Amnesty International recently made headlines world wide when it characterized the US base in Guantanamo the “Gulag of our Time”. If Amnesty was looking for headlines, the “Gulag” word certainly achieved it’s objective.
The Soviet Union implemented a series of “Gulags”, or forced labor camps, in 1919. By the mid 1930’s, under the rule of Joseph Stalin, the population of prisoners in these camps reached it’s peak. Murderers and thieves, along with religious and political dissenters, made up the primary prisoner population. Gulag camps were located in the far north regions of Siberia. Prisoners constructed roads, canals, railroads, and power stations as well as engaging in the mining and lumber industries. Food was scarce and prisoners were sometimes worked to death. Prisoners had little no legal recourse once put into these camps.
If Amnesty International wants to maintain it’s credibility it should point out that virtually none of the above descriptions of “Gulag” is relevant at Gitmo, except for the part about legal recourse. Detainees at Gitmo don’t work at all. They receive plenty of food along with free copies of the Koran, courtesy of the US government. They may be in Gitmo for a long time, perhaps for the rest of their lives. They haven’t been convicted of a crime. Most have been jailed without charges. They were, however, somehow curiously in Afghanistan, with rifles in their hands, fighting for the Talaban. Strange coincidence.
Sorry my Gitmo friends. In this lifetime you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing. You and your ilk might think about that in the future. Under normal circumstances, guilt by association represents shaky and indefensible grounds on which to imprison people, but that changed on 911. That was the day when you went too far. It was the day when the United States decided to quit accommodating you and your twelfth-century mentality, to stand above the world’s weak and indecisive nations, and to battle you head on. In the brave new world of terrorism that you fools have created, mere association may be your undoing, so be careful with whom you associate. Be careful what you advocate. You might have to wait until the your next reincarnation to see freedom again.
The unfortunate and unjust legal environment that victimizes prisoners at Gitmo is a direct result of the actions of extremist brutes that will stop at nothing to kill their enemies. Prudent Americans, who insist on defending freedom, whether they are Christians, Muslims, or Jews, aren’t going to free terrorists from prison so they can continue their ways, no matter what Amnesty International says or writes. This is precisely the message that the Bush administration is giving to anyone who plans to kill innocent people under the guise of religious extremism or dissatisfaction with American foreign policy.