The Utter Uselessness of Thomas Friedman:
Oh, what a mighty stand New York Times columnist and "expert" on foreign affairs Thomas Friedman takes today. A supporter of and apologist for the Iraq invasion, Friedman makes the daring statement that the United States should "shut down" the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Man, Friedman is pissed at the P.R. nightmare that the torture there has been for America: "I believe the stories emerging from Guantánamo are having a . . . toxic effect on us - inflaming sentiments against the U.S. all over the world and providing recruitment energy on the Internet for those who would do us ill."
Damn those sodomizing Koran stompers for fucking up our good name. Damn those squealin' prisoners for making Gitmo a rallying cry for terrorist recruiting.
Friedman's cute, you know, with his oh-so-naive belief in the goodness and rightness of the American mission in the war on "terror" that he veers dangerously close to a blame-the-victim mentality in his condemnation of Gitmo. Sure, sure, he calls the torture "immoral," but he seems way, way more concerned with the way the neighbors see us than with the fact that we're beating the shit out of people. In other words, if a rotting hobo corpse was discovered in Thomas Friedman's yard, he wouldn't call the cops. He'd chop off its arms and legs and bury it in ten different places so that no one would ever know that there was a crime committed on his property, whether he did the killin' or not. "Goddamn, it's so inconvenient when a hobo dies in one's backyard. Now gimme that hatchet to chop off this hobo's head so people'll stop talking about the smell of rotting hobo flesh wafting across the fence."
The problem with Gitmo isn't its existence. The problem with Gitmo is that the Bush administration ever allowed Gitmo in the first place. The problem is that Gitmo is a walk in the park on a sunny goddamn day compared with what happens when the prisoners are "rendered" to Egypt or Uzbekistan. The problem is that Gitmo is just one of a number of places that can be rattled off for propaganda purposes, like Abu Ghraib or Bagram. The problem is that no one is ever going to be held accountable unless the Congress changes hands in 2006 and, maybe, just maybe, we can take an investigation all the way to the top to see who branded this hideous scar into our American body (and the horrible answer is how blithely complicit and apathetic the country as a whole has been, which has allowed this to happen). The problem is the torture, the denial of basic rights, the complete secrecy of the detentions, the entire policy. In essence, by not acknowledging the real and actual crimes that have been committed in Gitmo, Friedman is begging for a cover-up so that we can just put it into our great store of repressed history.
Friedman pays lip service to doing right by calling for trials or freedom for the 500 prisoners at Gitmo. But ultimately, Friedman's a little tiny man, throwing pebbles at a gigantic brick wall he helped build. Poor little, useless man. Doesn't he realize that only bulldozers and dynamite will break it all down?