The human rights crowd is right: Life is hard for a Guantanamo Bay detainee. The deprivation is unspeakable. According to the facility’s "cultural adviser," their brains have not been "stimulated" enough. So this Thanksgiving, America is drawing up plans to provide the 250 or so suspected jihadists at the "notoriously Spartan" detention camp with basic sustenance including, as reported by the Miami Herald, movie nights, art classes, English language lessons and "Game Boy-like" electronic devices.
Next up: Wii Fit, Guitar Hero, Sudoku, People magazine and macrame. Anything less would be uncivilized.
On a deadly serious note, the detainees aren’t the only ones playing games at Gitmo. Some top legal advisers and supporters of Barack Obama, whose name detainees chanted on election night, are now rethinking the president-elect’s absolutist campaign position on shutting the center down and flooding our mainland courts with every last enemy combatant designee. Yes, reality bites. And Democrats must now grapple with the very real possibility that an Obama administration could potentially release a Gitmo denizen who would turn around and commit mass terrorist acts on American soil or abroad.
Nothing clarifies the mind like a jihadi boomerang. Never before have an administration and its followers matured so quickly in office — and they haven’t even taken office yet.
While Obama paid lip service to the "Close the Gitmo gulag!" agenda on "60 Minutes" over the weekend, his kitchen cabinet is proceeding more pragmatically. Believe it or not, the Obama crowd is now contemplating a preventive detention law and an alternative judicial system for the most sensitive national security cases involving the most highly classified information — information that has no place being aired in the civilian courts for public consumption.
Listen to relentless Bush critic David Cole, who told The New York Times last week: "You can’t be a purist and say there’s never any circumstance in which a democratic society can preventively detain someone." Added Ben Wittes of the Brookings Institution: "I’m afraid of people getting released in the name of human rights and doing terrible things."
Moreover, Obama transition team members have suggested to The Wall Street Journal that despite his campaign season CIA-bashing, "Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight."
Next thing you know, they’ll start arguing that the world has been fooled by years of sob-story propaganda about the Gitmo detainees — funded by Kuwaiti government-subsidized lawyers who cast them all as innocent potato farmers and schmucks dazed and confused on battlefields.
Next thing you know, they’ll rediscover the facts that detainees have systematically lied and exaggerated stories about mistreatment at Gitmo, and that interrogators and military personnel have bent over backward to accommodate their personal and religious needs and wants.
Next thing you know, they’ll start reminding us that dozens of former Gitmo detainees have been released and recaptured on the battlefield while committing acts of terrorism.
Funny, when President Bush and his homeland security team realized these very realities seven years ago, they were branded terrorists and hounded relentlessly by Congress, the media and the left. When Attorney General Michael Mukasey eloquently defended the administration’s counterterrorism policies at the Federalist Society before he collapsed, he was heckled as a "tyrant." And when I wrote my second book expounding on this very thesis, I was labeled a racist and fascist whose ideas exploring the proper balance between security and civil liberties had no place in public discourse.
Now, at long last, some liberals have realized that the sacred goal of "regaining America’s moral stature in the world," as Obama put it, may be less important than ensuring that al-Qaida killers don’t strike on American ground again.
Viva la Hope and Change!