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America's perfectly legal shame

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"Boy daddy, it would be nice if we could lock them Arabs in a place without having any proof that they gone and done something wrong!" Little Jeb beams through the back of the latest issue of The Weekly Standard to his father.

"Let me tell you about a magical place called Guantanamo Bay," Jeb's dad replies, putting down his magazine and puffing on a corn-cob pipe. "Y'see son, our president has the power to put any freedom hating sumbitch in Guantanamo Bay with no warning or cause."

"Gee Golly pops, isn't that a fundamental human rights abuse? Doesn't it violate whole bunches of international laws?" Jeb asks.

"Yes son," said Jeb's father, "That's why we love America."

Little Jeb's grasp on the Guantanamo situation is startlingly accurate. Technically under the "ultimate sovereignty" of Cuba, the infamous naval base is a convenient legal black hole. US Supreme Court jurisprudence states foreign nationals in the custody of the naval base are barred from US courts, leaving big brother to hold anyone there for as long and for whatever reasons they like. If we really claim to live in a civilized and democratic society Guantanamo Bay should be dismantled, making way, perhaps, for a memorial to those tortured as a part of the war on terror and not mentioned on the CNN crawler.

In light of last year's torture scandal and recent reports of the inhumane treatment of prisoners, many Islamic fundamentalists are more pissed over Guantanamo Bay than pork, mini skirts and potato pancakes put together. So pissed that terrorist recruiters have started using Guantanamo as a selling point to fledging suicide bombers.

Recent uprisings in Afghanistan over the desecration of Muslim holy books is just the manifestation of something painfully obvious which has simmered for too long. Regardless of whether or not the soldiers flushed pages of the Koran down the toilet, prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay are still treated like honourable mentions at a human rights' dog show. With the amount of legal tape the Americans shroud their activities with, they have no reason to treat their prisoners as anything more than sources of information. This is not the mark of a nation we should have "leading the free world."

Having an establishment like Guantanamo is self-defeating. If an institution designed to oppose terrorism inadvertently generates more terrorists by denying people their basic human rights, its usefulness needs to be called into question. If we allow this brand of barbarism to continue, we're just allowing little Jeb to run the world.

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