Sunday, June 11, 2006

The death of human compassion

I hope it makes sense to you, gentle reader, because it sure doesn't make sense to me.

Three Guantanamo Bay detainees hanged themselves yesterday, and one of our generals has proclaimed their suicide "an act of war." More specifically, it was an act of "asymmetrical warfare."

CNN explains this term to those of us insufficiently schooled in just how sneaky these dangerous terrorists can be after 4 years of incarceration, deprived of contact with their families as well as the most rudimentary of legal rights. Asymmetrical warfare is "a conflict in which a much weaker opponent uses unorthodox or surprise tactics to attack the weak points of the much stronger opponent."

What weak point of ours were the prisoners attacking by taking their own lives?

According to another top-ranking official, it's all "a good PR move to attract attention."

The men
were part of Camp 1, one of the more...comfortable of the facilities. They were allowed 30 minutes of exercise a week, besides such "amenities" as "prayer rugs, canvas sneakers, toiletries, flip-flops, cotton underwear, shorts, trousers and a shirt." And they hanged themselves. Now there's gratitude!

As Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, explains it: "They are smart. They are creative. They are committed. They have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own... It was premeditated."

Perhaps someone will tell the general that most suicides are premeditated.

This is a long shot, I know. I'm just a fool and a dupe of these crafty terrorists, who'll stop at nothing to focus the atte
ntion of the world on the fact that they're being held without formal charge and without promise of a trial...but maybe, just maybe ... could they have been driven to despair after 4 years of wearing orange prison garb and being kept behind barbed wire?

Could they perhaps have been human beings too?

Nous n'irons plus au bois
la colombe est blessée
Nous n'allons pas au bois
nous allons la tuer

We'll go no more into the wood
the dove has been wounded
How can we go into the wood ever again
now that we've finished her off?
--Jacques Brel (free translation)


  1. Thank you for your comments and lovely writing. I've posted your work to my blog. Peace.

  2. Il est temps de fermer ce camp, de transférer ces gens dans une prison normale.
    S'ils sont si dangereux, s'ils ont commis des actes abominables, une cour de justice saura l'établir clairement.

  3. If they were such crafty enemy combatants, then why were they about to be released? According to the BBC World News, the men killed themselves having never been told that they were about to be released. And the planned release was to occur a week after their suicides.

  4. I'm still reeling from the official comments, Joe. When the Undersecretary of State can call suicides a "PR move," how can we blame people in other countries for condemning us for our arrogance?

    The best comment I saw yesterday was on another blog. The blogger said that those calling the suicides an act of war should respond in kind. That'll show the terrorists! :-)
    ...I'm glad someone can find some humor in the situation, because I was pretty upset all day!


Comments are moderated. The decision of the blog author is final.