For a few weeks, we were treated to tidbits of outrage from European
dilettantes who are upset by our treatment of the al-Qaeda “detainees”
in Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay.
Torture! Sensory deprivation! Barbaric treatment!
Thats what they had been saying. I didnt see any cry
of Cannibalism! But maybe I missed it.
These outcries seem to have been sparked by the release, by the
Pentagon, of photos of the detainees soon after arrival,
before they could be separated, sorted, and placed individually
into their holding cells. Indeed, one photo shows the detainees
kneeling on the ground, shackled, with hoods and blacked-out goggles.
Recklessly dangerous individuals should have been transported thus,
for safetys sake: why would that need to be explained or defended?
What should have been explained was that, indeed, the detainees
had been transported that way, and were soon relieved of excessive
restraints. Such an explanation may have forestalled the criticism
But our European critics wasted no time in taking one scene and
drawing the worst conclusion they could muster. (Excluding cannibalism.
As far as I know.) I cannot, in this instance, think of any excuse
for concluding the worst from the least evidence possible — though
I think the reason is that they havent felt able to bash America
since 9/11 and, poor babies, they couldnt hold out any longer.
My first thought was, Keep it up and our military leaders
might just decide to adopt a Take No Prisoners
policy. Officially or otherwise. Why not? If we get grief from
our European friends for our treatment of the worst
of the worst of captured battlefield combatants, why not decide
to Take No Prisoners?
Anyway, its too late to apply such a policy to the detainees
at Gitmo. They number 158, the last count I heard. (I call them
detainees because that seems to be the euphemism of
choice right now.) We could, however, apply another policy to them:
I would call it Take Our Prisoners.
I did not notice any cries across the pond of Send them to
us! Well treat them better! Surely, lack of an offer
to host the detainees must have been an oversight.
The outraged Europeans must number at least 158, even if we only
counted talking heads on the telly, editors and reporters at the
daily rags, and government employees. We need not even begin to
count the scions of immensely wealthy families who hate the rich
(especially Americans) and love the poor (especially from a considerable
We could assign one detainee to each outraged European,
and send him off to occupy a spare room. We could even be generous
and provide an annual stipend adequate for upkeep of each detainee.
And, to get the detainee to his new home, we could
subsidize commercial airline fare for each outraged European (round
trip) and for his assigned detainee — sans shackles,
hood, and goggles, of course.
Yes, we could be the shouters: Take our
prisoners! Think wed get any takers?
© ELC 2002