Sunday, May 31, 2009

American Hypocrites

Fred Kaplan has a good article at Slate about the illogic of arguments against holding some Guantanamo Bay terror suspect in mainland US prisons. He informs us that these prisons already house over 300 convicted terrorists, including domestic terrorists who could actually blend into the surrounding communities if they escaped. Which no one ever does. The article is well-reasoned and accurate in its description of super max prison conditions. Kaplan rightly points out the not so small hypocrisy of the "No to Gitmo Guys in the Homeland" crowd:
There's something distasteful about the whole debate. The critics of transferring Gitmo prisoners to the United States are the same people who call on the Afghan and Pakistani leaders to crack down, at some risk, on their homegrown insurgents more fervently—and the same people who barely take notice when our armed drones mistakenly kill civilians in the crossfire of the war on terror.

But when decency requires that we take measures that appear to involve a little extra risk, they turn frantically parochial and refuse. And in this case, the measures required don't really involve risk—only responsibility. Surely they know that prisons are one thing that America does really well. Exactly what are the critics afraid of?

Equally distressing is the idea that the "one thing America does really well is prisons". A generation ago America did many things really well.



Post a Comment

<< Home