Redefining Suicide Down:
Over in a graveyard in Sutton Courtenay, in Oxfordshire, England, a strange noise was heard from underground this past weekend. Those who listened closely heard a jawbone clicking open and shut and a wheezing, breathy laughter, followed by a barely perceptible, "Oh, fuck, that's fucking rich," followed by more hideous laughter. Indeed, there are those who say that George Orwell's bones were heaving with such laughter that ribs cracked and the earth itself shook.
What prompted the long dead and more than patient Orwell skeleton to become so charged with energy that it let out a decades-suppressed guffaw? Of course it is the language used by some U.S. officials in the wake of the "suicides" of three Guantanamo detainees.
Why, there was when "the camp's commander, Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris, said the suicides were an al-Qaida tactic. 'They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us,' he said." Yeah, one might guess, it is "asymmetrical" because, you know, they did the killing for us. One presumes that the only symmetrical act would be for three of our soldiers to off themselves. That'd show 'em. Harris is a madman, the Jack D. Ripper of detention camps, as evidenced by his spinning of the recent Gitmo riot.
And then there was when the State Department's Colleen Graffy described the suicides as "a good PR move to draw attention." It's as if the two Saudis and the Yemeni men were teenagers trying to get back at their parents for grounding them instead of desperate men, perhaps terrorists, although we're not really allowed to judge that, who had been deprived every means of challenging their detentions, tortured, isolated, degraded, and abandoned.
Colleen Graffy has been a Gitmo apologist for a year or so now, offering this editorial comment in the Guardian in March: "Most people are unaware that each detainee has had a combatant status review tribunal to challenge his designation as an enemy combatant as well as a yearly administrative review board, similar to a parole board." She calls this "their habeas corpus rights." Graffy's a Pepperdine conservative tool, a former head of Republicans Abroad in the UK. According to an interview, Graffy said that the detainees would one day "declare that they no longer want to kill us." Is that all that's holding back the hundreds in Gitmo from freedom? Saying, "Uncle"?
While the Bush administration has backed away from the statements now, for people in an official position to even feel as if they can talk about non-bombing suicide as an act of war means we have reached linguistic depths of redefinition that defy rational thought. Where torture is not torture because someone says they don't define torture that way. Words are meaningless, as the Gitmo detainees, innocent and guilty, know well. All that's left is action.
How depraved and hubristic does a nation have to be to not just shut the fuck up when prisoners in its secret concentration camp kill themselves? But when all you've got is spin, everything must be spun, like Orwell in that grave.
Note: The Rude Pundit's gonna suck it up and take one for the team. He'll buy Ann Coulter's book and check for more potential plagiarism.