I haven't been to Camp X-Ray at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba and I probably won't be going, but I must say something about all the whining we're hearing about the treatment of prisoners there.
Methinks these are people who just whine by reflex if the American military is involved. They don't like anything the military does. This is leftover Vietnam stuff, and it is moldy stuff indeed.
Our military has lost one person — a CIA agent — while handling these Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners. They don't want to lose another, and I don't blame them. I don't think any sensible person would.
If these prisoners at X-Ray could kill you by biting your head off, they would do it. They are as dangerous as they come. We've already had one incident where a detainee leader emerged and tried to rally his fellow prisoners. So they're not done fighting unless our guys make them be done with it.
Shaving their beards is fine. It's a health consideration, and besides… they shouldn't have anything they want, beards included. Making them stay in fenced confinements is fine. You can see right through the camp, which is necessary anyway for our guys to observe them at all times.
Shackles, hoods, gags... all fine. These detainees are dangerous, and we have to make them less so. They are not prisoners of war so the Geneva conventions don't apply. They are not soldiers of a recognized country or government. They are not soldiers, period. They are not people with whom we are officially at war. They are suspected terrorists who make war on unsuspecting civilians. They are, in short, a new class of detainee. Nobody's met in Geneva yet to figure out how you treat somebody as lowdown as these people.
Does that mean we mistreat them? No. They get to sleep, eat, pray, breathe. But they can't talk to each other, they can't move freely, they can't talk to a lawyer, they can't demand their day in court.
Our suffering put them in this place, and our judgement will determine when they are relieved of the burdens we have placed upon them.
The Brits are our friends, but we don't bug them about how they detain suspected IRA bombers, so we'd appreciate it if they left our grubby Al Qaeda detainees to us.
That doesn't mean I think we should abuse them. It does mean I think we keep them in custody and take absolutely no chances with them.
Lastly, I don't think there is any reason we should worry in the slightest about how many years we intend to keep these people. A long, long time would be about right.
That's My Word.
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