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Gitmo is the gulag equivalent of a Ben Affleck movie: no one's seen it, but everyone has an opinion about it. Given all the rhetoric that's been spilled about this sorta-kinda-not-really Death Camp, it's time we re-examine the facts, and remind ourselves what's really at stake. Herewith a summation.
Q: What is Gitmo?
A: Contrary to what some suggest, it does not stand for "Git mo' Peking chicken for Muhammad, he wants a second portion." It stands for "Guantanamo," a facility the United States built to see if the left would ever care about human rights abuses in Cuba. The experiment has apparently been successful.
Q: Who's in Gitmo?
A: Operation Scoop Up The Little Lost Lambs plucked men from distant countries and brought them to Gitmo to beat them deaf for no apparent reason. There are between 400 and 30 million people at Gitmo, and somewhere between zero and 15 million people have died there.
Q: That's quite the range. Do we have precise figures?
A: Well, technically, no one has died at Gitmo. Metaphorically, millions have perished, since Gitmo is the spiritual heir to assorted thug regimes -- except Saddam's, of course. Think Nazi death camps. Did you know one of the Nazis' Middle East allies was the grand mufti of Jerusalem, a Hitler admirer who was a mentor to Yasser Arafat? Funny how history works. Not ha-ha funny, but Seinfeld-ironic funny.
Q: History is boring. C'mon. Why do they hate us?
A: Because our women wear thongs, our media are naughty, our homosexuals walk around unstoned, and we refuse to let them finish Hitler's plans for the Jews. Because we are the infidel sons of monkeys and pigs who do not believe that most holy of books, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Also because we had something to do with Afghanistan.
A: Afghanistan is a large, mountainous country that suffered an unimaginable geographical calamity a few years ago, when the entire nation slid off the front pages of the newspapers. Poor country: not a single runaway Caucasian bride to interest the media.
Q: Why can't the prisoners be given trials?
A: Because civil libertarians might injure themselves as they race to defend the "terrorist suspects" and collide in the airport jetways. Because the left seems to think the detainees were arrested for the crime of "being swarthy in Afghanistan," and there are no such specific charges in the U.S. criminal code. Finally, if convicted, the "terrorists" would go into the U.S. federal pens, where the food is worse and they are subject to brutal rape. We reserve that for recidivist marijuana wholesalers.
Q: What forms of torture do they use in Gitmo?
A: The interrogators make a point of handling the Quran with gloves, to indicate they accept the prisoners' definition of infidels as "unclean." But the guards occasionally suggest that the gloves are not only washed with the general laundry that might include the socks of Jews, but that sometimes the anti-static cling sheets are deliberately left out.
Q: It might all be worth it if we learned something. Have we learned anything?
A: Who knows? We have to err on the side of self-castigating doubt, reflexive suspicion of the military, and a churlish institutional bias against reporting anything other than bad news that might sap the national will. So let's assume the interrogators learned nothing.
Q: Wow. This is bad.
A: It is. It's worse than Waco, because at least those people aren't suffering anymore.
Q: When did they build this place?
A: After Sept. 11, 2001.
Q: That date seems familiar for some reason. Did something happen?
A: Not really. You can roll over and go back to sleep.
Q: Isn't it our role as citizens to be wary of government?
A: Sure. But take this quote: "I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisers to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad." That was Sen. Dick Durbin in 1998, when Bill Clinton attacked Iraq. But that was then, and this is George W. Bush.
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