A recent headline in the International Herald Tribune (IHT) read: “Guantanamo drives prisoners insane, lawyers say.”
Different people will respond to such a headline in different ways. For instance, liberal peacenik types won’t be able to get through the article without an ample supply of Kleenex. Heartless conservatives on the other hand may read it with gleeful abandon. And pragmatists may wonder why they should believe anything lawyers say.
My own personal reaction to the headline is, yeah, and your point is what exactly? Okay, obviously, the point is to make us all feel sorry for the poor detainees, all of whom claim to be guilty of nothing more than having been caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and been swept up by infidel crusaders out to conquer their land. But most of us have sense enough to know better than that.
Anyway, a certain well-known Guantanamo detainee is one of the focal points of the new insanity claims being made by lawyers. That would be one Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who once happened to be Osama bin Laden’s personal driver and who could soon become the first detainee to be tried for war crimes at Gitmo.
Right now, he should be busily working on his defense, but alas, say his lawyers, he can’t because he has been driven insane by his confinement. He is suicidal, hears voices, has flashbacks, talks to himself and says the restrictions of his imprisonment “boil his mind.”
Further, in a letter to his lawyers in February, he complained that, “Conditions are asphalt, excrement and worse. Why, why, why?”
Well, because, because, because, Salim, you were the personal driver for the world’s most wanted terrorist who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocents. That sorta makes you an accessory, doesn’t it? But why not try and look at the positive side of your situation? Would you rather have been in one of the twin towers when they came crashing down because of your boss’ diabolical plan? Or would you rather have been one of those who leaped from the buildings because they preferred that to burning alive?
If your mind is boiling right now, it ought to be over the guilt you should be feeling if you had any sort of normal human conscience rather than boiling over your personal confinement. Nonetheless, one of the main assertions in the IHT article goes like this: “Critics have long asserted that Guantanamo’s climate-controlled isolation is a breeding ground for insanity.”
Don’t make me laugh. You wanna talk about a “breeding ground for insanity?” Then let’s talk about the one that stretches from Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east and covers most of what’s in between. It’s called the Muslim world and its contribution to the world is radical Islam, which is synonymous with insanity.
Here in America all it takes is for one religious kook to phone in a bomb threat to an abortion clinic and the media falls all over itself declaring that the country is on the brink of take-over by right-wing, bible-thumping fundamentalists who are going to take us back to the days of inquisitions and witch trials. But if mad hatter jihadists are running wild in every corner of the globe indiscriminately killing innocents in the name of establishing a new worldwide Islamic caliphate, we’re all expected to be religiously tolerant and culturally sensitive.
If we have been lucky enough to capture several hundred of the countless multitudes of Islamist nihilists who are out to bring down Western civilization, then as far as I’m concerned that’s a great thing and I don’t really care how despondent or hallucinatory they become in their Gitmo cells. What I care about is that they’re not out slaughtering great masses of innocent people in the name of one of the most insane causes to ever come down the pike.
If Islam is powerful enough to inspire people to enthusiastically kill themselves and many others in its name, then it ought to be powerful enough to assuage the mental anguish of its followers who are unlucky enough to get caught and imprisoned. They’re getting three squares a day, their own copies of the Koran, prayer mats and signs pointing in the direction of Mecca. They’ve got everything they need to commune with Allah to their hearts’ content.
And after all, according to Muslim belief, nothing happens unless Allah wills it. Therefore, if you are Muslim and you find yourself sitting in a cell in Guantanamo hearing voices and with drool running down your chin, guess who wants it that way?
Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/.