Talk of the Nation, on NPR, today aired a program about the fact that Bush now wants to close Guantanamo Bay Prison. Hundreds of the people who will be released have nowhere to go if/when they are released. Their homelands don’t want the majority of the detainees. Even if they do get to go home, they will almost certainly be ostrasized with all that that entails: Want a job? You’re a suspected terrorist. Allow my children to play with yours? You’re a suspected terrorist. Live in MY neighborhood? You’re a suspected terrorist. Government officials are looking for possible terror suspects. Oh, officer! I know someone who was in Gitmo!
As to another country taking them—our country is refusing to keep them. So our allies are rightly asking why they should be willing to take people we refuse to set free on our own soil. We, after all, were the ones who took these people prisoner and refused to let them go even those who, our officials knew, had been turned over solely for a bounty and had had nothing to do with terrorism or insurgency or war.
But, I actually want to address another, tho related, issue:
Suppose you had been picked up in a sweep. Or sold for a bounty. For whatever reason, you were rounded up, taken to a prison in a foreign country and held without counsel, without being charged, possibly in solitary confinement, for four years or more. Further suppose you were subjected to excess cold conditions in your cell. Or lights kept on 24 hours per day. So you covered your body with your prayer rug or covered your eyes with your arm. You were then deemed to be ‘uncooperative’ and your prayer rug was taken away or you were placed in restraints so you couldn’t cover your eyes.
Now, you’re being released. You can’t go home. You may be subjected to torture if you do. You will almost certainly be ostracized. There’s a fair chance, given the global situation, you will be released into the country that unjustly held you for half a decade. You may never see your family and friends again. You may be ostracized by your neighbors in your new country. You may not be able to find a job. The country you are released into will not provide either a way to make a living OR any form of sustenance so that you can live an even halfway decent life.
Are YOU going to simply sit back and accept your fate? Or, are you likely, NOW, to take up arms against the country that treated you so shabbily—even though you were not so inclined before your ordeal began?
And, oh, by the way—the president of that country has, in his desk drawer, an order granting himself dictatorial powers if someone attacks his country. Well, it serves these people right. LET them live under a dictator! What do you care?