Friday, June 17, 2005

gitmo = get more?

In the wake of Amnesty International's "disassembling" report about the American gulag at Guantanamo Bay, watch all the president's men come out in its defense. Beyond the articulate response of "No, it is so not a gulag", supporters of the Administration's enemy combatant program have been telling us how it really is not so bad at the prison fondly known as "gitmo".

California lawmaker Duncan Hunter went further than words. To a press conference he brought with him a steaming plate of food, to represent just how easy prisoners have it. Included in this feast was rice pilaf, lemon-baked fish, honey-glazed chicken and "two types of fruit".

"This is representative of what these killers are given every day, courtesy of the American taxpayer," exclaimed Mr Hunter. "The inmates have never eaten better, they've never been treated better and they've never been more comfortable in their lives."

This is supposed to rally support for gitmo? Sounds more like "get more" to me, as in "get more than jobless American citizens," or "get more than millions of working taxpayers who are raising families."

Students of American history will recognise this tactic. It was used in the 19th century to foment tensions between minority immigrants. The government would give jobs to blacks that Irish thought belonged to them, then call a meeting to rouse the latter to go on a rampage against the former; it is a classic technique for population control.

In the present case, we are being made to resent those enemy combatants as being made comfortable, more comfortable in fact than a lot of taxpaying Americans. In fact, it clouds what those people are doing in that gulag in the first place.

Why are not our taxes going toward the well-being of our citizens? And while we're at it, when will we "get more" peace?