Say Everything

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Memo to Harry Harris and Colleen Graffy: YOU ARE DUMB.

How dumb are you? You're so dumb that the Bush Administration has to actually pretend to backpedal on what you said so that they don't seem like the complete bastards they are.

Harry Harris, a rear admiral in the United States Navy, and Colleen Graffy, a high-ranking official at State, represent precisely the kind of dehumanizing, us-vs.-them attitude toward the War On Terror that those of us with some small vestige of humanity remaining have been shouting about since "...or you are with the terrorists" left the Chimp-In-Chief's lips.

We've seen it over and over again with the apologists. Abu Ghraib didn't matter because it wasn't that bad and they were the evil terrorists. Haditha - they must have been evil terrorists. Gitmo? All terrorists. Torture? Doesn't matter, they're terrorists.

And you can't possibly care about terrorists, because they behead people! If you take umbrage at human rights abuses, you're coddling beheaders! You care more about the terrorists than you do our troops! Well, fuck you too.

Three Gitmo inmates hung themselves over the weekend. That's always awkward for a jailer - claims of humane treatment and "they've got it better here than they did at home" ring a bit hollow when your guests would rather dangle from bedsheets than spend another day in your hospitality. And whenever the US finds itself up against the human rights wall, ass-covering and victim-blaming are damn near a reflex. Which brings us to Graffy. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"They don't value their own life and they certainly don't value ours, and they use suicide bombings as a tactic to further their jihadi cause. There were means and methods for protestation, and certainly taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly did - is good PR move to draw attention."

First of all, if anyone in this day and age really believes the government when they say Gitmo detainees have "means and methods for protestation", or even a REAL word like "protesting", then you haven't been paying attention, and I cannot reach your ears through the mass of colonic tissue in the way.

And second of all, if they're such wily PR jihadis, why did they kill themselves on a Saturday? Everyone knows that's when you put stories out you want buried. Still, as absolutely fucking distasteful as Graffy is, she doesn't hold a candle to Admiral Harris.

"They are smart. They are creative, they are committed. They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.

You can almost see the logic in it. A group of foes so committed they're willing to hang themselves in order to make the US look bad. Of course, they'd have a lot tougher time making the US look bad if they weren't in an extralegal detention center, held for years without hope of a hearing or any kind of oversight, but that's not the big problem. The big problem has a name, and the problem's name is Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi Al-Utaybi.

Al-Utaybi's crime, the one that got him sent to Guantanamo Bay? Being a member of a banned Saudi militant group. Oh, and one other thing. He was about to be released. He was one of YET ANOTHER group of Gitmo detainees who have been, like hundreds before them, determined to not be a threat to America.

But he didn't know he was getting out. Because our policy is not to TELL them they're getting out until we decide what country to send them to. A process that, for reasons my novice geopolitical mind cannot understand, takes months upon months upon months upon months. And he's one of the three guys that hung himself.

Not some guy who has no regard for life. Not some guy waging asymmetrical warfare by snapping his own fucking neck. A guy who, by our own admission, we were going to release without charges or further punishment. Which is why, as of yesterday, you started seeing the desperate backpedaling.

Like Cully Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of defense, claiming with a completely straight face that "as Americans we value life even if it is the life of a violent terrorist captured waging war against our country," which is the kind of bullshit statement that really should, in a just world, make the head it came out of spontaneously combust.

Or Tony Snow, saying that Dubya "wants to make sure that this thing is done right from all points of view" - "this thing" being the investigation, and "all points of view", presumably, being the only one Bush is even aware exists.

One of the "great" things about the modern media sphere is that it's so fragmented, every single statement I've quoted above will be of use to the administration. The foaming wingnuts can seize on the Harris and Graffy talking points and call in to Michael Savage's talk show yelling about how those stinking terrorists attacked Guantanamo Bay with all their foreign twitching and dangling. And the moderates can point to the President's promise to make sure this is all fixed and the "culture of life" is respected no matter how many feeding tubes we have to ram down the throats of hunger strikers to do it.

Everybody wins.

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