once released from the prison, returned to Afghanistan to become involved with the Taliban.

Did it ever occur to Cheney that the United States itself possibly ignited this extremism inside these former detainees? Maybe the fact that we had been holding them without good reason led them to be pretty pissed at the American government as well as it's people and inspired them to join up with terrorist forces?

Instead of making America safer, these methods are creating more terrorists. This is what we should be concerned about, not the number of prayer mats the United States is giving out to detainees.


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